What would Marilyn Monroe have made of it? One of the most filmed and photographed women of the last century, Monroe has sprung back to life on the digital screen thanks to Kendall Jenner, who bobbed her hair, lip-synchs her way through a few famous songs and vamps for the camera in a short film for Love magazine.
A film and images of Jenner as Monroe are dropping onto the magazine’s website this week, part of a series of shorts that editor Katie Grand is using as a creative outlet and a strategy to ensure eyeballs return regularly to the site in the months between Love’s twice-yearly issues.
The idea began with Love’s annual Advent calendar, a series of videos in the run-up to Christmas. Women including Jenner, Rita Ora, Ireland Baldwin, Kim Kardashian, Ashley Graham and Georgia May Jagger took part in the 2016 edition.
Grand quickly realized that films are not just for Christmas, and continued to broadcast the bite-sized productions into 2017. The Valentine’s Day film of a scantily dressed Chrissy Teigen lip-synching John Legend’s “Ordinary People” has been the most-watched with 33 million views so far, and 11 million on Grand’s personal Instagram.
In the Marilyn one, Jenner doesn’t take anything literally: Her hair remains inky black, her body not particularly curvy, her La Perla lingerie skimpy and sheer – a stark contrast to the hefty, pointy bras that Monroe was known for.
By contrast, Jenner adopts the full red lips, pearls and sex-kitten poses, working them into the lively video where she mouths the words from “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend,” and Monroe’s breathy line from “The Seven Year Itch” — “When it gets hot like this, you know what I do? I keep my undies in the icebox.”
Grand said Jenner and Monroe made a good match. “We had been talking about icons — the ultimate icons — and Kendall said she really wanted to do something as a character. I said ‘It’s got to be Marilyn.’”
The film was shot and directed by Rankin, with Grand serving as fashion editor, Lisa Eldridge doing makeup and Samantha Hillerby hair.
Grand said she wants to do a unique film every week, and is already planning two for the long Easter weekend (one with Adriana Lima as a bunny). She’s also working with Irina Shayk and Alessandra Ambrosio on future shorts.
Jenner has long been a multitasker at the magazine: In addition to appearing in a number of past videos and shoots, she also shot the 72-page #LoveMe17 story in the Mojave Desert, with actresses including Sienna Miller, Gwendoline Christie, Hailee Steinfeld and Kaia Gerber.
That issue, published earlier this year, offered the first preview of Burberry’s February 2017 collection, inspired by the British artist and sculptor Henry Moore. The pieces appeared on five of the issue’s eight covers, with all models shot by Jenner.
For the fall/winter 2017-18 issue, Love’s partner will be Tiffany & Co., in this case, a magazine’s best friend.