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This week, the Oscar-nominated film My Week With Marilyn comes out on DVD—which means if you missed the chance to marvel over Michelle William's miraculous bombshell curves in the theater, you may now do so in the privacy of your own home. William's costumes for the film were equally lust worthy, inspiring a 15-page December Vogue spread and plenty of copycat outfits in our spring wardrobes. We caught up with the film's costume designer, Jill Taylor, and asked her what it was like to re-create Marilyn's iconic looks for the movie, plus which '50s-inspired pieces in stores now she's loving for spring. What she says and where she shops, below.
What's the biggest difference between and style now and in the Marilyn Monroe era?
People were far more formal in their dressing style, and it was pretty universal. Women typically would have a matching handbag, gloves, and shoes, and men naturally put suits, collars, and ties on, unless they were in a sporty/leisure situation. American styling, although following these rules, was still more laid back than the British way of dressing.
When creating the costumes, did you source existing vintage pieces, or did you design and create a new wardrobe for Michelle Williams?
I had to design and create everything for Michelle, apart from a couple of pairs of vintage shoes, which I managed to find in immaculate condition.
Where did you find the garments and patterns you used?
I had brilliant cutters and makers, and so everything was cut from scratch.
Were there any special challenges in re-creating such iconic looks?
Whenever you take on a person who really existed, especially such a legend as Marilyn, there is a huge responsibility to make everything as accurate as possible. You are wide open to criticism, so my main challenge was to get everything looking as believable as possible, including her famous silhouette.
Did you ever feel like you were dressing Marilyn Monroe more than you were dressing Michelle Williams?
After my first fitting with Michelle, I always looked on the process as dressing Marilyn.
Picking a favorite outfit from the film is probably like picking a favorite child, but did you end up with one look in particular that you loved?
I kind of liked them all. If I had to pick something, it was a white broderie anglaise dress, based on an Eve Arnold photograph, which I thought Michelle looked stunning in. But it sadly ended up just been worn under her camel coat, which was a shame. I also thought the camel pencil skirt and cream shirt looked pretty good.
In American culture recently, there seems to be a trend towards retro, polished looks—Marilyn, of course, and Mad Men. Can you share a few of your favorite spring pieces that capture the spirit of that era?
What I have seen pertaining to the spirit of Marilyn this season is Victoria Beckham. I think her cutting and silhouettes are fantastic. Erdem S/S 12 has a really beautiful white lace dress, and indeed most of their collection this season. I love the understated ladylike quality of Dior's S/S 12 collection, particularly the rose pink pleated dress. Roland Mouret also has clever cutting, reminiscent of Marilyn's period. And there is loads on High Street, particularly Zara, Mango, LK Bennet, and Hobbs.
To win a copy of the My Week With Marilyn DVD and book, sign up for our newsletter below. In this afternoon's edition we'll release a secret phrase and the five people to email us with the phrase, their full name, and their mailing address get the DVD, the book, and the glory. Please note you must have a US mailing address to win.