Marilyn Monroe

2016 is over and we are welcoming 2017 with the hope that it will be a good one.

My memory brings me back to mid-80’s when I was offered to work on a new film
The Christmas Eve with Loretta Young.

Loretta was a Hollywood legend and the fashion icon who by that time did not work for 20 years. When my producer called me, he asked whether I would not mind if Jean Louis would come to our fittings. I was in shock! Of course, I would love to meet him! He was a famous designer who dressed so many stars. Jean Louis was in his 80’s at that time and he was an old friend of Loretta’s. He designed the gowns for Loretta Young’s legendary entrances in 52 episodes of her Loretta Young Show that ran on NBC from 1953 till 1961. Many women were so intrigued with the clothes he designed for Miss Young that they tuned in to the show mainly to see what she was wearing.


 The fittings would start in the morning and finish by late afternoon in Loretta’s house. The Hollywood gossips that was I remember most, are stories from all those fittings.
I want to share one of them with you.

Jean Louis was working on the last Marilyn Monroe film Misfits. When he first came to meet Miss Monroe in her house, the housekeeper asked him to wait in the living room. She was on the phone with John Kennedy. After about 40 minutes, she finished her conversation, and entered the living room in a fur coat and nothing else! Seeing his surprised expression she told him, “You are the designer, so you have to see me!”  Jean Louis said, “Well, well, we will have a lot of hats in this movie!” Later, he made the famous  “beads and skin” dress for her breathless rendition of “Happy Birthday” to President John Kennedy in Madison Square Garden in 1962.
He had to have Miss Monroe sewn into the dress, which gave a new meaning to the term “form fitting.”



The new film Jackie with Natalie Portman is getting good reviews. I have not had a chance to see it yet but I watched the trailer and have seen some ads. To my big surprise, on the ads I saw a pink Chanel suit that I made in 1995 for Roma Downey (she played Jackie) for the mini series  A Woman Named Jackie!


The reason why I recognized that it is that very suit is somewhat curious. The mini series covered the period of over 30 years, starting with the Bouvier family and finishing with her marriage to Onassis. The Kennedy’s assassination was a relatively small part in that film and I did not want to spend a lot of money on the costume for that scene, especially as I needed three identical suits for the bloody action. We spent quite a bit of money on many gowns. As for that suit, I asked  a tailor that usually did uniforms for us to build it.
So, his forte definitely was not in couture. I looked at the suit’s shoulders and jokingly asked if he used the same pattern as he’s been using for uniforms. I was not thrilled with the cut of the suit!
Well, 20 years later I see it on Natalie Portman! In fact, I think the alteration was not made well: the buttons are not straight, the shoulders are too big.
What is your opinion?

A Woman Named Jackie

Watching the media frenzy during recent elections, my memories drifted back to 1990 when I was working on a highly anticipated  mini series

“A Woman Named Jackie”. It was based on a controversial best seller by C.David Heymann, a Jacqueline Kennedy’s unauthorized biography.
The book was the first one to address numerous affairs of John Kennedy,
including his affair with Marilyn Monroe.
Jacquie, who was still alive at that time, made efforts to stop the production, but NBC would not back down.
I got caught in the middle of the power struggle when I asked the producers to let me see the Smithsonian collection of the First Lady’s inaugural gowns. I had to duplicate the Jacqueline Kennedy’s inaugural  gown for the film.
The production organized the meeting. I flew to Washington and arrived
at the Smithsonian. They asked me to wait for 15 minutes, then an hour, then 2 hours… At the end I left without seeing the gowns. Later I learned that Jacqueline was on the board of directors and did everything she could to stop any cooperation with the production. I had to copy the dress from photographs.
For “A Women Named Jackie” I received an Emmy nomination and a compliment from Karl Lagerfeld.  It turned out to be one of the most watched miniseries at that time!


