Marilyn and ... her blue gingham dress / by Yury Toroptsov

We all know that fairytales never really end. They go on and on with new developments continuing to excite our imagination. And that’s how it should be, I think. In this sense the story of a blue gingham dress from the private wardrobe of Marilyn Monroe which was the object of my photographic series “Marilyn and I” is a fairytale.

For me it started in an auction room at Julien’s in 2005 when the dress was acquired by a collector friend. The dress had a solid provenance record but I was unable to find a photo of Marilyn wearing it. This fact didn’t stop me from embarking on a photographic project which would take 6 years to complete. With the dress I went to meet and photograph people who still feel an emotional connection to Marilyn Monroe. It would become a book published by Verlhac Editions (preface by Catherine Deneuve) and a personal exhibition first at Paris’ Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche. And later in Moscow, Russia during the photo biennale “Fashion and Style” organized by the Moscow Multimedia Art Museum.

All these years, even after having completed my project, I kept looking at hundreds and hundreds of photos of Marilyn hoping one day to find a photo of her wearing that blue gingham dress. All in vain. Until this week when I was alerted to the existence of a press clipping (see above) which put a stop to a search that lasted 14 years. In that clipping, we see Marilyn Monroe who according to the caption is about to board a United Airlines plane waving her right hand to a camera and wearing THE dress in question. Moments like these are rare in life. So, thank you to all who made this discovery and shared it.

Now, even though there are still questions that remain unanswered for example regarding the date of that photo (1960?), its source, etc, the history of this blue gingham dress has changed forever.

To be continued. Of course.