The Clothes: Erin Barr’s collection–which Marilyn Monroe would have loved in her Arthur Miller days–was a play on hard and soft. For the “hard” she drew on inspiration from American painter Frank Stella’s rigid edges and flat, bold colors, experimenting with primary colored prints and graphics. For the “soft,” she looked at the other side of Marilyn–not the glamourpuss, but her vulnerable, private, after-hours self, reflected in light, crisp poplin, shrunken cardigans and body-conscious tailored dresses. The dresses were business in the front, but party in the back and on the sides, revealing slivers of skin highlighted with leather slits and deep-V harness backs. Although the models walked around an old-fashioned tableau of ‘50s furniture and vintage records that wouldn’t look out of place on a Mad Men set, Barr told me that the show wasn’t an inspiration and she’s actually never seen an episode. Still, a show-stopper sleek, scarlet gown with a keyhole front, anchored by thick shoulder straps and a set of thin criss-crosses that tied sexily in the back, was a look a modern-day Joan Holloway would love.
The Hair & Makeup: Think Marilyn in glasses–eyewear designer Moscot supplied the cateye sunglasses and frames topping off the fire engine red lips and sideswept updo for each model.
The Soundtrack: ‘50s instrumental
The Vibe: A mix of euro, artsy, and blogger as models strolled around a staged set with a vintage record player, records, and dusty paperbacks.
The Front Row: Since it was a presentation, there wasn’t a front row. But the first two rows clustered around the presentation were occupied by photographers and that errant showgoer who tries to take pictures using their iPad. (Why do people still do this?)
Celebrity We’d Most Like to See Wearing this Collection: The cast of Mad Men, Anne Hathaway, Rachel Bilson, Emma Stone
WTF Moment: A model knocked over a small stack of books. After a brief uncomfortable pause (Was the model going to pick up the book? Or pretend it didn’t exist?), the world continued on.
What the designer said: ”[It’s] Marilyn after she leaves the set [and] in her own clothes. She puts on a little button-on and…shorts, maybe something sheer. Frank Stellla’s paintings are very graphic and bold. It’s taken from his Broadway series in 1958, and combining those elements to create an interesting silhouette. I was trying to avoid anything too glamorous and keep it kind of tomboy-ish.
The time that I’m referencing is when Marilyn is trying to be more intellectual. She’s almost wearing [Arthur Miller’s] stuff, his glasses. She’s starting to read books. The focus was on that [intellectual side]—not the glamorous, Hollywood Marilyn but the soft spoken one.”