Venice, Italy

Italy is probably the only country that I am never tired of visiting. On my last trip there we started in Venice for a few days. It was the beginning of May and the weather changed every day so my umbrella was very handy. Venice is one of the few cities in the world that can be described as unique. It survives against all the odds, built on the series of low mud banks amid the tidal waters of the Adriatic and regularly subject to floods. Once a powerful force in the Mediterranean, Venice has found a new role. Her palazzi have become shops, hotels and apartments. Her warehouses have been transformed into museums and her convents have transformed into centers for art restoration. More than14 million visitors a year, for all this Venice has had a price to pay. Gondoliers are part of symbolism and mythology of Venice. Their intimate knowledge of the city’s waterways is passed down from father to son. The trip on one is part of the Venetian experience, it’s expensive too. Half an hour cost $80.


There is still a strong artesian tradition in Venice. You can buy famous Murano glass, masks made from papier-mâché and even pleated silks Invented by Fortuny. Many years ago I bought two velvet pillow cases and some Murano dancers in 18th century costumes, which I still enjoy looking at. Food in Venice is almost always Italian, and local restaurants serve local specialties. Try olives wrapped in anchovies, caper berries, sardines and white asparagus! Tiramisu (the name means “pick me up”) to die for! The region’s staples is Polenta, not pasta.

On this visit we took a walking tour and enjoyed small streets and very narrow alleyways, which is not so crowded with tourists. We visited local restaurants And I enjoyed my sardines, white asparagus (in season in May), and local artichokes, which are much bigger than we are used to in USA.

My favorite film about Venice is “Death in Venice” with costumes by Piero Tossi and director Visconti was always in front of my eyes when we were walking through all the very narrow streets. Of course Venice changed! Film takes place in the 1910.



The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 brought new prosperity; a new harbor was built ocean-going ships and Venice became a favorite embarkation point for rich Europeans traveling east. The fashion for sea-bathing and patronage by wealthy socialites reawakened interest in the city. The Lido, the Europe’s most stylish resort, still has bathing huts, designed for modesty, as you can see in the film “Death in Venice.” Many emigres enchanted by the magic of Venice lived there and San Michele,the cemetery isle GALATAS is the last resting place of eminent foreigners, such as Serge Diaghilev, Igor Stravinsky and Ezra Pound, and Joseph Brodsky. On this trip we were there to look at Brodsky Grave.

One thing I learned that Venetian doors are always made with one hinge because floors are rarely even and made from little stones. Some stones are semi-precious and covered with binding material. It’s very typical for all the Palazzi.

On my trip to Italy I had only a carry-on! Instead of packing my favorite outfits at random, I choose a color palette so I can mix and match pieces. I always bring neutral shawl for keeping warm and as a fashion statement. I do not bring heels to look good. Plus, heels take up a lot of unnecessary luggage space. Once I decided what items to pack, I take out the bulkiest and wear them to the airport- for me, it’s my pants and jacket. The key is-layering! It works wonders. I buy travel-sized toiletries. If my creams aren’t going to last, I can find something similar, especially in Italy.

At Komarov we have a good selection of tops for travel. They pack perfectly, and they are easy to wash in the sink. They my companion for all my trips.

Next time you are going on the trip try to pack your carry-on!


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Hello Summer!

Summer, the time for vacations, has finally arrived! Before you start contemplating plans for your next vacation, think about going just with a carry-on. That’s how I’ve been traveling for the last 10 years or so. Flying today is a headache by itself, but if you have to change planes for connecting flights, your chances of not getting your luggage at your final destination are quite good. That happened to me many times.

Today practically every airline will charge you for the checked-in luggage. A carry-on that may be allowed on a domestic flight may not be allowed on the international flights. So my suggestion is to invest in a good one that meets the international standards for the size and could be used for traveling to any destination. It’s should not be bigger then 20″.

