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After the first stills of Ana de Armas as Marilyn Monroe were revealed from the set of Netflix’s “Blonde,” it became clear that wardrobe would be a crucial element in bringing the story to life. Award-winning costume designer Jennifer Johnson (“I, Tonya”) re-created Monroe’s iconic outfits with the help of patternmaker Jose Bello at Western Costume.
“It’s easy enough to copy something verbatim, it’s another thing to bring something so iconic that is imbued in the world’s psyche back from the dead.”
The intention was to make de Armas feel as much like Monroe — whose real name was Norma Jeane Mortenson — as possible. “Getting the construction details just right was important, but so was being flexible with certain details and fabric choices to work for Ana,” Johnson tells POPSUGAR. “It’s easy enough to copy something verbatim, it’s another thing to bring something so iconic that is imbued in the world’s psyche back from the dead. These pieces need to feel alive and relevant to today’s eye.”
In terms of her style point of view, Monroe was a minimalist. Even for red carpet events, she borrowed from whatever costume designer she was working with at the time. But she made an exception for diamonds, as all of Monroe’s jewelry was real. Rather than build from scratch, which would’ve required too much time, Johnson’s team sourced jewels from House of Fisher in West Hollywood. Its costume jewelry antiques that once belonged to Catherine Deneuve made for a close match.
“I feel really proud of what we created, not having access to the actual thing. Filmmaking is fantasy, and these re-creations are a love letter to everyone who made Norma Jeane Marilyn Monroe,” Johnson says.
Ahead, get a full breakdown of the looks that Johnson translated to the screen, and compare Monroe’s original clothing to de Armas’s costumes.