Kim Kardashian Only Wore Marilyn Monroe's Dress Up Met Gala Stairs Before Changing Into a Replica

The iconic Marilyn Monroe gown is so fragile it has to be stored in a temperature controlled vault and is typically handled with gloves

Kim Kardashian's Marilyn Monroe Met Gala moment was a marathon to pull off. And it almost didn't happen!

Before Kardashian, 41, tried on the original Jean Louis-designed gown, which Monroe wore for her sultry "Happy Birthday, Mr. President" serenade to John F. Kennedy in New York City just months before her death in 1962, she tried on a replica for size which fit perfectly. Then, the real thing was flown via private plane from Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum in Orlando, Florida, to Kardashian's California home — and it didn't fit.

"The dress was transported by guards and I had to wear gloves to try it on," she told Vogue of the experience. "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."

Enter her crash diet. (Kardashian said on the Met Gala red carpet that she lost 16 lbs in three weeks to fit into the gown.)

Former actress Marilyn Monroe's iconic "Happy Birthday Mr. President" dress is viewed during a press preview at MANA Contemporary Museum in Jersey City, New Jersey on September 22, 2016. - Julien's Auctions is offering the sequined dress for auction in Los Angeles on November 17, 2016. (Photo by KENA BETANCUR / AFP) (Photo by KENA BETANCUR/AFP via Getty Images)
John Shearer/Getty; KENA BETANCUR/getty

"I would wear a sauna suit twice a day, run on the treadmill, completely cut out all sugar and all carbs, and just eat the cleanest veggies and protein," she told Vogue of her strict workout routine. "I didn't starve myself, but I was so strict."

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 02: Kim Kardashian attends The 2022 Met Gala Celebrating "In America: An Anthology of Fashion" at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 02, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by John Shearer/Getty Images)
Kim Kardashian. John Shearer/Getty

Then, at the final fitting, the dress fit perfectly. "I wanted to cry tears of joy when it went up," she said.

Then came Met Monday, and Kardashian only actually wore the original dress for a matter of minutes — just for the photos of her and boyfriend Pete Davidson on the iconic Met steps.

MET Gala Kim and Pete
Kim Kardashian and Pete Davidson at the 2022 Met Gala. Matt Baron/Shutterstock

According to Vogue, she arrived to a small fitting room by the Met Gala steps that was set up just for her, where there was a conservationist from Ripley's waiting "to assist her in white gloves."

"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," Kardashian told Vogue. "Everything had to be specifically timed and I had to practice walking up the stairs."

She then changed into a replica of the dress also owned by Ripley's once she mastered the steps with help from Davidson.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Cecil Stoughton/AP/Shutterstock (9290356b) Provided by the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, actress Marilyn Monroe wears the iconic gown that she wore while singing "Happy Birthday" to President John F. Kennedy at Madison Square Garden, during a reception in New York City. Standing next to Monroe is Steve Smith, President Kennedy's brother-in-law. Julien's Auctions will offer Monroe's gown at auction in Los Angeles on Nov. 17, 2016 Marilyn Dress Auction, New York, USA - 19 May 1962
Marilyn Monroe in the dress. Cecil Stoughton/AP/Shutterstock

In 2016, the dress sold for $4.8 million at Julien's Auctions and was later acquired by Ripley's Believe It Or Not Museum. It's the most expensive dress ever sold at auction.

"I'm a big fan of auctions and I own several JFK pieces so I know the owner of Julien's. He was able to connect me [with Ripley's] and that's how the conversation started," Kardashian said in the interview of how the relationship started.

Kardashian also shared her gratitude for the moment on Instagram.

"Thank you Ripley's Believe It or Not! for giving me the opportunity to debut this evocative piece of fashion history for the first time since the late Marilyn Monroe wore it. I am forever grateful for this moment. ✨🕊," she wrote.

She even spent "14 hours" dyeing her hair blonde to complete her transformation.

Of the lasting impact of the look, she added, "Nowadays everyone wears sheer dresses, but back then that was not the case. In a sense, it's the original naked dress. That's why it was so shocking."

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