Friday, 8 May 2015

Marilyn's Dresses - "Misfits" headpiece

I've had a little bit of time to do things "DIY" (when not looking after the baby) and the first thing is an early 1960s headpiece, inspired by Marilyn Monroes headpiece from the film "The Misfits" (1961) (pictures further down).

Version 1

How come?

I've loved this picture ever since I saw it for the first time (which is a loooong time ago...). But only now I've come to the point where I started thinking about making the outfit myself. This year, starting with the headpiece.The dress and jacket are to come later in 2016.

As always, it is not as easy as it seems. My first thought was - that's just a bit of Chenille wire with a bit of bobble veiling. And then you start looking closer. (lots of pictures following) - and then I ended up watching the film. :) "The Misfits" on Youtube. :)

1. the veiling: it's fine black veiling with different size bobbles - small at the top and slightly bigger at the bottom. That's a real problem. Modern veiling usually has bigger nets (this one seems quite delicate) and bigger (if not to say huge) bobbles/dots. And how on earth is it attached???

2. I was torn between thinking it was a melusine fascinator and chenille wire attached and thinking it was really just chenille wire. it looks SO NEAT!

From the pictures alone my question (hat or chenille wire) couldn't be answered, but watching the film (and the headpiece already appears in the first 15mins) did help (and it happens to be a good albeit slightly strange film) :) It is indeed a headpiece made from black (chenille?) wire, attached to the aforementioned veiling. In the back it has two little bows - she's wearing it over a french twist/bun hairdo. Beautifully simple and elegant!

My versions:

Nice black chenille wire is not a problem, I found it right away. But the veiling was a problem... you don't get netting as fine as the one on the picture and you also don't get fine netting with chenille dots like that...

I made a prototype first because I wasn't quite sure how that veiling was actually attached. I am still not sure, but I like it this way best. :) 

the prototype

After looing for modern veiling with suitable dots (not available) and vintage veiling with suitable dots (didn't find anything in black and with dots in exactly the right places and it's also ridiculously expensive) I decided to make my own chenille bobble veiling.

Version 1
I continued using the prototype and experimented with different size chenille wire. Yes, the ordinary one from the arts and crafts shop. It might not be as great as millinery chenille wire, BUT it is available and looks okay, too, I think. When I finished I noticed I had attached the bobbles the wrong way round... the fat ones need to be at the bottom... I do like this version a lot though, nearly better than Version 2.

bobbles wrong way round BUT at least I look friendly, don't I?

Version 2
I made a new frame, slightly bigger tulle bows at the back and fat bobbles at the top and the rows with the dots slightly different from both prototype and original ;) 

sorry, not as neatly attached as I would like it but I didn't have the time

Sorry there is no back view, I will try and add one later, the back looks pretty much like the original. black wire and two small bows. :)

The original:

all pictures from Pinterest. and here somewhere ) These pictures were taken 1960 in Reno and on the Set of "The Misfits". 

better back view. It's really just a wire.


  1. Your version is just as charming! I was reading your lovely post this morning, and then I came upon this etsy listing tonight I think it is the very same facinator Marilyn is wearing only in white! Crazy coincidence! I just had to share the link with you!

    1. It is very similar indeed, thank you for sharing the link! Just the bobbles are the other war around again... :) X