The H+K Strategies’ Beauty & Grooming team have a passion for all things glam, so our Executive Grad Emma paid a little trip to The National Portrait Gallery to check out the “Marilyn Monroe: A British Love Affair” exhibition and find out a little more about the icon’s closely guarded beauty secrets.
Four months in and hoards of visitors still crowded around to steal a glance at the handful of photographs and magazines covers featuring the iconic Marilyn Monroe.
Marilyn Monroe © Cecil Beaton Archive, Sotheby’s London / Collection National Portrait Gallery, London
The exhibition celebrates the transformation of the world’s most popular pin-up star through the lens of the British photographers and personalities who worked with her. Black and white snapshots of Marilyn in her earliest years reveal the glamour and allure that followed Marilyn throughout career. We see Monroe everywhere – in films, posters, exhibitions, on postcards, on t-shirts and her influence is even more widespread having inspired designers, from Dior to Valentino and celebrities who mimic her style. When you think of Monroe what pops into your head? Blonde locks, flawless, plump skin and glossy red lips? Yes, but there is more to her beauty than meets the eye…
Marilyn’s beauty tricks revealed:
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes: Marilyn lightened her hair early in her modeling days. Her platinum blonde curls stayed with her throughout her career, making her stand out from the crowd on and off screen.
Shine in the spotlight: Monroe’s secret to glowing skin was to put a thin layer of downy peach fuzz on her cheeks to catch the studio lights. The lengths she went to!
20th Century Fox/The Kobal Collection/Kornman, Gene
Moisture glow: Monroe’s skin was always flawless. Moisturising was key to the star’s beauty regime. Word-on-the-street is she swore by Elizabeth Arden’s Eight Hour Cream.
Feline flirtation: Monroe always stepped out with flirty feline lashes. She accentuated her eyes with a heavy strip of eye-liner, always flicking the end up to create a catty lash.
Luscious lashes: Lashes galore was Monroe’s motto. And it worked. In fact, they created so much appeal that in 1999 Christie’s auctioned off one of Marilyn’s make-up bags for $1 million dollars. Inside were some of her make-up favourites, including a set of Glorene of Hollywood false eyelashes.
Secretive scent: Floris recently revealed that Monroe’s scent of choice was concocted from a delicious interplay of rose, geranium, citronella and cedarwood. She kept the love of the scent a secret and ordered Floris’ Rose Geranium in 1959 under the false name of Miss Dorothy Blass, her personal secretary. Monroe was less secretive about her signature scent. When asked in an interview on one occasion what she wore to bed, she once replied: “Five drops of Chanel No. 5.”
Raise the red: Red lipstick was Marilyn’s instrument for stirring sensuality and sex appeal into her feminine, bubbly – often vulnerable –spirit. Keep it classic, bright and bold.
If you haven’t already done so, check out the exhibition for yourself at The National Portrait Gallery, showing until 24th March 2013.
By Emma Corbett