Monday, March 3, 2008

The Idol and the Replica

”MarilynHow funny and sad it is to come upon the original and the reproduction, the inspired and the aspiring, to spot a déjà vu! When idols take their place in the pantheon, mere mortals can only aspire to get some of the fairydust, with a whiff of something fragrant atop.
Lindsay Lohan recently posed as Marilyn Monroe, replicating the series of photographs code-named "The Last Sitting" (1962) by Bert Stern, for the New York magazine. "Last Sitting", because six weeks after she had posed, Marilyn was found dead due to -apparently- a barbiturate overdose which remains a mystery to this day. We hope that won't be the case with Lohan, although who can bet their neck on it?
Reportedly Hugh Hefner was so impressed with Lindsay Lohan showing it all as Marilyn that he wants her to do the same for Playboy.

We won't be mean and won't wish her good luck in the replica career. After all, a short perusal of the photos in question, especially contrasted with the original ones {click here to compare}, proves that apart from the ample bosom, miss Lohan, sun-damaged skin and all, is a poor substitute for the intrisically feminine guiles of Marilyn, but perhaps she is too young, too reckless and might grow to learn.

However olfactorily speaking, this gave me pause for thought. Thoughts run to the fragrance profile of the two women.

Marilyn immortalised her signature scent when she replied to what she wears in bed to a cheeky reporter : "A few drops of Chanel No.5". But that wan't all. What is less well-known is that she also enjoyed Joy by Jean Patou and the tuberose daredavil Fracas by Piguet. That leads me to believe that she consciously designated an erotic role to No.5, obviously the drops hinting at the extrait de parfum; a role that is manifested through No.5's marriage of aphrodisiac ylang-ylang and warm musk with the spike of soapy-waxy notes sizzling throughout. This shows both calculation as well as consiousness of the role of perfume as amunition in the seduction stakes. This is the stuff of dreams.

”LindsayLohan is famous for her fondness of Child perfume oil, buying five bottles at a time, a cult favourite by Apothia made of pikake essence and little else. Blogdorf Goodman does quite a decent job of delineating its history here.
It's ironic that Lohan won't be able to immortalise this fragrance, despite the name that firs her behaviour, because it has already gained notoriety thanks to Jennie Garth who uttered the famous line "it drives men gaga". Plus all the 20somethings in Hollywood are known for wearing it as you can see in Perfume Shrine's celebrity perfume list. Lohan also wears Coquette Tropique, another favourite white floral fragrance worn by numerous other starlets as well. So her chances of making a particular fragrance be forever associated with her are dim and left to the future. She can at least hope.

Like many things in modern life, there is something forced and coerced about the whole affair which detracts from the intimacy and tension that accounts for the stuff of legend. A fabrication instead of spontaneity and a fad rather than a choice for a reason.
Like New York Magazine succinctly notes:
"In the first session, Stern persuaded the entourage of stylists to leave him alone with Monroe. The shoot thus took on the symbolic (if not the actual) contours of a liaison. The rise of the celebrity industrial complex has rendered this sort of tense pas de deux all but impossible. At the Lohan shoot, the crowd included Lohan’s manager, her security guard, and her younger sister, Ali; a makeup artist and assistant, a hairstylist and assistant, a stylist, a manicurist, a sentry to watch the borrowed diamonds; Stern, his manager, and two photo assistants. Lohan and Stern worked in an adjoining room, while the rest of us hovered outside like groupies at a backstage entrance".

Perhaps for something to gain the credence that only the patina of time can give one needs to wait several years. Even almost a few Saros cycles in some cases...

Pic of NY Cover courtesy of celebitiot. Pic of Marilyn Monroe originally uploaded on POL.


  1. Anonymous10:43

    Don't you think that Lohan looks very tired and so much older than Marilyn? I don't like that picture at all.

  2. Sadly I do...
    And fancy that: she's not even 22, when Marilyn was 36 at the time!

  3. Lordy.
    Makes me dreadfully sad.

  4. She's only 22??? The photos certainly aren't kind to her face, though her breasts get some respect. I'm with Chaya--somehow the whole exercise is kinda sad.

  5. Oh, and I meant to say, the contrast between perfume choices is poignant, too. From no. 5 and Joy to Child--that's a long way to fall.

  6. Yes, dear I, I kinda felt sad too.
    And it's not like I don't feel for the girl.
    After all, she was entangled into this so young...and not a little "coaxed" by her family.

  7. M,
    I know it's hard to believe it, but I did check it: she will be 22 actually in June this year!
    The breasts are good, though :-)

    And regarding the perfume choices? That was exactly my point. I knew you'd get it.

  8. I have heard before that Lindsay Lohan wishes to emulate Marilyn Monroe, but I suspect it is more affected ego on her part than an actual resemblance. Talent and taste are somewhat dissimilar between the two, I personally think.

  9. I couldn't have said it better if I tried, Dain.

    I think Marilyn had a vulnerability about her that accounted for much of her attractiveness: deep down, one wanted to take her in his/her arms and pat her head a bit.

  10. Anonymous00:33

    LL is a sad pathetic child. Wearing a blond wig does NOT make her Marilyn. No comparison, IMO. Her skin is wrecked, and I disagree about the breasts, I think they, like her face, are old and hagard-looking. Yuck.

  11. Anonymous00:53

    I can only second everybody else's opinion. You got it just right about Marilyn's vulnerability. There's also so much emotion and 'realness' in her expression, whereas Lindsay's just seems to be a blank stare. Most evident in pic # 4, horrible. Looking older now at 22 that M. did at 36, it pains me to think what she might look like at that age.

  12. Anon,

    I would be willing to cut her some slack; but if she goes and poses on purpose, well, she will garner some criticism.
    Still, she has pretty features and if she cleans up her act...

  13. Dear Sabina,

    indeed there is emotion behind Marilyn's expression, which is the stark contrast to this newer set of pictures. It's a pity: she used to be such a cute girl!

  14. I think that Jane Mainsfield based her "career" on something like a MM replica. But she did not end well in the end.

  15. Dear Octavian,

    at least LL shares her "attributes" with JM! Let's hope she doesn't die au volant as well...

  16. Ivoire21:43

    I know it's been a long time since this post (very good, BTW) and the comments were posted, but I just have to point out the all-too-neglected fact that this photo shoot was NOT LL's idea: it was Bert Stern's idea.
    And yes, you could say, why did she agree to do it?
    Then again, why not?
    Is it really so unforgivable for a girl of 22 to cave in when a famous (though not necessarily the best) photographer who once took MM's photos proposes to her a re-enactment of that legendary photo session?

    So, yes, it was a bad idea.
    But blame Stern - not her.

  17. Ivoire,

    touche, you do have a point! I guess I should have expected her not to capitulate to the desire to reproduce that set (I believe someone else might have resisted), but well, it wasn't her idea in the first place indeed. And she's too young.

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting!!


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