I am so so so excited to bring you this footage and photographs, of Marilyn Monroe’s famous dress she wore to sing Happy Birthday to President JFK at his birthday gala in 1962. It was owned by a private collector until it sold last year at auction to Ripley’s Believe It or Not! for a record-breaking $4.8 million.
As a Marilyn fan, this piece meant a lot to me. While her famous white dress from The Seven Year Itch would be cool to see (the 2nd most expensive dress, having sold for $4.6m), the reason I love this one is because it has so much of Marilyn’s hand in it, from first sketch to the way she hid the dress under a white fur until just the right moment of reveal. She commissioned the dress herself, and asked for “a dress only Marilyn Monroe could wear” – she knew that only she could get away with wearing this dress, and that this was her moment.
This wasn’t a costume she was wearing for a movie character, it was the armor she chose in the midst of one of the most intensely dramatic times in American history. It really puts you into Marilyn’s mind to consider the dress from that perspective.
Click play on the video to see footage of the truly stunning historic dress, & my interview with Suzanne Smagala-Potts, Public Relations Director for Ripley’s, who shares so much information!
If you want to see the dress yourself, you may be in luck! It’s on a world tour to different Ripley’s locations. They keep the next locations secret for security reasons, so follow their social media and website to see where it’s going next. https://www.instagram.com/ripleysbelieveitornot/
Though it looks like one piece, this dress is made from over 200 separate panels of French Souffle Silk. It was actually sewn on to Marilyn’s body shortly before she went on stage, a process which made her late for her curtain call a couple of times.
Click through for more closeups of the dress!