What do you think of when you picture New York City? The Statue of Liberty? The bright lights of Times Square? Skyscrapers and taxis are sure to be part of the picture. There are countless people, places and things that I love about NYC, but getting up on a rooftop when the sun is shining is certainly in my top ten.
Flashback to March 1955 and Marilyn was trying to revamp her image. Hopelessly trying to convince the studios that she was more that just a ditzy dumb blonde, photographer Ed Feingersh spent time capturing her around the city, in a more natural, relaxed way. You may have seen the Subway photos, or Marilyn wandering Elizabeth Arden in Black Cat-Eye shades, which were all part of this series for an interview entitled “The Marilyn Monroe You’ve Never Seen.”
Donned in diamonds, or in capris and a sweater, her beauty always shines bright. But something about these photos makes my heart giddy. Yes I love the dress (we will get to that) but if you’ve ever experienced the views of Manhattan you’ll have an extra insight into my love for these photographs.
Taken on top of the Ambassador Hotel on Park Avenue, you can see the ease, and picture the breath taking views. Even though it’s a man-made, heavy polluted picture, I get such a buzz, and feeling of home when I look out across the concrete jungle.
If you don’t know, I moved to New York in 2016, a huge dream that I had never quite figured out how to make reality. Every time I visited the city, I felt a pull and urge to never leave. Now I wake up every day (even in the midst of a global pandemic) look up, and smile, filled with gratitude that everything aligned.
It would be a miracle to recreate this moment on this actual rooftop as the Ambassador sold to the Sheraton Hotel group, and was later demolished in 1966. Every section of Manhattan has its own charm and quirks, and the East Side was Marilyn’s home base. The Upper West was where I began my journey, and with the help of a few friends, we spent a sunny morning on a UWS roof. This brought a beautiful sense of nostalgia.
Now to the dress. Nothing extremely fancy, or busy. But a classic shape, which can be dressed up or down. I really admire that about 1950’s fashion. Most of the clothing can be easily dressed either way and it was sooooo feminine!! A shout out to Allyson who makes phenomenal reproductions of 1940’s and 50’s Iconic Dresses … her Etsy store is worth checking out if you’re a fellow Marilyn, or Vintage lover! (Oh and she’s a Brit so I couldn’t resist purchasing this beautiful baby-pink day dress.)
So many of Marilyn’s photos are not in color, and even with research it can be hard to be precise with colors of garments. I usually share my moments in B&W to create an extra touch of retro, and so they stand out from my normal life on the gram. But so you can see it in it’s full glory;
BTS notes: I made a slight alteration and added the wrap around the waist, to finish off the look. And my two-day-old curls just needed a quick brush out! It felt good to give my hair a break from the curling iron.
Oh and pretty much every roof will have some sort of safety railing now, So I stood on a bench to help with the leaning. I think it worked out?!
After what felt like an endless Winter in New York, the sun has started making a regular, welcomed appearance and I can’t wait to be outside, without a coat, looking up and taking it all in more frequently.
As you’re walking around this week, take a moment and look around. Take in the nature and architecture that’s above and below your immediate eye line. It’s so easy to be in familiar surroundings but have never really noticed everything.
Hello Spring; we’ve been waiting for you!
Take care beauties,
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