Everyone is familiar with style icon Marilyn Monroe, perhaps even more so since the recent release of BBC Films’ much anticipated cinematic portrayal of her inner life, “My Week with Marilyn.” But concentrating purely on the evolution of alternative style in the new millennium, some may not realize just how much Marilyn has contributed to the pierced and tattooed pin-up style, or to iconography in the world of neo-vintage alternative fashion in general.
Starting with lending her name to the “Monroe” piercing, Marilyn has inspired an entirely separate neo-vintage look. The Monroe (sometimes also called a Marilyn) is a piercing of the upper lip, as you may have guessed, in the general area of its eponymous beauty’s trademark freckle. Although the piercing itself has grown in popularity among young men, the real story of its style is exclusive to the far greater number of females who’ve gone under the needle.
Modern styling common to the Monroe piercing is generally conducive to a simplistic and minimalist feel, including more mundane lip coloring and the clean look of polished stainless steel or clear gem solitaires. But the retro incarnation, though genius in its own pseudo-simplicity, is a far cry from reserved. The classic style that’s so very Marilyn inspired is seen over again and again: black stud jewelry, pale doll-like skin, vivacious red lips, and tapered cat-eye liner.
In variation ranging from decidedly neo-vintage (including retro inspired hair styles and a soft, matte finish to the skin), to a more Marilyn-esque approach with modernized dewy complexions and bright, luxe eye makeup, the pin-up fashion surrounding Monroe’s flirty upper lip piercing must undeniably be attributed to the icon herself. Just one more way that Marilyn puts the va-va-voom into modern vintage.