Kim Kardashian is a sucker for a Met Gala surprise, so it’s no surprise that rumors of her dramatic metamorphosis into Marilyn Monroe circulated 48 hours before the Met Gala event. The major unveiling tonight, as expected, was nothing short of spectacular.
It was after the gala in September of last year that Kim Kardashian had the idea. According to Kim, she thought what she would have done for the American theme if it hadn’t been the Balenciaga look. “What is the most American thing that comes to mind? “That’s Marilyn Monroe,” Kardashian adds.
The garment, based on a concept by Bob Mackie for Jean-Louis, a French-born Hollywood costume designer, caused a stir when Marilyn wore it to serenade President John F Kennedy on his 45th birthday in 1962. As she rips off her white fur coat to unveil the shimmering translucent appearance studded with over 6,000 crystals, the audience gasps in the brief film footage of her performance. “Nowadays, everyone wears sheer gowns,” Kardashian says. She adds “It’s the original bare clothing in some ways.” It was shocking because of this.”
Monroe allegedly paid $1,440 for the handcrafted sculpture, which was previously auctioned for over a million dollars in a Christie’s estate sale in 1999. After selling for a remarkable $4.8 million in 2016 at Julien’s Auctions, it was later purchased by Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Museum. It remains the most costly gown ever auctioned. The multi-million dollar dress has rarely been detached from its muslin-covered dress form, let alone worn by anybody other than Monroe. Kardashian was asked to try on a facsimile before Ripley’s agreed to give her the piece. It was ideal. The original gown was soon on its way to Kardashian’s house in Calabasas by private plane from Orlando, Florida. Nonetheless, the second fitting did not go as planned. She tells Vogue “when it didn’t fit me I wanted to cry because it can’t be altered at all.”
Just few months until the gala, Kim had two options: slim down to fit into the dress or locate another outfit. According to her only one viable choice existed in her thoughts. “This or nothing,”. Kardashian would stick to a strict diet over the next few weeks in order to achieve her objective. “I’d wear a sauna suit twice a day, run on the treadmill, eliminate all sweets and carbs, and eat only the cleanest vegetables and protein,” she tells Vogue. “I didn’t go hungry, but I was quite strict.” She arrived at the Ripley’s vaults in Orlando a month later for the final fitting. The outfit fit like a glove this time.
Kardashian only wore the original gown for a few seconds. She wasn’t about to take any chances with the delicate nature and historical significance of the gown. In fact, her entire dressing process resembles a high-tech military operation. First, she left her hotel in a robe, with barricades placed up outside to keep any waiting paparazzi at bay. She then went to a separate fitting room near the Met Gala steps. In white gloves, a Ripley’s conservationist was waiting to assist her.
The “Happy Birthday, Mr President” gown wasn’t the only Monroe knockoff Kardashian had for the evening. It was just one of three options that was available. It’s unknown which of the other two, if any, will be viewed by the rest of the world. “I have a copy of the dress she wore to the Oscars in 1962,” Kardashian proudly declares of Monroe’s magnificent green sequin gown designed by Norman Norell. “I’m thinking of wearing that to my hotel room to eat pizza.”