Taking the “Gilded Glamour” theme literally, the 41-year-old socialite donned the same crystal-embellished column gown that Marilyn Monroe wore six decades ago when she sang “Happy Birthday” to President John F. Kennedy for his 45th birthday at Madison Square Garden.
Kim Kardashian borrows Marilyn Monroe’s Happy Birthday, Mr. President dress, which she wore to President John F. Kennedy’s 45th birthday party in 1962 (Credit: ABACA / INSTARimages)
The form-fitting gold gown, originally sketched by three-time Oscar-nominated costume designer Bob Mackie and made by costume designer Jean-Louis, is the most expensive dress ever sold at auction.
In 2016, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! set the Guinness World Records record after acquiring the iconic dress from Julien’s Auctions for $4.8 million. It costs over $5 million after auction fees.
“This is the most famous item of clothing in 20th-century culture. It has the significance of Marilyn, of JFK, of American politics,” said Vice President of Exhibits & Archives for Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Edward Meyer.
The iconic crystal-embellished dress was sketched by Bob Mackie and made by costume designer Jean-Louis (Credit: JOHN NACION / startraksphoto / Ripley’s)
Marilyn Monroe reportedly paid $1,440 for the custom gown she wore three months before her death.
It was first sold to fund manager Martin Zweig for $1.27 million in the 1999 Christie’s Auction titled “The Personal Property of Marilyn Monroe” before it was acquired by Ripley’s.
The famous gown has been on display at the Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum in Orlando, Florida, stored in a darkened vault at a controlled optimal temperature of 68 degrees with 40-50% humidity.
Marilyn Monroe’s iconic dress holds the Guinness World Records record for the most expensive dress ever sold at auction after it was acquired by Ripley’s for $4.8 million (Credit: Ripley Entertainment)
And for this year’s Met Gala, it was transported to Kim’s place in Calabasas via private plane and accompanied by guards.
“I’m a big fan of auctions, and I own several JFK pieces, so I know the owner of Julien’s. He was able to connect me [with Ripley’s], and that’s how the conversation started,” Kim Kardashian told Vogue.
“The dress was transported by guards, and I had to wear gloves to try it on,” she added.
The iconic Happy Birthday, Mr. President dress was transported to Kim Kardashian’s home in Calabasas from the Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum in Orlando, Florida (Credit: JOHN NACION / startraksphoto)
The delicate gown, which was hand-stitched with thousands of crystals, was reportedly so tight that Marilyn had to be sewn into the dress.
Kim admitted that getting into the gown wasn’t easy. “I always thought she was extremely curvy. I imagined I might be smaller in some places where she was bigger and bigger in places where she was smaller. So, when it didn’t fit me, I wanted to cry because it can’t be altered at all.”
Kim Kardashian had to lose 16 pounds in three weeks to fit in Marilyn Monroe’s famous gown in time for the Met Gala 2022 (Credit: ABACA / INSTARimages)
The mom-of-four had no choice but to slim down as she really wanted to wear the dress. She shed 16 pounds in three weeks to fit into the gown, saying, “It was such a challenge. It was like a [movie] role. I was determined to fit [into] it.”
The socialite explained, “I would wear a sauna suit twice a day, run on a treadmill, completely cut out all sugar and all carbs, and just eat the cleanest veggies and protein. I didn’t starve myself, but I was so strict.”
A month later, while inside Ripley’s vault for the final fitting, the dress fit her hourglass figure like a glove. “I wanted to cry tears of joy when it went up,” Kim said.
Kim Kardashian and Pete Davidson make their Met Gala debut as a couple on May 2, 2022 (Credit: JOHN NACION / startraksphoto)
A small fitting room was set up for Kim Kardashian at the Met gala Monday, equipped with a conservationist from Ripley’s to assist the media personality before her customary walk on the red carpet with her boyfriend Pete Davidson.
The SNL star wore a black Dior tuxedo suit with a white shirt and a slim black tie, finished with a pair of shiny dress shoes and matching sunglasses.
He was pictured assisting his girlfriend Kim, who channeled Marilyn Monroe’s full look, complete with a white fur stole.
Pete Davidson helps Kim Kardashian as she takes tiny steps on the Grand Staircase at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Credit: ABACA / INSTARimages)
Kim also dyed her hair blonde, which took 14 hours. Hairstylist Chris Appleton styled her new platinum locks into a sleek bun, while makeup artist Mario Dedivanovic gave her winged eyeliner, false eyelashes, and nude lip color.
“I didn’t want physical change, too, I thought I would wait and do it for this, so I’m spending a day straight dyeing my hair—14 hours straight! — to get it done.”
It took 14 hours for Kim Kardashian to achieve her Marilyn Monroe-inspired platinum blonde hair (Credit: ABACA / INSTARimages)
Considered a fashion artifact, Kim wore the original gown for just a few minutes.
After walking up the Grand Staircase at the Metropolitan Museum of Art with Pete Davidson, Kim changed into a replica provided by Ripley’s.
“I’m extremely respectful to the dress and what it means to American history. I would never want to sit in it or have any risk of any damage to it, and I won’t be wearing the kind of body makeup I usually do,” Kim told Vogue.
“Everything had to be specifically timed, and I had to practice walking up the stairs.”
Joined by her boyfriend Pete Davidson, Kim Kardashian changed into a replica dress after walking up the steps at the Met Gala (Credit: ABACA / INSTARimages)