It’s always interesting to see how the actors of several movies use different props in order to channel in their characters in the best ways possible. In our case we will analyse how Ana De Armas had completely transformed in Marylin Monroe, for her role in Blonde, through jewellery.
One of the main struggles was when recording the iconic number “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend”. The budget was not enough to build everything from scratch and the quality of the materials the design team held was not the right match. It was at this moment that Johnson, the head of the team, turned to the Swiss luxury watches, accessories, and fine jewellery house, Chopard, for some serious bling. “Chopard was incredibly helpful and lovely to work with!” However, the million-dollar value of the pieces accompanied by an armed guard did not work with the schedules of the shootings.
How could the problem be solved?
Johnson was capable of finding help from David at House of Fisher in West Hollywood. “David has this incredible collection of vintage designer costume jewellery,” says Johnson. “He dug deep into his collection – choosing pieces that had once belonged to Catherine Deneuve! He helped piece together a very close match and was very generous while working with our small budget and insane time frame!!!”
What is even more interesting to notice, is that this decision of using medium or even low-quality jewels would have probably been shared by the same Marylin Monroe.
In fact, according to Scott Fortner, founder of the Marilyn Monroe collection she was ahead of her time in wearing costume jewellery. ‘She didn’t have a lot of ‘high quality’ jewellery – she had very little with precious metals or stones, nearly everything was synthetic or rhinestones.’ Surprisingly even the indelible image of Monroe coated in jewels and the hot pink silk dress in Diamonds are a girl’s best friend are costume, not real diamonds. Marylin Monroe tended to use real diamonds only for the premieres of the movies and not during the shootings, just like it happened for Blonde and the actress Ana De Armas, making her and her personification an even closer match to the icon Monroe.
According to Johnson, her goal from the start is to always focus on the details. “I kept in mind that not only were we recreating a lot of Marilyn’s actual looks, but that I also needed to make sure the pieces I chose worked on Ana and that she felt comfortable and completely transformed when she stepped into Marilyn. The jewellery had to feel at one with her.”
It is undeniable the impact that jewels and watches can have on the transformation and development of the characters we often see on screen; however, in this case, it is even more interesting to notice that to make a good appearance, jewels are not to be considered the vital element, but more of a stunning addition to the show. Maybe Chopard should be more affordable to appear in our favourite movies!