Now on packing. I suggest to have a small collapsible rack. Put on the rack all the clothes you are planing to take with you. Ditto with shoes. Leave it alone for a day or two. When you return to it, take a hard look at all the choices and think what you really need on your trip. Start packing with shoes since they take more space then everything else.

If you are going to a beach destination – a focus of this post – it’s easy, you do not need a lot. Most places are very casual, flip-flops and sandals will suffice. Do not take heels, especially very high heels, in most places it will be difficult to walk in them and in some places they will actually look quite strange. If your beach destination is in Europe, pack a pair of water shoes as in Europe many beaches are rocky. I always take with me two swimming suits, to have a backup is something happens, and one cover up. Try to have a cover up that will go with both of your swim suits.

As for the summer dress, the light one that can be easily packed is a good choice. At Komarov we have a big selection. Our dresses can be easily packed and you can wear them even with flip flops. Today you can find even the evening versions of flip-flops. And, of course, a hat is always in my bag. Now you can find some that you can fold for easy packing.

With all I’ve said, every time I come home from my trips, I find some clothes that I could’ve left home, and I travel with 20″ carry on! So, be very selective, don’t overload your bags. The less you carry, the easier will be your trip!




Special appearance at Nordstrom in Honolulu

On April 23rd I had a special appearance at Nordstrom in Honolulu.
It became a great success! Of course the Komarov dress is a great product for the wedding capital of the world. We were staying at Kahala resort which is very popular for weddings.
Typically, the wedding receptions would start early there, even at 10 a.m. and would follow one after another, sometimes 2 or 3 a day. A beautiful beach, nice food, gorgeous weather – what more would one want on that special day?!


I watched different wedding themes, but two were the most memorable.
The first one started at 10 am. The bridesmaids wore short coral dresses, the groom wore a burgundy jacket, the guests were dressed quite casually, and the bride came in a very pretty white gown with some pink ombré and a lot of stones! Well, that was a little bit too much! At the 10 am beach wedding reception I would rather see a simpler dress! One thing that certainly comes to mind: the simpler is the approach, the better.

The other wedding was quite different. Instead of  bridesmaids there were 6 groom best men, all dressed in white linen trousers and blue linen shirts. The groom wore the same linen pants and shirt but he added a vest; the bride wore a simple but very pretty white dress. I thought the whole wedding party was very elegant and appropriate. One of the guest was wearing our long chiffon dress. I really liked the way the whole reception looked. It was picture perfect. I think it’s very important that you take the event setting into a serious consideration. What may look good  in the ballroom would not be appropriate at the beach.

Our dresses at Komarov are very appropriate for those kind of weddings. Good luck and happy




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Planning a big event like a wedding?

Planning a big event like a wedding? Think about a very important detail: shoes!

Why shoes? Wedding is a long lasting affair. Many times we pick shoes that look like the best fit for the dress, only to discover later that they are not comfortable. How many times I’ve heard “These shoes are  killing me!”

My advice: pick two pairs. One in which you will greet your guests and seat at the ceremony, and another one which you can change to for dinner and dancing.

If your wedding is on grass, think about shoes or sandals that are appropriate for the occasion; if it is on a sand, sometimes flip-flops are the best!

Try your dress with both pairs. You do not want to trip or fall because your dress is too long. With some of the today’s dresses to shorten them is a big deal. An alteration can cost as much as the dress.

At Komarov we think about such things! All our dresses can be shorten very easily and inexpensively. Here are a few of my favorite dresses for a garden or for a beach wedding.


Long dresses are in vogue today!

Pick up the shawl! Most of our dresses come with shawls but even if not, we have shawls with many different colors available on our website, and a matching clutch!

Shawl will protect you not only from breeze but from mosquitos too. Remember, mosquitos and sand fleas will crush the party at dusk, especially if it is a beach event.


Have a great time!


