Most of us have been to that large stripy tent filled with clowns and acrobats, pleaded for cotton candy and felt the youthful excitement that fills a circus ring. Our association with it undoubtedly changed through generations; children now thinking of lion tamers as nothing more than fictional characters from books.
So where does Marilyn fit into this?
After her messy divorce from DiMaggio, Marilyn was living in New York and arranging her own publicity. Following the wrap of her latest film The Seven Year Itch Marilyn was coming back on the scene.
March 30th, 1955, Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey hosted a Charity Gala for Arthritis at Maddison Square Garden. Heading the star-studded event was the blonde bombshell herself riding a pink elephant.
Yes you read that correctly, a pink elephant.
A popular source of entertainment, featuring one of the biggest stars… I’m sure the gala raised the funds they were hoping for.
Why and how the elephant was pink is beyond me? But I’ll leave that tangent to the history channel, The Greatest Showman and PETA.
Let’s talk the beauty of the outfit that Monroe wore that night! The Brooks Costume Company in Manhattan supplied the look! And W O W …
I mean, Monroe aside, this costume is phenomenal. The grandeur, feathers and sparkles, tantalize but don’t shout hussy!
And so my planning began… I started picking up bits for this moment months ago, because I wanted to try and capture details within the corset and showgirl tail! Teardrop pearl beads, Black/White fabric that was giving me all the Beetlejuice vibes and sequins. By the hundreds.
Hours of hand sewing, and the help of a hot glue gun were paying off (honestly sometimes its just quicker!) Everything was going so well, until I started to put together the feathers for the tail. Feathers are NOT cheap! But my stubbornness and bank account were head-to-head… needless to say my bank finally won.
So my mini tail will have to suffice. (Plus the only audience I had were two, very uninterested cats. )
As I have delved back into the world of garment making, It’s only reinforced that this was never the career for me! As much as I enjoy it, the talent and skill required is high!! Every person involved within the industry never gets enough recognition, or awards! I have the utmost respect for anyone that works in the garment/dress/costume world!
I toyed with the idea of superimposing an elephant into the photo. But in truth, the magical pink elephant tugs at my soul. The idea of animals being used, and forced to perform makes me so angry I could cry…. Did you know some states and countries only placed official bans on the use of animals in the circus in 2019?!? I’m still shaking my head over this fact.
Before I turn this into a peta petition…. A pink backdrop is also much better than my ‘superimposing’ skills. If you saw what I attempted, you’d think I was part of the team on the Cats! movie!
And where is the original now? Well it was put out to auction in 2016, and the expected anywhere from $250,000 to $350,000 ! (See Here)
Have you ever been to a circus?
Stay well beauties!
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