The Italian movie star changed the way audiences saw and purchased fashion. Monica Vitti was the first actor who wore off the rack clothes. Grace Kelly and Sophia Loren wore costumes that cost thousands of dollars in their movies, and were just as expensively outfitted at public events. Monica Vitti wore the clothes available to the public and refused to endorse any line or designer, reasoning that the public would appreciate somebody who dressed within their means. When her movie L'Avventura was released, Monica Vitti became an overnight star.
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Carnaby Street Vixen
Monica Vitti happily adopted the psychedelic culture outside her screen roles, but on-screen she was committed to sensual stories that emphasized random tragedy and ecological ruin. The colors and the lollipop styles were fine for parties and soirees, but the movie had to say something and give even a mild warning about the dangerous or toxic ways society functioned.
Vitti often had local tailors or seamstresses make clothes that fit her loosely but stylishly. This white jacket comes from Goa. She looked for items outside the Milan standard, and helped to bring a global sensibility to European fashion in the 60s.
These nudes re-create the first movie star who was comfortable with nudity and the novel sexuality of the early 60s. "Eisenhower is dead and so is deGaulle, and the sex we had in private is now public," she said at Cannes in 1963. "Movie stars have always had glamorous lives, and sex has always been part of that glamour, even if everyone is too frightened to admit it."
Vitti's hairdos were constant fodder for exclamation and adulation. She never bothered to straighten her hair, either in public or on the movie set. She kept combs and brushes at arm's length, and refused to be pampered during a shoot: "This is me, I just rolled out of bed, that's real life, and I go to the hairdresser once a month, like everyone else, so why fake it with a hair stylist every day?"
Publicity photos in the 60s began to appear more realistic, and Vitti was one of the first who insisted on stark black-and-whites for her shots. The creamy and dreamy softness of Marilyn Monroe's heyday was replaced with an edgier look to suit the New Wave. "Real life leaves you bruised and scarred," said Vitti, "And I don't want to look like a cartoon from Disney."