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Andre de Dienes, Marilyn Monroe & The Glamorous White Swimsuit

Posted on June 23 2016

When you think of Marilyn Monroe, what image pops into your head? Is it Marilyn in the classic white halter neck dress cooling down over a New York subway grate? Or perhaps it’s that iconic pink dress and gloves combo she wore in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes to deliver a spectacular performance of Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend? For us, it won’t come as much surprise, its Marilyn in her white bathing suit (we love it so much we named our own one piece white bathing suit ‘The Marilyn’ after her!)

Much to our delight, an exhibition of Andre de Dienes work is currently on display at the Steven Casher museum in New York. The exhibition, Marilyn and California nudes, opened on 09 June and will run until July 29th. The photos were shot by Andre de Dienes, a Hungarian-Romanian photographer, known for his work in Vogue and Life magazines.

Team For Luna were luckily in town and had the wonderful pleasure of visiting the exhibition and seeing those beautiful swimsuit shots of a young Marilyn. Diens met first met Marilyn in 1945 and immediately recognised her potential and star quality, one of the first professional photographers to do so. In his autobiography Dienes described the first time he met Monroe saying "...it was as if a miracle had happened to me. Norma Jeane seemed to be like an angel. I could hardly believe it for a few moments. An earthly, looking angel! Sent expressly for me!"

His photographs of young wholesome, not to mention brunette, Norma Jeane were very successful and sold widely, making Dienes a significant profit. Norma Jeane didn’t profit quite as much, having been paid a flat fee of $200, she wasn’t entitled to any of the royalties!

The next time Dienes met her, Norma Jeane had begun her transformation into Marilyn Monroe and was on the road to success as the quintessential blonde bombshell we all remember her as today. The two collaborated on a number of other photoshoots over the next few years, most notably in 1949 when he took a series of pin-up shots of her at Long Island’s Tobay Beach in Oyster Bay New York. The images featured her in a strapless white swimsuit and twirling a red and white polka dot umbrella.

The exhibition also includes Dienes collection of nude photographs taken in California in the late 1940s. But it’s the shots of Marilyn that we were drawn too. If you are in New York this summer, don’t miss out on the opportunity to see some of the mid century’s most iconic images. And if you are feeling inspired, check our fabulous range of one piece 1950s style swimsuits – perfect for indulging your inner Marilyn! Simply fabulous!

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