Behind Marilyn Monroe’s “Period-ish” Look in Some Like It Hot

Inside Criterion / Sneak Peeks — Nov 23, 2018


It doesn’t get much more iconic than Marilyn Monroe in Some Like It Hot, her Sugar Kane Kowalczyk purring out sultry songs as the lead singer of Sweet Sue and Her Society Syncopators, and between shows coquettishly confiding in Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon’s drag-disguised gate-crashers in the all-female band. Her acting in Billy Wilder’s 1920s-set classic is a model of seductive poise and loopy wit, qualities that are boldly accentuated by the blonde bombshell’s eye-catching outfits. In the above video, a clip from a supplement on our packed new edition of Some Like It Hot, costume designer and historian Deborah Nadoolman Landis and costume historian and archivist Larry McQueen pay tribute to Hollywood designer Orry-Kelly’s Oscar-winning dresses for the film. As Landis and McQueen note here, these wonderful garments, risqué yet innocent numbers that hugged Monroe’s famous figure in sequins, crystal dangles, and other dazzling embellishments, gestured toward the film’s flapper-era setting while also deliberately bursting the seams of period accuracy.