The internet is all abuzz after Kim Kardashian donned Marilyn Monroe’s iconic “Happy Birthday” dress that befittingly represented this year’s Met Gala theme, In America: An Anthology of Fashion.
In honor of this historic moment in fashion history, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! — who provided the gown — filled Kim’s dressing room with a collection of Marilyn Monroe and John F. Kennedy memorabilia to help inspire her look and channel her inner Marilyn.
Keep scrolling for an exclusive peek at all the pieces of Americana assembled inside the dressing room.
Marilyn Monroe’s Makeup Case
Marilyn Monroe’s cosmetics case contains gold tubes of eyeliners, lipsticks, and lotions — everything she needed to create her iconic come-hither look that eventually became her trademark. She took the classic 1950s makeup style of simple shadow, black liner, and bold lips to new heights.
Marilyn Monroe’s Lip Print on Tissue
Marilyn Monroe sealed her last public performance with a kiss. Before she hit the stage at Madison Square Garden in 1962 to sing “Happy Birthday” to President John F. Kennedy, Robert Champion, New York City hairstylist to the stars, refreshed her Marilyn’s lipstick and then blotted with a tissue, imprinting her lips forever.
Lock of Marilyn Monroe’s Hair
It’s no doubt that one of Marilyn’s most defining physical feature was her bombshell platinum-blonde hair. Pictured here are a few of Marilyn’s uniquely thin, platinum-toned hair strands displayed on black velvet in a beautiful wood-carved floral-embossed frame with faux engraving label “Marilyn Monroe” affixed to the front.
Ticket to President John F. Kennedy’s Birthday Gala
This is an invitation ticket for President Kennedy’s Birthday Party on May 19, 1962, at Madison Square Garden. This “Gala All Star Show” was sponsored by the State and National Democratic Committees and Citizens for Kennedy. According to newspaper and film accounts of the evening, this event was attended by over 15,000 guests including Vice President Lyndon Johnson, New York Mayor Wagner, and members of the Kennedy family.
Sleep Art Portraits
These drawings of Marilyn Monroe were created by Welsh-Australian artist Lee Hadwin, who is only able to draw in his sleep! Hadwin has created nearly 200 pencil sketches, including these two pieces.
Believe It or Not!, Hadwin draws while sleepwalking, applying his art to whatever surfaces are available, including walls, tablecloths, furniture, and newspapers. The following morning, he has no recollection of what he has done, and when awake displays no artistic talent whatsoever!
Bob Mackie Sketch of the Dress
This sketch of the “Happy Birthday” dress was drawn by famed fashion designer Bob Mackie in his first job out of college. This is one of several original drawings that showed Marilyn in the nearly nude gown.
JFK Birthday Celebration Poster
This poster advertised President Kennedy’s birthday extravaganza held at Madison Square Garden on May 19, 1962. Tickets cost between $10 and $100 — or around $95 to $950 in today’s money! The high price tag is no surprise considering the star-studded list of performers, including Ella Fitzgerald, Judy Garland, and, of course, Marilyn Monroe.
Cardigan and Signed Photo
This hand-knit oversized cardigan is the exact same sweater Monroe wore on a beach in Santa Monica during a photoshoot with George Barris on July 13, 1962.
The framed photo to the right of the sweater is signed by Barris, and the text on the lower margin reads “Marilyn, ‘The Warm Up,’ 1962.” It is one of the last photos of her ever taken before she passed away just weeks later.
Rare Photos of Marilyn Monroe at the Birthday Gala
A group of five color photographs of Marilyn Monroe taken on May 19, 1962, at the birthday gala for President John F. Kennedy at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Three of these images show Monroe singing “Happy Birthday” on stage and are likely the only known color photos taken of Monroe during this performance. From the collection of Frieda Hull.
Photo Album of Kennedy’s 45th Birthday Celebration
This leather-bound photograph album contains candid photos of President Kennedy’s 45th birthday celebration on May 19, 1962, at Madison Square Garden. The fundraising gala was attended by some of the biggest names in entertainment. There are 23 photos inside the album, including some of the many performances.
Marilyn Monroe’s Stole and Feather Cloche
Marilyn wore this fashionable evening stole on numerous occasions. It is made from the fur of a Siberian silver fox and was worth about $10,000 in the early ’60s. Today, it would now cost nearly $100,000!
Pictured above with the stole, Marilyn frequently wore stylish scarves, caps, and hats of various styles to accessorize and protect her iconic platinum locks. Dating from the late 1950s, this cloche is made of 100% wool and features ostrich feathers!
Marilyn Monroe Dress
Lastly, the glittering star of the collection is the Marilyn Monroe “Happy Birthday” dress itself, which was previously worn at the JFK Gala for her last public performance nearly 60 years ago. When Marilyn stepped up to the microphone and dropped her fur coat to reveal the jeweled skintight gown, the entire audience was caught in a beguiling moment that would live on forever.
See It All in Person!
This collection, including the dress, will be on display at Ripley’s Believe It or Not! in Hollywood beginning Memorial Day weekend.
This article was amended May 9, 2022, to reflect the discrepancies surrounding the authenticity of Marilyn Monroe’s hair.