Kim Kardashian is always evolving her look — and in recent months, she’s taken plenty of inspiration from the late Marilyn Monroe. The reality, 41, and the Oscar winner, who died at the age of 36 in 1962, share one common connection: the two are both sex symbols of their respective eras. From her 2017 Halloween costume to this year’s Met Gala look and her recent Dolce & Gabbana campaign, we’ve rounded up Kim’s best ‘Marilyn’ moments right here.
Halloween 2017: Marilyn Monroe & Michael Jackson
Kim got her first taste emulating the Some Like It Hot legend in 2017 when she went dressed as Marilyn. The SKKN by Kim founder was a dead ringer with her curled blonde wig, red lip and sparkly strapless silver dress — a nod to Monroe’s 1962 “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” dress. Kim’s partner in crime was none other than sister Kourtney Kardashian, who went dressed as another late legend: Michael Jackson (notably, Kim dated Michael’s nephew TJ Jackson as a teen).
Michael Jackson & Madonna pic.twitter.com/RTxA90XfBC
— Kim Kardashian (@KimKardashian) October 29, 2017
Met Gala 2022: Marilyn’s 1962 dress
Kim had a “go big, or go home” level goal for the 2022 Met Gala: to wear Marilyn’s actual 1962 “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” dress, which was based on a sketch by Bob Mackie for the French costume designer Jean-Louis. The theme? In America: An Anthology of Fashion.
The gown in question was worn when Marilyn performed for the late John F. Kennedy at the Madison Square Garden in New York for his 45th birthday, which was in May 1962. The performance is significant as it was one of Marilyn’s final public appearances before her death just months later. The dress, made out of a skin-colored marquisette and adorned with 2,500 rhinestones, stirred a controversy at the time as Marilyn appeared nearly nude.
The item went on to become a piece of both pop culture and Hollywood history, and was acquired by the Ripley’s! Believe It Or Not group for over $4 million in 2016. The dress has since been on display at their Orlando museum, who agreed to loan the gown to Kim for the gala. “It was this or nothing,” Kim said to Vogue magazine in a piece published the day of the gala. The only problem? The dress didn’t quite fit during an initial fitting in Orlando and Kim was strictly told that the dress could not be altered. With just three weeks to go, she began the controversial process of losing 16 pounds to fit the garment.
“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…I didn’t starve myself, but I was so strict,” she said to the fashion publication. After a second fitting — which required the gown to be flown via private plane from Florida to her Calabasas home — it still didn’t zip up. “The dress was transported by guards and I had to wear gloves to try it on,” she said. “I always thought [Marilyn] 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.”
On the third try, however, the dress was a go. “I wanted to cry tears of joy when it went up,” she says. With ex-boyfriend Pete Davidson by her side, Kim carefully walked the steps of the museum — wearing the actual dress for just mere minutes before changing into a replica. She also opted to wear her hair in a sleek bun vs. recreating Marilyn’s signature curl.
Met Gala 2022: Marilyn’s Golden Globe Dress
Kim wore not just one, but two gowns of Marilyn Monroe’s for the Met Gala in 2022. After swapping out of the original “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” dress, the SKIMS CEO wore the Marilyn’s gorgeous 1962 Golden Globes Gown for the after party. The Norman Norell design was made out of a green sequin material, and once again fit the California native like a glove. The dress was once again on loan, this time by Dallas-based Heritage Auctions.
The year Marilyn wore the dress, she won the Golden Globe Henrietta Award for World Film Favorites. The statue itself happens to belong to Kim’s close friend (and Kardashian florist) Jeff Lethamwho happily loaned the trophy to the reality star for the evening.
“I saw this all as a sign the way that all of the stars aligned,” Kim wrote via Instagram alongside a carousel of photos. “It will forever be one of the greatest privileges of my life to be able to channel my inner Marilyn in this way, on such a special night,” she also said at the time.
Dolce & Gabbana’s ‘Ciao, Kim’ collaboration
Dolce & Gabbana went in a totally different direction for their Spring/Summer ’23 collection, calling it ‘Ciao, Kim’ in honor of the star: Kim Kardashian herself. The KKW Beauty founder once again channeled Marilyn for an ad campaign that featured a curated collection of archival pieces from the ’90s and 2000s, re-edited by Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana.
Outside of the runway show, the campaign was accompanied by a series of videos — one of which Kim was clearly dressed like the one and only Gentlemen Prefer Blondes star. The black-and-white clip opens with a blonde Kim, rocking a curly style just like Marilyn used to, in the back seat of a car. As paparazzi go wild trying to take her photo, she enjoys a moment of serenity with a box of pizza — taking a bite before exiting the vehicle. In a follow-up video, she is seen once again surrounded by photographers — this time on the street — as she licks a cone of gelato. In a moment of frustration, she then places the cone over one of the paparazzi’s lenses before walking away.
Milan Fashion Week 2022
In addition to channeling Marilyn at her D&G show during Milan Fashion Week, Kim also wore a Marilyn-inspired look while out and about in Milan that week. She once again rocked old Hollywood-style blonde hair, with voluminous locks that were swept to one side and styled in loose waves. She completed the look with a white mini dress, reminiscent of what we’ve seen Marilyn wear in her day. She also had a matching white coat hanging off her shoulders and white heels to complete the icy look.