Kim Kardashian paid homage to one of the most iconic moments in American pop culture history at the 2022 Met Gala on Monday when she donned the same dress Marilyn Monroe famously wore to sing “Happy Birthday” to President John F. Kennedy in 1962. The dress, a flesh-colored, figure-hugging column gown inspired by a Bob Mackie sketch for costume designer Jean-Louis, is covered in rhinestones and caused a sensation when Monroe revealed it, seemingly nude, after shedding her white fur to sing a sultry rendition of “Happy Birthday” to JFK at Madison Square Garden in front of an audience of nearly 15,000.
For Kardashian, this iconic glittering look was perfect for fashion’s biggest night, especially since the gala’s theme this year was Gilded Glamour. “What’s the most American thing you can think of? And This’s Marilyn Monroe,” Kardashian said in an interview about the dress with Vogue. “For me, the most Marilyn Monroe moment is when she sang ‘Happy Birthday,’ to JFK, it was that look.”
The night’s theme was inspired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s 2022 Costume Institute exhibit, An Anthology of Fashion in America. Procuring Monroe’s original dress was no easy feat, however. To do it, Kardashian reached out to Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum in Orlando, who bought the dress in 2016 in a $4.8 million sale that still holds the record for being the most expensive dress ever sold at auction.
Kim Kardashian Attends The 2022 Met Gala
Taylor Hill—Getty Images
The dress was a valuable piece of history and therefore, there were many precautions. It was protected by gloves and guards as the gown traveled. It couldn’t be altered, so Kardashian said she lost 16 pounds to fit into it. To minimize any harm to her, Kardashian changed into the Met dress on the evening of the gala. She wore the original dress only for the traditional walk up the steps of the Met, then switched into a replica once she got there.
Kardashian’s selection of Monroe’s dress for the night was not only an homage, but a surprisingly apropos move, a moment of real recognize real. Monroe, who was a well-known photographer in her day, is still admired today. Kardashian’s brand of celebrity relies heavily on her image. The dress’s night out at the Met Gala was only fitting.
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