William Travilla

William Travilla (pronounced Tra-via) who went by the profession name of Travilla, was an American costume designer for theatre, film and television. He is perhaps best known for dressing Marilyn Monroe in eight of her films. Below is an episode from the hit TV show You Bet Your Life, when Travilla was a guest and offered fashion advise.

By 1952, he was close friends with Marilyn Monroe and created the costumes for Don’t Bother To Knock and Gentleman Prefer Blondes. He went on to design the costumes for several more of her films. Travilla created one of the most famous costumes in all of film – the pleated ivory cocktail dress Monroe wore in the 1955 film The Seven Year Itch. Monroe is wearing it while standing on a New York subway ventilation grate; the dress rises up around her as a train passes below ground. Photographs of this scene have become synonymous with Monroe herself. The iconic dress, which was later purchased by actress Debbie Reynolds, was sold for $5,600,000 (USD) during a 2011 auction. Monroe once wrote to Travilla, “Billy Dear, please dress me forever. I love you, Marilyn.”


Travilla died at the age of 70 on November 2, 1990 in Los Angeles, CA. of lung cancer.




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