I have found my place in the world.
Below the streets of Florence, in the cellars of the famous Salvatore Ferragamo Flagship store, lays exhibition like no other. Most of my readers know that I am enchanted with Marilyn Monroe, and one of the facts I have always known is that the great Salvatore himself designed and made most of her foot ware. Living in Florence, the home of Ferragamo, going to the Museum was inevitable. I had up until now put it off, knowing that it would be something pretty amazing, and most defiantly inspiring. I had, in a way, saved it for my "rainy day", the day when the beauty of Florence and its inhabitants might cease to provide me with the inspiration to create my best work. More than 2 years on, "rainy day" yet to pass, I found the perfect opportunity with a friend who is also a great admirer of the Iconic Blonde bombshell.
Descending the dark stairs into the cavernous rooms below the Ferragamo building, glass cases with hand crafted high heels inside, caught my eye as we paid our 5 euro entry fee. On the walls where photographs, magazine covers and digital screens playing all things Marilyn. Copies of her personal handwritten diary lay open below original Renaissance artworks and sculptures of the female figure. The curators have cleverly sought to interpret the genesis of her most iconic images with art works showing similar poses and expressions, as made by the Greats of my favourite art period, and the period that Florence is most renowned for. My favourite comparison in the 3rd room; Renaissance at its finest: Botticelli's Birth of Venus and one of Marilyn's final, and most famous photo shoots (shot by George Barris) displayed on a giant LCD screen, morphing back and forth~ A perfect union of two of my most influential images growing up.
What I was not at all prepared for was the next room, hidden by a small archway and thick champagne coloured velvet curtains, a circular room filled with the actresses ACTUAL costumes. Divine dresses within the reach of my hand. Dresses that I have tried to recreate over and over, referencing old book prints and pausing movie scenes. Emotion overcame me.
Room after room followed, her 'Seven Year Itch' halter dress, the Swarovski covered gown she had to be sewn into to sing Happy Birthday to JFK, her personal wardrobe; the sun dress she wore, made famous by photographs of her and her new husband, Arthur Miller, at their summer home in Connecticut. Too much for just a couple of hours...
And so, if you need to find me in Florence, you now know where I will be!