Marilyn Monroe and the power of her 4-inch stiletto heel

Museo Salvatore Ferragamo

Inside the story of Salvatore Ferragamo’s most famous client and Venus of the 20th century

Give a girl the right pair of shoes and she'll conquer the world.
Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn: the exhibition
Museo Salvatore Ferragamo in Florence paid tribute to Marilyn Monroe, the timeless myth, with an important exhibition fifty years after her death (5th August 1962). Under the curation of Stefania Ricci and Sergio Risaliti, the exhibition and catalogue (Skira) were the fruit of meticulous preparation and research, involving the study of documents, photographs, films, writings and the actress’s life, so as to understand the countless facets of this woman and star. Like other Hollywood divas (i.e. Audrey Hepburn and Greta Garbo), Marilyn adored wearing Salvatore Ferragamo shoes – she owned dozens of pairs, each with a simple design and not one without a stiletto heel. The exhibition will included 30 pairs of shoes and over 50 outfits from the actress’s wardrobe, worn on the set of her most important movies, in her personal life and in public; clothing and accessories that over time – as with anything she touched – have become cult objects sought after by collectors around the world and sold at auctions for astronomical prices.

Inside 'Marilyn' at Museo Salvatore Ferragamo

The exhibition celebrated the force of the archetype and the survival of her myth: her body, her beauty, her sensuality and her tragic end, a contemporary Venus and sex symbol, the secret Marilyn and the pop icon.

“The size of your feet, too, tells me about your character. I have divided the women who have come to me into three categories: the Cinderella, the Venus and the Aristocrat. [...] Venus is usually of great beauty, glamour, and sophistication, yet under her glittering exterior she is often essentially a home body loving the simple things of life. Because these two characteristics are mutually contradictory the Venus is often misunderstood. People accuse her of too much luxury loving and frivolity.”
Salvatore Ferragamo

A glimpse of Marilyn

A vast collection of photographs of Marilyn in her day-to-day life traced the life path of a movie star who, with her sensuality, illuminated the space around her, giving us a glimpse of the fears and anxieties that plagued her from childhood on.

The perfect fit

An icon of irresistible feminine charm, Marilyn Monroe was one of the most charismatic stars of all time, and a devotee of Salvatore Ferragamo, who expressed the unforgettable essence of her appeal in the shoes he created specifically for her.

The legend

Marilyn’s tragic end only encourages the mythical, archetypical status of her image and her life, as it evokes that of other famous women who have died for love or in a struggle with power: from Cleopatra and Dido to Madame Bovary.

The fantasy of every American man

Monroe, both on the set and in real life, incarnated something distant and primordial, bringing this mix of carnal sensuality and innocent beauty to life through all forms of media.

An extraordinary woman

Marilyn was, without a doubt, the most photographed woman of the twentieth century – and film – because she was an extraordinary actress, capable of interpreting a wide array of roles and a varied range of characters, with the ability to innovate.

The pop image

Specific attention was devoted to twentieth century art (Warhol, Klein, Rotella and Canevari) and classical art (Soldani, Foggini, Dandini, Susini, Boucher, Canova and Greuze), on which Monroe’s pop image relies for the figurative archetypes necessary to eternalise her effigy.

“Talent, confidence alongside brusque moments of desperation, fragility, loss of self-esteem and fears … a perfect being aware of herself, her power, and yet, at the same time, a little girl who was wronged so many years ago”

Cristina Comencini

Her iconic film costumes

This large room was dedicated to the costumes Marilyn Monroe wore in her most famous scenes in celebrated films like Niagara, The Seven-Year Itch, Bus Stop, Some Like It Hot, or The Misfits.

Marilyn Monroe's 4-inch stiletto heel

4-inch stiletto heel

Marilyn Monroe loved the understated elegance of a simple pump with a pointed toe and 4-inch stiletto heel, which accentuated her innate and explosive femininity, and which Ferragamo created in a variety of materials and colours to suit her signature style.

"I am not interested in money. I just want to be wonderful."
Marilyn Monroe
“We are all of us stars, and we deserve to twinkle.”
Marilyn Monroe
“Beneath the makeup and behind the smile I am just a girl who wishes for the world.”
Marilyn Monroe
“All I want is to be loved, for myself and for my talent.”
Marilyn Monroe
“I’m very definitely a woman and I enjoy it.”
Marilyn Monroe
"When it comes down to it. I let people think what they want. And if they care enough to bother with what I do, I already know I'm better than them."
Marilyn Monroe
"Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it's better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring."
Marilyn Monroe
“I live to succeed, not to please you or anyone else.”
Marilyn Monroe
“If I’d observed all the rules I’d never have got anywhere.”
Marilyn Monroe
"I don't know who invented high heels, but all women owe him a lot."
Marilyn Monroe
"I'm selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best."
Marilyn Monroe

“Keep smiling, because life is a beautiful thing and there’s so much to smile about.”

Marilyn Monroe

Credits: Story

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