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January 30, 2019

Marilyn Monroe in a Black Silk Cocktail Dress for a Costume Test for “Some Like It Hot”, 1959

A figure-hugging sheer black and nude embellished cocktail dress worn by Marilyn Monroe while singing “I’m through with Love” atop a grand piano in Billy Wilder’s Some Like It Hot (1959).


The dress is composed of black souffle and nude silk jersey embellished with columns of jet-like beads and sequins, scattered beaded butterfly appliques, and beaded fringes. The dress has a built-in bra and an illusion of a deep plunging back that was considered extremely daring for its day. Hand finishing work is present to the interior. A Western Costume label inscribed “Marilyn Monroe 1575-1” is attached to the interior of the bra. Legend tells that Monroe had to be lifted to the piano for this scene as the dress was very form fitting.

Some Like It Hot is considered to be one of the greatest film comedies of all time. It was voted as the top comedy film by the American Film Institute on their list on AFI’s 100 Years...100 Laughs poll in 2000. The film won the 1960 Golden Globe awards for Best Motion Picture-Comedy or Musical, Best Actress in Motion Picture-Comedy or Musical for Monroe, and Best Actor in Motion Picture-Comedy or Musical for Jack Lemmon. Orry-Kelly won the 1959 Academy Award for costume design for his work on this film.

Here’s a collection of some of interesting vintage photographs of Marilyn Monroe in this risqué black, beaded cocktail dress for a costume test for Some Like It Hot.
















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