Spring Wedding

Spring is the time for weddings. Many times when I am at Nordstrom on my Personal Appearances, I keep hearing the same question: What colors are appropriate for my daughter’s or son’s wedding? Should I have to use the same colors as the wedding party?Absolutely not! You should not clash with the colors of the wedding party, and you should not clash with your daughter in-law if she wants you to wear a particular color, even if this is not your favorite one. The rule of thumb: wear something that would not make you the focus of the party. This is the day of the bride! At Komarov we have a great selection of outfits for this occasion.

For destination weddings Komarov outfits are the best! They do not wrinkle, you can stuff them in the carry-on bags, you can wash them in a sink if you spilled something.  As for a big wedding dresses, think carefully how you are going to transport it. It can be a problem sometimes. I heard a horror story that a bride flying to the wedding destination could not fit the dress in the overhead compartment and the airline did not have any storage to put the dress! Well, today, when airlines try to utilize every single space, it can be a problem. Do you have to purchase a separate ticket for the dress?

Good luck and have a beautiful wedding!




Oscars 2016

February is the Oscars time. Members of Academy are required to visit screenings and annual Guilds Awards celebrations.

This year  the Costume Designers Guild Awards  ceremony was on February 23rd at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

The 2016 Career Achievement Award we gave to Ellen Mirojnick and the Lacoste Spotlight Award to Cate Blanchett.

Quentin Tarantino  received the Distinguished Collaborator Award.

The winner in the Fantasy Film category went to Jenny Beaven for Mad Max: Fury Road, and in the Period Film category to Paco Delgado for The Danish Girl.

The latter was my favorite nominee for the Oscar, but the Oscar went To Jenny Beaven.

The Costume Designers Guild Awards  ceremony was the black tie event and I was very happy surprised to find 3 guests wearing Komarov dresses!

Looking at the fashion on the Oscar night, I have to admit that all the leading ladies looked good. My favorite was Cate Blanchett’s dress by Armani and Alicia Vikander’s yellow number. Cate dress was very romantic and perfect for her complexion. The yellow dress  was very interesting, in the color that is rarely used. Brie Larson’s pleated blue dress by Gucci  was not among my favorites.

In the past the dress parade at Oscar ceremonies produced so much anticipation, it was a competition of famous Hollywood designers. Today the Oscar ceremony is controlled by product placements of Big Fashion Houses and the element of surprise is completely lost!

All the leading ladies now work with stylists who are completely influenced by Fashion Houses that try to place their products for publicity on the biggest night. The time when a star would hire her favorite designer to create a unique dress is gone.

 I remember the time when Gina Davis designed her own dress, a hideous one, I have to admit, but it was fun! Everybody discussed that. What is now to discuss?  Who is better, Gucci or Dior?

Well, they all are good, made with good taste! But your self- expression is lost.

Looks like we have to wait when the product placement trend will be replaced by something else. What I learned over the years is that nothing lasts forever, so let’s wait!







While working with Loretta Young on the film “Lady in the corner”, where she was portraying the famous editor of the Vogue magazine,

I made an extensive research . One of the things that struck me was the amount of jewelries Deana Vreeland was wearing. Of course, that was her famous signature look.

In the 80s we liked to wear chunky jewelry, those heavy bangles, and a lot of them. I have to confess, I loved them! Today though, they often become a source of inconvenience rather than fun, especially when you have to take them off while going through the airport security. I could put together a good collection from some of my bangles that I left at security check at many airports.

During my travels I always admired French women who would wear very little amount of jewelries but always with some elegant scarf. Lately scarfs became my own staples. I think a shawl or a scarf are the most useful accessories .You can use them in many different situations. You can cover your arms if you are in a sleeveless dress for any reason, whether it is because you are cold or just because you don’t like the way your arms look. It even may be helpful to cover your bulging stomach after a heavy dinner.

Scarf can give a spark to any outfit. At Komarov we have a big selection of scarves and shawls  in many colors . Take a look! We even have a video showing what can you do with a scarf and a shawl. Watch, it, try it!

Shelley Komarov