A History Lesson: Travilla

While he may not be a household name, William Travilla arguably designed the twentieth century’s most famous dress: Marilyn Monroe’s halter dress in The Seven Year Itch.

During Hollywood’s Golden Age, Travilla worked as a costume designer for both Warner Bros & Twentieth-Century Fox, while a budding friendship (and rumored affair) with Monroe led to a fruitful working relationship. Their collaborations include: Monkey Business (1952), Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), How to Marry a Millionaire (1953) & Bus Stop (1956).

In the sixties, Travilla designed the lovely gowns for the cast of Valley of the Dolls (1967). In the following decade, he began to work in television and he created the wardrobes for the series, “Knots Landing” & “Dallas.” Travilla continued to work, dressing the world’s top names in entertainment until his death in 1990.

The dress.

Travilla fits Monroe for Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.

A Travilla tag and Sharon Tate’s dresses in Valley of the Dolls from the 2008 tour of Travilla’s dresses & designs.

Images from travillatour & hulu.com