Some are singing its praises as a historic moment, while others have turned up their noses in disapproval after Kim Kardashian graced this year’s Met Gala red carpet in none other than Marilyn Monroe’s breathtaking 1962 gown.
Yes – that gown, the ‘original’ naked dress adorned with thousands of crystals in which Monroe iconically sang “Happy Birthday Mr President” to John. F Kennedy at Madison Square Garden not long before she died.
The praise singers are relishing in an icon wearing an icon’s beloved 5 million dollar garment, flirting with the idea that Kardashian is the 21st century’s Monroe. However, those looking down on the old Hollywood glamour inspiration aren’t convinced that Kardashian is this century’s Marilyn – despite her concentrated efforts to look the part.
And Kardashian certainly put in the work to emulate the look, a long way away from her floral debut at the Met Gala just a few years ago, and the all-black conspiracy set-piece that had everyone talking about Balenciaga last year.
Not only did she lose between 14-15 pounds (almost 7 kilograms) to fit into the number, but she also bleached her hair for roughly 14 hours as per her conversation with Vogue.
Kardashian became inspired to wear the gown after considering alternatives for last year’s Met theme ‘In America: An Anthology of Fashion’. When this year’s theme was designated as Gilded Glamour, most of the star-scattered guests took this as an opportunity to live out their Bridgerton dress-up fantasies. For Kardashian, it was the perfect chance to pay an ode to the girl of all glamour – Marilyn.
The original Jean-Louis dress is rumoured to have been purchased by Monroe for $1440, but its value, which is now raking in millions, comes not only from its first wearer but also from its place in history: the moment she serenaded JFK. As any Monroe or Kennedy conspiracist would tell you, the dress is a priceless slice of American history.
Kardashian didn’t actually wear the original for more than a few minutes given its delicacy and historic relevance (it is after all, usually kept in a vault in the Ripley’s Believe It or Not museum). She slipped into a replica of the gown shortly after walking the red carpet – one of a few she has that are Marilyn Monroe inspired.
Whether or not Kardashian can be aptly compared to Monroe is a conversation that Twitter Feeds, critics, and TikTok fashion police will no doubt continue to eat up. However, no matter how anyone feels about Kardashian, her dominance over the 21st century’s fascinations continues to prevail, not unlike the world’s fascination with Monroe that perseveres to this day. Netflix for one has recently released yet another documentary regarding the star – The Mystery of Marilyn Monroe: The Unheard Tapes.
Maybe it’s Kardashian’s concept of getting your ‘a** up and working hard’ as she famously said in ‘advising’ working women, or perhaps it’s her unapologetic boldness that amplifies every fascination that surrounds her. Beyond the ‘why’ factor, Kardashian continues to ensure that she’ll go down as one of the most talked-about women in history – a road she isn’t trying to find the turnoff from any time soon.
Picture: John Shearer / Getty Images