Posted by: Debra Kolkka | October 20, 2012

Marilyn in Florence

There is an exhibition currently at the Salvatore Ferragamo Museum in Florence simply called “Marilyn”.


What began as a plan to feature the shoes that Ferragamo hand made for Marilyn, (she had scores of pairs of pointed pumps all with 11 centimetre heels) became so much more.

There are the shoes, of course, and clothes worn by Marilyn both on and off screen, and a room full of photographs of her compared with beautiful women in art. There are scenes shown from her movies and interviews she did over the years.

My favourite rooms were those filled with her clothes. There was the dress from The Seven Year Itch, costumes from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Some Like it Hot and many other movies she made. The dress she wore when she sang Happy Birthday to President Kennedy is on show along with a video of her performance.

No photographs were allowed, I really wanted to sneak some but there were guards everywhere and I didn’t want to be thrown out. But I have scratched up some photos from elsewhere.






The dress I loved the most was the pink one from Gentlemen prefer blondes. I think she was at her loveliest in this movie and that scene is wonderful. I felt quite sad standing in front of the dress, imagining her wearing it. It is surprisingly tiny and it is just a dress, but it reminded me just how much I loved her movies.




The exhibition is on until January 28, 2013……great, I can see it again and again.


  1. So annoying you cannot share the clothing photos, just like when we went to the exhibition at the Queensland Museum together. But you have conveyed the look and feel. The pink gown is timeless as is Marilyn who is now at rest.

    • I found the exhibition very moving and the dresses were stunning. I really wanted to photograph them, because there were so many and I would love to work out which movies they came from. I forgot to see if there was a book from the exhibition. I will have to go back.

  2. Poor old soul, if only she could know how much she has been loved in the years since she passed…

    • She is still fascinating after all these years. Some Like it Hot is one of my all time favourite movies. I watch it regularly and still find it hilarious.

  3. What a coincidence! I recently went to a cafe in Brighton that featured large portraits of Marilyn all over its walls. I must take you there next time you visit Adelaide, Deb. The food there is wonderful, too. I agree with Roz that you’ve portrayed well the essence of Marilyn. I loved the song she sang: “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend.” Marilyn and Jane Russell made a marvellous duo in the movie. They both were epitomes of “woman” in the 50s.

    • That movie had some great lines, especially when Marilyn was with Piggie.

  4. I like blondes too Debra !!

  5. Who knew? How fabulous! I love vintage clothing. This would be fun to see.

    • It is a wonderful collection of clothing. It would be interesting even if they were not Marilyn’s.

  6. Debra, what a lovely contributing post to Marilyn. Have you seen the movie ” Week with Marilyn”, or something like that, it’s been out for maybe one or two years. You will like it!

    • I missed it in Australia and movies are dubbed in Italian here, which just isn’t the same. I will have to buy the DVD.

  7. Oh I find that so frustrating when you can’t take photos. You’re such an intrepid reporter Deb, I love the imaginary image of you being thrown out and climbing back in via the toilet windows or some such for the sake of us loyal readers! Marilyn is Peter’s favourite and I agree she was very lovely. She had a talent for comedy too. When I was younger I so much wanted to wear high heels, but alas I am not built that way; I always ‘fell off’ them.

    • I think it is really unfair not to let me take photos. My fingers were just itching to sneak my camera out of my bag.

  8. I bet that was an amazing exhibition! She was such a magnetic star 🙂

    • It is a wonderful exhibition, I’m glad I will be able to see it a few times.

  9. Interesting that after so many years, she still captures much interest.

    • The fascination never seems to go away.

  10. Here ia a link with some photos of the exhibit.

    • Thank you for that, I wish I could have taken some photos.

  11. Oh, I would spend a whole day in that exhibition. It sounds utterly fantastic. Your favourite is that pink dress, and to imagine that beautiful woman herself slipped it on, her skin brushed over it – she was truly truly something else, & I think intelligent but frustrated, too.

    • She certainly had her problems. I wonder what would have happened had she lived longer.

  12. Oh, I would have loved to see the clothes, as well! And the shoes–all of it. Sounds fascinating.

    • I had a great time in the museum, so much to see.

  13. I can imagine this would have been heaven for a fashion maven like you Deb. A nice new excuse to return again and again to Florence too. BTW, have you been to the new Gucci museum? You would like methinks. x

  14. Glad to know about this one – we’ll put it on the November list of “to do’s” for our trip. Thanks for sharing the info, and hope your visit is going well.

    • It is a wonderful exhibition. I’m sure you will love it.

  15. Today I pay homage to one of my favorite movies of all time, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes . Whether you’re in the mood for a chick flick or a comedy, or just yearning for some eye candy, this movie has something for everyone.

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