x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Katie Trotter: Channel your innner Marilyn

It's a challenge, but here's how to emulate Marilyn if you must have a go at it.

Everyone loves Marilyn. Who could resist the ever parted lips, the pillowy curves and the satiny blonde hair? The coldest of hearts can't help but be melted, even if some deem her unfashionable and dated. And she's as popular as ever - just look at the recent Vogue covers with Michelle Williams and Rihanna, the just-released biopic My Week with Marilyn, the much-talked-about NBC series Smash and the fictional Monroe-themed Broadway musical set to make its debut in February.

How did a woman who died such a sad death at a young age become such an epic cultural and fashionable icon?

Of course, in terms of style we are well trained to think of Marilyn's magic and of her flimsy, pleated white dress in The Seven Year Itch and that sugary gown in Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend. But her real talent? The perfectly orchestrated contradiction between sexuality and vulnerability. And her secret? Leaving most of it to the imagination.

You see, when it comes to style Marilyn wasn't ever set out to make trends. In fact, her often tomboyish attire of capri pants, flats and crisp white shirt were a complete denial of her achingly female shape (in which she had little interest).

Marilyn loved black, navy, cream, white and occasionally red - all rather simple when we think about such a visually referenced phenomenon. She added feminine touches with accessories such as scarves, stockings and jewellery, but it was clear that fashion was a bit of a bore for her.

No, Marilyn's secret weapon was her body - nothing less - shoulders back, chest out and foot pointed to curve the back and arch the calf. Clothes followed only as necessary.

Sadly, flats and the three-quarter trouser aren't enjoying the same "moment" as the oversized jacket, so I suggest if you wish to emulate Marilyn, go for a mid-heel in an orangey red or a houndstooth - one of her favourites that translates well today. Make sure skirts are well tailored and just below the knee, and shirts tucked in at all times. Most importantly, keep things neat - hair, nails and make-up simple but absolutely done.

Marilyn died at the age of 36 - right before modern feminism began to take hold - and was buried in a Pucci dress of lime-green jersey chosen by her housekeeper, totally unaware of the impact her hips, thighs and (whisper it) protruding stomach would have on both men and woman half a century later.

Which, casting snobbery aside, is enough at least to make note of.




This week's highs and lows

KERMIT THE FROG The Adidas Originals trainers inspired by him are super cool.

PERFECT LOCKS We're all about a bit of rough-and-tumble, grunge-inspired hair.

WALKING ON SUNSHINE These satin platform Casadei pumps from Valencia at Dubai Mall are on our wish list.

TAMARA LEAVES CHOO The force behind the massive shoe brand has left. Rumour has it she's starting her own lifestyle label.

SPANISH STYLE André Leon Talley and Oscar de la Renta are collaborating for a new exhibition entitled Joaquin Sorolla and the Glory of Spanish Dress.