The dress Kim Kardashian wore to the 2022 Met Gala
The infamous before-and-after photos
'Missing crystals, and some left hanging by a thread'
It belonged to Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn's iconic performance
The 'Happy Birthday, Mr. President' dress
Who made Marilyn Monroe's dress?
A scandalous look
An alleged affair with the president
The birthday party
'Happy Birthday, Mr. President...'
She died that summer
Monroe and Kennedy in our imagination
We remember The Dress
Collector's item
Worth millions
Iconic jewelry
And then... Kim Kardashian wore it
The original dress
Fashion conservators in shock
A delicate fabric
Made for Marilyn
Kardashian insisted on wearing the original
How did Kim Kardashian fit into the dress?
Leave the zipper open
Was she careful enough with Marilyn's dress?
Once damaged, always damaged
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It's damaged: Marilyn Monroe's famous dress on Kim Kardashian's hips
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The dress Kim Kardashian wore to the 2022 Met Gala

It was a rare, vintage dress, and it didn't sustain Kim Kardashian's walk down the red carpet. A month after she surprisingly wore a famous, authentic dress from Marilyn Monroe at the 2022 Met Gala, images of the garment - before and after the party - are upsetting both Marilyn Monroe aficionados and fashion experts.

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The infamous before-and-after photos

Specialists of Marilyn Monroe's life and artifacts made pictures of her dress in the 'Ripley's Believe It Or Not' exhibition after the 2022 Met Gala. They compared the images to photos and videos they had taken of the garment on an earlier date, "with crystals perfectly aligned," as they emphasized on their @marilynmonroecollection Instagram account.

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'Missing crystals, and some left hanging by a thread'

"Just in case you missed it. Missing crystals, and some left hanging by a thread." The account, run by collector Scott Fortner, who's known for his film and publications about Marilyn Monroe, did not conceal its indignation. "Was it worth it?" he asked Ripley's. The rhetorical question and shocking photos went viral in the following days.

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It belonged to Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe, an iconic star who mysteriously passed away at the young age of 36, has remained a legend in Hollywood history. And so has everything she touched while she was still alive. In this case, we are talking about her most famous outfit: the 'Happy Birthday, Mr. President' gown.

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Marilyn's iconic performance

This is the dress Marilyn Monroe wore, and this is the historic, cultural event many Americans will know or remember. Marilyn Monroe sang 'Happy Birthday' to President John F. Kennedy in 1962, wearing a tight-fitting, skin-colored gown.

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The 'Happy Birthday, Mr. President' dress

The garment would go down in history as the 'Happy Birthday, Mr. President' dress.

(Photo: John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, White House, Public Domain)

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Who made Marilyn Monroe's dress?

The dress was made by the acclaimed designer Jean Louis with help from his aide, a young Bob Mackie. Its sheer fabric was dotted with more than 2,500 rhinestone beads. At the time, Marilyn Monroe paid $1,440 for the dress, CBS states.

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A scandalous look

To wear the neatly fitting dress, Marilyn Monroe reportedly had to be sewn into it, per Vanity Fair. Moreover, Vintage News adds, the actress wore nothing underneath the gown so that it would fit flawlessly. The dress was one of the most 'scandalous' in Hollywood history.

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An alleged affair with the president

Marilyn Monroe's song for Kennedy was controversial because it sparked rumors about an affair between the actress and the president. "The idea of their relationship still holds its grip on many Americans’ imaginations," Time magazine argues.

 

(Image, L-R: Robert Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe and John F. Kennedy at the afterparty of JFK's 45th birthday celebrations at Madison Square Garden. Cecil W. Stoughton / White House, Public Domain)

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The birthday party

In fact, Monroe's biographers say, the actress and the president had been meeting in secret. The last of those meetings had happened only two months before she sang at his birthday party. Here's a ticket to the event on May 19, 1962 in New York City's Madison Square Garden.

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'Happy Birthday, Mr. President...'

Rumors of their relationship were never confirmed, but viewers were struck by the sensuality of Monroe's dress and her breathy voice as she sang 'Happy Birthday' on the stage that day.

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She died that summer

Marilyn Monroe would die barely three months after the famous performance. She was found lifeless in her home in August, 1962. The actress' death happened under mysterious circumstances, which only added to her status as a Hollywood legend, media like Time and People magazine confirm.

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Monroe and Kennedy in our imagination

Stories about Marilyn Monroe and John F. Kennedy - who also died a shocking death, a year after the actress - have always continued to circulate. They were the subject of plays, films, and musicals.

(Image: Laura Parfitt Garrie Davislim play Marilyn Monroe and John F. Kennedy in the opera 'Happy Birthday, Mr. President' in 2013)

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We remember The Dress

As Marilyn Monroe became a Hollywood icon, so did her dress. Here's actress Heather Thomas wearing a replica of the famous Jean Louis model for the limited tv-series 'Hoover Vs. The Kennedys: The Second Civil War' in 1987.

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Collector's item

And how about the actual garment? After becoming legendary with Marilyn Monroe's spicy performance, it became much more expensive than the $1,440 she had paid for it. In 1999, the dress was auctioned for $1.3 million to business mogul Martin Zweig, BBC reports.

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Worth millions

In 2016, the Florida-based 'attraction company' Ripley's Believe It Or Not purchased the iconic dress for $4.8 million. The LA Times estimates that the dress is currently worth even more: about $10 million.

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Iconic jewelry

Besides Marilyn's dress, the earrings she chose for the famous party are also collector's items. The actress had worn them for the first time when she sang 'Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend' in the film 'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.'

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And then... Kim Kardashian wore it

Businesswoman and reality star Kim Kardashian, known from the show 'Keeping up with the Kardashians' arrived at the 2022 Met Gala wearing Marilyn Monroe's dress. By her side, her proud boyfriend, Pete Davidson.

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The original dress

Most remarkable about it all was that Kardashian wore the original item - not a replica - on the red carpet. This particular garment had only been worn once before: by Marilyn Monroe on President Kennedy's birthday party. Kardashian had borrowed it from Ripley's.

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Fashion conservators in shock

Conservators told the LA Times they were shocked about the use of a 60-year-old museum piece at a celebrity party. They said it was a historic item. It belonged behind glass, under protective circumstances.

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A delicate fabric

The gown "is made of a delicate fabric called souffle," they told the LA Times. "It’s stretchy and resilient when it’s new, but becomes weaker and more brittle with age."

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Made for Marilyn

When Marilyn put on the dress, in 1962, the material was still in perfect shape. But 60 years later, it was not fit to be worn by anyone. "Putting it on a human body will damage it, no matter how careful you are," the experts told the LA Times.

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Kardashian insisted on wearing the original

Kim Kardashian wanted to wear Marilyn Monroe's iconic dress to the Met because she thought it was "the most American thing you can think of" for the gala's celebration of American design. And she only wanted to wear the original, the celebrity millionaire told Vogue. "It was this or nothing."

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How did Kim Kardashian fit into the dress?

Marilyn Monroe and Kim Kardashian do not have the same figure. In order to fit into Monroe's original dress, Kardashian had to lose 16 pounds in 3 weeks, she admitted to Vogue.

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Leave the zipper open

Even then, she was unable to pull the zipper of Monroe's dress all the way up. Kardashian's aides had to "tie the back of the dress," Metro reports, "and cover the rearview [the gap left by the open zipper] with a white fur shawl." For that reason, on the red carpet, she held a white stole that never moved from its place.

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Was she careful enough with Marilyn's dress?

Kim Kardashian wore no body makeup and changed into a replica of the dress (image) after her walk down the red carpet. However, according to the experts in the LA Times, that doesn't matter.

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Once damaged, always damaged

The damage to Marilyn Monroe's iconic 'Happy Birthday, Mr. President' gown had probably already been done. They said: "If you wear something, there’s stress and strain. Once it’s damaged it’s always damaged. You can’t go back."

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