Marlene Dietrich is considered one of the most important German film stars of the last century. Her smoky voice, provocative men's suits and aloof charisma were her trademarks. The BikiniARTmuseum in Bad Rappenau, in cooperation with the Gedenkhalle Oberhausen and with the support of the Marlene Dietrich Collection Berlin of the Deutsche Kinemathek, offers an insight into Marlene Dietrich's life through the travelling exhibition "Marlene Dietrich, the Diva. Her Attitude. And the Nazis" from 8 October 2021 to 31 January 2022 will provide intimate insights into the eventful life of the film icon. The crowning glory of the exhibition is an original bikini worn by her and rare photographs that reveal for the first time the acting legend's connection to swimwear.
Marilyn Monroe, Esther Williams or Brigitte Bardot: in the BikiniARTmuseum, the 1st International Museum of Swimwear and Bathing Culture, the great importance of swimwear for legendary icons of film and fashion history is intensively illuminated and exemplified by original exhibits from the possessions of the film stars. However, pieces from the estate of Marlene Dietrich, arguably the greatest German actress of the last century, have so far been missing from the pool of glamorous one and two-piece suits. In addition to a deep dive into Dietrich's biography, which documents her rejection of the National Socialists as well as her relationship to Germany by means of numerous documents, photos, press articles and film material, the touring exhibition is complemented by an exclusive bikini owned by the "blue angel". In addition, a preserved correspondence between the film diva and an admirer from the GDR creates an unusually close and private picture of the diva.
Marlene Dietrich and her original 1938 bikini
Marlene Dietrich's status as a brilliant fashion icon remains untouched almost 30 years after her death. She is regarded as a polarising power woman who stirred the emotions as an androgynous garçonne and took the world's breath away in a swan robe. But Dietrich in a bikini? A rarity! Only very rarely did the iconic actress appear in private while swimming or bathing. For the first time, the Swimwear Museum is presenting this image of Marlene, which is otherwise not so much in the spotlight, in a special way with a size 36 "Malz Hollywood" bikini from her estate. She wore the two-piece on a ship on the Côte d'Azur in 1938, as evidenced by a preserved original photograph from the Marlene Dietrich Collection Berlin.
Marlene's penfriendship with Horst Miegel on Usedom
Other exclusive exhibits allow visitors to get up close and personal with the inner life of the iconic actress: Horst Miegel, father-in-law of BikiniARTmuseum curator Jürgen Kraft, wrote letters from the GDR to the Paris-based film diva as a Dietrich admirer in the early 1980s. Moved by his descriptions, she immediately replied to the Usedom resident and sent him autographed objects from her collection. A very personal pen friendship developed, whose extraordinary correspondence can be seen with originals in the special exhibition, thus shaking the stereotypical image of the cool diva a little.