That dress. The front view.
The skin tight flesh coloured dress worn by Marilyn Monroe as she sang “Happy Birthday Mr. President” to JFK is to be displayed at the Newbridge Silverware Museum of Style Icons in Ireland before being sold by Julien’s Auctions on November 17. The custom made Jean Louis creation was so tight fitting that Marilyn had to be sewn into it at the last moment. It will be displayed on the mannequin designed to match her body measurement.
On Saturday, May 19, 1962, at a Democratic fundraiser and early 45th birthday celebration, President John F. Kennedy took his seat in Madison Square Garden at what was to become one of the most iconic moments in entertainment and political history. In front of 15,000 guests, many of them celebrities, actor Peter Lawford made an introduction that would change the course of pop culture and Presidential folklore forever. Under a bright spotlight Marilyn Monroe walked on stage and peeled away her white ermine fur coat, revealing the sheer dress that sparkled with over 2,500 handstitched crystals. Her intimate tone and projection of the words Mr. President stunned the audience. Jacqueline Kennedy was not present. The song lasted just 30 seconds. Sadly this was one of Marilyn’s last public appearances and the last time they met. She died three months later, the president was assassinated the following year.
The rear view.
Prior to the auction, the “Happy Birthday Mr. President” dress will go on tour. It is to be shown at MANA Contemporary in New Jersey as part of the Exhibition “Marilyn: Character Not Image” followed by the Newbridge Silverware Museum of Style Icons (MOSI) in Kildare, Ireland from October 29 to November 6 before making its way back to the Julien’s Auctions Gallery in Los Angeles.
The catalogue cover for the sale show’s Marilyn wearing the dress on stage. Courtesy Julien’s Auctions
“We have had remarkable opportunities to offer unique objects related to Marilyn Monroe in the past,” said Martin Nolan, Executive Director of Julien’s Auctions. “To be part of the continued interest and excitement around this legend is always thrilling. This dress, this story, this momentous occasion represents a defining moment in history. This auction will remind the world why Marilyn Monroe remains an icon.”
Three days of live and online auctions from the life and career of Marilyn Monroe and the collection of Lee Strasberg will kick off at Julien’s on November 17.
(See post on antiquesandartireland.com for June 2, 2010)