Two iconic American women have made history in the exact same dress. Kim Kardashian just wore the same dress Marilyn Monroe wore when she sang ‘happy birthday’ to John F. Kennedy. Monroe first wore the dress in New York on May 19, 1962. Now almost 60 years later to the day, Kim Kardashian debuted the same dress in the same city, at the 2022 Met Gala.
Rumors began swirling on social media 48 hours before the Met Gala. This past weekend, Kim Kardashian and her boyfriend, comedian Pete Davidson were spotted at Ripley’s Believe It or Not in Orlando, Florida. Fans were quick to point out that Ripley’s was the proud owner of Marilyn Monroe’s ‘Happy Birthday Mr. President‘ dress, which was purchased by the museum at a 2016 auction for nearly $4.8 million—making it one of the most expensive dresses in history.
Rumors were additionally fueled by comments Kardashian made earlier in the month: “It really depends if I fit into my dress, so I hope I’m going. I think it will be up to the last minute because it can’t be tailored, so I have to fit into it like exactly.” This sparked rumors not only because of the history of the dress, but also because Marilyn Monroe herself famously had to be sewn into it.
The rumors have proven to be true. On the evening of May 2, 2022, Kim Kardashian showed up at the Met Gala wearing Marilyn Monroe’s iconic dress. She completed the look with a platinum blonde up-do and fur coat.
Kim Kardashian revealed to Vogue that the idea to wear this dress came to her last fall. “The idea really came to me after the gala in September last year. I thought to myself, what would I have done for the American theme if it had not been the Balenciaga look? What’s the most American thing you can think of? And that’s Marilyn Monroe.” She added that the most ‘Marilyn Monroe moment’ was “when she sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to JFK.”
In recent years, Marilyn Monroe’s famous dress has remained in a darkened vault that is temperature-controlled at 68 degrees Fahrenheit with 40-50% humidity. No one ever thought that it would be worn by another human being until Kim Kardashian inquired about it.
Many steps had to be taken before Ripley’s agreed to loan Kim Kardashian their Marilyn dress. She was first invited to try on a replica dress for size, which fit Kardashian perfectly. The next step was flying the dress from Orlando, Florida to Kim’s house in Calabasas, California. However, this second fitting didn’t go exactly as planned. As Kim later explained: “The dress was transported by guards and I had to wear gloves to try it on. 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.”
After this fitting, there were only two options left for Kim Kardashian – either slim down or wear something else. In the following weeks, Kim Kardashian adhered to a strict diet and exercise regimen to ensure the next time she tried Marilyn’s dress on, it fit. And fit it certainly did. The final time Kim tried Marilyn’s dress on in Orlando, it “fit like a glove.”
Despite all this prep, everything is not always as it seems. Although Kim Kardashian made history in Marilyn Monroe’s dress, the reality is that she only wore the dress for a matter of minutes. She left her hotel room wearing something different. She arrived at the Gala where she was led to a small fitting room located near the Met’s steps to get changed into the original dress.
She had to practice walking up the stairs to ensure nothing would rip or tear on the original dress. Once she made it up the Met stairs in the original dress, she changed into a replica. While all of this was happening, there were Ripley’s museum attendants in white gloves to assist her with anything and everything.
We are certainly glad that Kim Kardashian respects priceless historical artifacts. She has been quoted saying, “I’m extremely respectful to the dress and what it means to American history. I would never want to sit in it or eat 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.”
More from us: 6 Common Misconceptions About Marilyn Monroe
Much like Marilyn Monroe, Kim Kardashian is arguably the biggest star in today’s world. And like Marilyn Monroe, Kim Kardashian has spent years in the limelight to cement her legacy as a sex symbol. It’s easy to see why Kim Kardashian wanted to do this iconic Marilyn Monroe dress justice. Either way, the dress has now made history…twice!