The personal style of Marilyn Monroe is unforgettable. And – as shown in a new exhibition, Marilyn at the Museo Ferragamo in Florence – it is a style that is back in fashion. Through a combination of items from her wardrobe, important portraits of her by the leading photographers of the time and candid paparazzi photos, Marilyn’s iconic look is revealed as consistently glamorous, relying on full length dresses with boned bodices, halter necks and a capsule palette of black, white or beige and, of course, sequins. The silhouettes she pioneered (decades before actresses relied on stylists, Marilyn was the engineer of her own image) are as modern today as ever. Indeed, the spike-heel pumps that were made especially for Marilyn by Ferragamo in every material from champagne silk to scarlet sequins are still available to buy today.

For an even closer look at the superstar’s style, the catalogue of the 1999 Christie’s auction The Personal Belongings of Marilyn Monroe reveals that there were two sides to Marilyn. The first is the Hollywood character that she created for herself and which she jokingly referred to as her “albatross”. This was the Marilyn who always wore white or beige close to her face (notice that even her famous black dresses often featured cream collars) in order to enhance the luminosity of her alabaster complexion. A lesser-known and more natural Marilyn can be seen in her brightly coloured Pucci shift dresses, skin tight Capri pants and T-shirts in every colour. This was the real Marilyn who drank with friends such as Truman Capote in neighbourhood bars. Whether off-duty or in Hollywood mode, Marilyn remains an icon of not just style but also beauty and to this day is always in fashion.

A limited edition of the famous shoe created for Marilyn Monroe by Ferragamo in 1958-1959 is available to buy online:

Marilyn relied on the Little Black Dress. Read more on that style essential: