Related | Break the Internet: Kim Kardashian
As we all know, the Skims mogul is no stranger to making at splash at fashion's biggest night, showing up in everything from a very wet-looking custom Mugler dress to a meme-worthy all-black Balenciaga outfit. But for this year's "Gilded Glamour" prompt, Kardashian surprised onlookers by donning the dress Marilyn Monroe wore during her iconic performance of "Happy Birthday, Mr. President" for John F. Kennedy.
For those of you who aren't familiar with one of the screen legend's most famed moments, Monroe notoriously took the stage for an incredibly sultry performance of the tune to celebrate the former president's 45th birthday at a New York Democratic Party fundraiser in May 1962. The headline making event was a huge shocker at the time, as the sex symbol took off her white fur coat mid-performance to reveal the skin-tight, flesh-colored Jean Louis dress, which was a custom look featuring thousands of crystals that cost a reported $1,440 for at the time.
“Nowadays everyone wears sheer dresses, but back then that was not the case,” Kardashian told Vogue prior to wearing the dress on the red carpet. “In a sense, it’s the original naked dress. That’s why it was so shocking.”
The dress — which was purchased for $4.8 million at Julien's Auctions in 2016 — still holds the record for being the most expensive dress sold at auction, where it was acquired by Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Museum. But how did she manage to get her hands on one of the world's most valuable dresses? Well, it turns out that Kardashian already owns "several JFK pieces," meaning she knows the owner of Julien’s, who was able to connect her with the museum.
While the "Gilded Glamour" theme technically refers to Gilded Age New York between 1870 and 1890, the underlying concept is "really reflect the evolution of American style, but they also explore the work of individual tailors, dress-makers, and designers," per Vogue. So according to the star, the idea came to her after last year's Gala, during which she thought, "'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," Kardashian explained. "For me the most Marilyn Monroe moment is when she sang 'Happy Birthday,' to JFK, it was that look.”
Granted, it was a long process getting to this point, as she had to undergo a strict diet in order to fit into it and only it wore it for a few minutes during an extremely careful walk down the red carpet with beau Pete Davidson. However, she's apparently since switched into a replica of the delicate original dress, seeing as how she knows "what it means to American history" and "would never want to sit in it or eat in it or have any risk of any damage to it." Which, honestly, is a pretty smart move.
Photo via Getty / Jamie McCarthy
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