I have already written about the dress of Marilyn Monroe, in which she congratulated President Kennedy. The dress had become legendary. However, this is not the first "nude dress" by costume designer Jean-Louis. Back in the early 1950s, he created a similar for Marlene Dietrich, for her performances in Las Vegas.
In the movie "Salome," the brilliant Rita Hayworth performed the dance of the seven curtains. The dress that was hiding under them had a rather rigid base in the chest and hips area (like a separate swimsuit), everything else was flesh-colored chiffon. Embroidery with beads and rhinestones played was not only the decoration but also masked the seams. In a word, it was a provocative outfit, which delighted the audience but upset the censors. Dietrich saw the film and liked the outfit of Hayworth. She wanted something like this, even better. She had worn “illusional dresses” before, but now she had to make something special.
For several months, fifteen dressmakers worked on several versions of the dress, decorating it with rhinestones, beads, sequins, and meters of chiffon.
Every tiny detail of the decoration had to have its place. Louis recalled: “Marlene could come to the studio directly from the plane and stand motionless for 8 or 9 hours in front of the mirrors while we were making the dresses right on her. This requires both energy and discipline, to stand like that, and she had them. She said "I don't like symmetry. Move this bead here", and we moved it, but it turned out that it was then symmetrically located next to the rhinestone, and we moved it too, and so on, it could last all day, the whole weekend."
She could see the result and then decide to move the bead a fraction of a centimeter to the left. Or to the right. And then back. In general, as the designer said, he had never seen such patience - and such a firm intention to get exactly the effect that she wanted!
They told that later the dress would be sewn right on the actress before a performance. Marlene denied: "He who understands a little bit in sewing knows that such a dress would turn into a rag in the shortest possible time."
The outfits from Louis, according to Marlene, should have made her the most beautiful, most seductive of women. An ideal, unearthly creature. And - yes, she made a splash. After the first performances, the photos of Dietrich in transparent dresses literally scattered around the world.
Each dress cost her $ 6,000 and weighed more than 6 kg. When Dietrich threw off her cloak, there was no dress at all — only an elastic body. Not covered, it seemed nothing except a certain amount of beads and pearls scattered around it.
Dietrich deliberately shocked the public. As she once told reporters, "This is Las Vegas. If not here, then where?"
However ... Even at first sight, it was impossible to discern that, in fact, the body of the actress was literally packaged in perfectly flesh-colored underwear - nylon jumpsuit!
Once, Dietrich agreed to lend one of three copies of her flesh-colored dress to one starlet, who was invited to present the prize at one private ball. And Marlene put forward two conditions: first, the dress should have been delivered to the girl just before leaving for the ball. Secondly, she had to wear anything under her dress. Well, due to the press which claimed that Dietrich was putting the dress on her naked body.
Louis wrote: "The poor girl quickly put on the dress, as agreed, and, of course, all these beads and other decorations were so heavy that they pulled the dress down, and without the special underwear or anything sewed into the dress it hung on like wet cement."
No doubt, as the author of one of Dietrich's biographies adds, she foresaw such an outcome! It's risky to be equal to Marlene herself.