At the 1962 Golden Globes, Marilyn Monroe wears a Norman Norell dress

Despite its global fame, Marilyn Monroe he is not as successful in terms of awards, not even at the height of his career in Old Hollywood. In fact, i Golden Globes of the 1962 are one of the few occasions in which the actress has received recognition for her talent. That year, Marilyn wins theHenrietta Award in the category World Film Favorite Female (previously, he had only won two other Golden Globes). Of course, what makes this moment even more iconic is its characteristic explosive style, represented by a dress that deserves to be remembered.

Monroe takes the stage in a V-neck sequin bodycon dress by Norman Norell, one of the most underrated designers in fashion (fans also speculated that the diamond earrings the actress is wearing that evening were given to her by Frank Sinatra). Of an intense nuance Emerald, the dress that Norell designed for Marilyn Monroe still looks surprisingly fresh and current today: any celebrity could wear it for an awards ceremony and no one would ever suspect that it is a model from seventy years ago.

Marilyn Monroe with Norman Norell dress.

© Getty Images

This is not the first time that Marilyn wears an original Norell creation. She is in fact a great admirer of the designer’s work and, over the years, has shown off many of his dresses (she even chooses it for the day of her marriage to Arthur Miller in 1956.) Yet that of Norell, who died in 1972, is a name that has failed to capture the attention of the contemporary audience, despite his work rivaling the greatest talents of the time, such as with Cristóbal Balenciaga in Paris. In fact, it has earned the nickname of ‘The American Balenciaga’, thanks to the couture techniques he has incorporated into his models. With its sophisticated and distinctly American glamor, it has inspired many designers who have emulated it, including Bill Blass, Ralph Lauren is Marc Jacobs. So who was this mysterious talent?

Originally from Noblesville, Indiana, Norell began his career in fashion working briefly as a costume designer for the Paramount Pictures, in the 20s. After having worked for big names in the fashion system such as Hattie Carnegie in the 30s, Norell started his own design company with partner Anthony Traina, hence the name of the brand Traina-Norell, with whom he collaborated in the 40s and 50s, then founding his eponymous atelier in Manhattan in 1960. In a short time , becomes the go-to designer for stars like Monroe and Lauren Bacall, who appreciate her ability to create clothes that are elegant, practical and innately glamorous at the same time. Norell soon became known for his own design a ‘siren’ with sequins, like the style of the model Monroe wears at the Globes, which consists of long column dresses in jersey covered with sequins and often finished with plunging V-necklines.

Norman Norell dress from 1963.

© Getty Images

According to the book Marilyn in Manhattan: Her Year of Joy of Elizabeth Winder, Norell and Marilyn Monroe immediately made friends thanks to their shared love of theater. The designer then played a huge role in shaping the image we still associate with the actress today, always making sure that she represented a true Hollywood star. Monroe wears Norell’s first copper-colored dress at the 1955 premiere of the Broadway play The Cat on the Hot Roof, and, a year later, she flaunts her deep V-neck black sequin dress – paired with a fur stole – at a film premiere Baby Doll by Elia Kazan. Norell particularly enjoys working on the image of Monroe as a diva and sex symbol. “Everything had to be tight”, Norell’s words in the book Marilyn in Manhattan. “Every seam had to be reinforced or everything would collapse.” Marilyn, meanwhile, falls in love with the designs the designer created for her so much that she has copies made by the Seventh Avenue seamstresses.

A Norman Norell show from 1971.

© Getty Images

The dress worn in ai Golden Globes that Norell made for Marilyn Monroe it still remains one of his most famous creations today, and has now also become a collector’s item. It was in fact auctioned off by Christie’s in 1999, sold for a staggering $ 96,000. In 2018, the Golden Globe statuette won that year was also auctioned for a record $ 250,000. They may seem like mind-boggling figures for an evening dress or an award, but they are actually pieces of history, especially as regards the dress, worn by a Hollywood icon and made by the designer who helped cultivate his image. It is also one of the most memorable fashion moments in the history of the Golden Globes, priceless to say the least.

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