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2022 is the year of Marilyn Monroe's return

From Kim Kardashian's tribute at the Met Gala to the new biopic

2022 is the year of Marilyn Monroe's return From Kim Kardashian's tribute at the Met Gala to the new biopic

Marilyn Monroe is no longer the fixed image of a blonde trying to pull down the skirt of her dress, lifted by a breath of air escaping from an underground grate. She has ceased to decorate the flats of millions of girls, to regain a three-dimensionality that we have long taken away from her, relegating her to the cliché of the Hollywood diva, the faded image of a beautiful, hapless actress, forever young. But what else do most people know about her? Not much at all. 

She was born Norma Jeane Mortenson Baker. She doesn't know who her father is and spends her childhood with her alcoholic, drug-addicted mother, who suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, and grows up being abused and endlessly shuttled between various foster parents. She is in her early twenties when she dyes her hair platinum blonde and changes her name to Marilyn Monroe. She was a few years older when, after a past as a pin-up model and a long apprenticeship made up of small appearances, she arrived on the big screen with the thriller Niagara. The role of the femme fatale Rose Loomis opened the doors of Hollywood to her and she made one film after another, classics that have gone down in film history such as Men Prefer Blondes, How to Marry a Millionaire, The Seven Year Itch or Some Like It Hot. The image of the ditzy blonde that she herself carefully cultivates and the tight-fitting, often daring and nude clothes she wears on public occasions do the rest, transforming a bright, brilliant, fragile and cultured young girl into a worldwide sex symbol. A myth fuelled by gossip about her love stories, real and presumed, such as the one with the Kennedys, Robert and John Fitzgerald. Then her mysterious and premature death, at only thirty-six years of age, definitively consecrated her as a timeless icon of beauty and sensuality. Sixty years after that 5th August 1962, Marilyn is once again the center of attention, the protagonist of a series of film projects, an important auction and an unexpected fashion tribute during the last Meg Gala. 

Thanks to Kim Kardashian, Marilyn has gone viral. The über-influencer stunned everyone by appearing on the red carpet of the Met Gala 2022 in the nude dress that the actress wore to sing "Happy Birthday" to JFK on 19 May 1962 at Madison Square Garden in NY. The dress, covered in over six thousand hand-sewn crystal decorations, was designed by Frenchman Jean Louis, based on a sketch by the famous costume designer and stylist Bob Mackie. According to legend, it was so tight that it was literally sewn on Monroe to fit her curves as closely as possible. Upon her death, it was auctioned off and purchased by Ripley's Believe It or Not in 2016 for around €4.5 million. The museum loaned it to Miss Kardashian, who sported it to walk up the Met steps and replaced it with an exact replica for the rest of the evening. That same creation also inspired the Versace look chosen by Doja Cat for the 2022 Grammy Awards.

It's not just Monroe's gowns that are catching the eye. Christie's is preparing to auction off Andy Warhol's famous pop portrait of the actress, entitled Shot Sage Blue Marilyn. The starting price? 200 million dollars, a figure that would make it the most expensive 20th-century artwork ever sold at auction. To publicize the event on 9 May, Christie's has been projecting the painting onto the facade of Rockefeller Center every night from 7.30 pm to midnight for the past two weeks.

Marilyn is also the focus of film projects. The first is the eagerly awaited biopic directed by Andrew Dominik (already behind the camera for the beautiful The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford) starring the iconic blonde Ana de Armas. Produced and distributed by Netflix, which will release it during 2022, the film is entitled Blonde and is based on the novel of the same name by Joyce Carol-Oates. Netflix has also recently made available a new documentary on Monroe, The Mystery of Marilyn Monroe: The Unheard Tapes, which investigates the secrets and assumptions that still surround the star's death. Director Emma Cooper was able to draw on 650 never-before-heard tapes collected by Anthony Summers to write the book Goddess.