A timeless icon: Marilyn Monroe at Ferragamo Palazzo Feroni, Florence

On the fiftieth anniversary of Marilyn Monroe’s death  the Ferragamo Museum in Florence celebrates the timeless legend of the Hollywood star  with an exhibition called “Marilyn” up to January 28th, 2013.

It is meant to be the conclusion of a planned trilogy started in 1999 with the show dedicated to Audrey Hepburn and continued in 2010  with the one devoted to Greta Garbo. Salvatore Ferragamo has always kept a deep relationship between  movie system and  fashion since  1920,  enhancing  with his artistic products the style of many actresses. Now on Marilyn’s  death anniversary  the Museum celebrates her in  manifold facets. Her world is being revealed in its mixture of sensuality, research of success, frailty and  human contradictions. The final  image one perceives is not her striking face or sexy body but something more,  able to charm the  entire world. In front of  her   innocence words fail. A definition can’t easily be found out. The exhibition focuses on both  her private life and career arranging the items on show as essential elements of a whole. So the created expressly  Ferragamo shoes  become, paradoxically,  inseparable  elongations of her. Who can imagine something different from the orange Swarovsky encrusted stilettos worn by her in “Gentlemem prefer Blondes”,  the film directed by in 1953 by Howard Hawks or the white sandals in the cult shot  of her  skirt lifting up in “the Seven Year Itch” by  Billy Wilder  in 1955? They  are both  timeless icons,  memories out of stereotypes telling the essence and style of Marilyn, well established as  heritage of any movie fan’s imagination. Getting inside the exhibition one is overwhelmed by the photos by the greatest artists  able to fix her in classical portraits or in transfigured erotic images of purity,  everybody knows.  Any petty detail becomes here part of a system. Through the papers,  the interviews,  the films,  the scripts we get  into the world of the most famous blonde,  perceiving the feelings,  thoughts and  the unusual sense of  humour of an extraordinary  actress,  able to write down in her agenda everything,  included  her shopping dates, at Ferragamo’s in New York City. Photography,  movies,  art,  poetry all focus  on a fragile though strong  woman continuously swinging between the ordinary everyday life tasks and the ongoing  research of an inner balance.  Such a humanist reading of this icon could not find a better location than Florence,  so deeply rooted in  its renaissance past. Thence its legitimacy to offer its  homage to a  mythical character, mirroring herself into the  feminine prototype of  the Florentine Venus of the Uffizi.

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