High security for Canadian debut of Marilyn Monroe dress

The Canadian Press
Tuesday July 11, 2017
Written by The Canadian Press
LUSELAND, Sask. — The most expensive, and arguably iconic, dress in the world made its Canadian public debut Monday at the community hall in Luseland, Sask.

Marilyn Monroe wore the skin-tight, bejewelled Jean Louis dress when she cooed a sultry “Happy birthday, Mr. President…” to John F. Kennedy for his 45th birthday in 1962.

She died less than three months later.

The dress was purchased for US$4.8 million last November by businessman Jim Pattison for his Ripley's Entertainment division, making it the most expensive dress purchased, according to Guinness World Records.

Pattison, who is originally from Luseland, is the CEO of the Jim Pattison Group, Canada's second-largest privately held company.

Edward Meyer, vice-president of exhibits and archives at Ripley's Entertainment, said the seven minutes of bidding he engaged in for the dress was “very exciting.”

“When the bids are going up by half a million dollars, if you pause for 30 seconds, you're already a million back,” he told CTV News from Orlando, Fla. “You have to be able to act and react fast. It's not until two or three days later it sinks in that, `Oh my gosh we just spent $4.8 million.’”

The gown is adorned with 6,000 hand-sewn rhinestones and 2,500 crystals.

Meyer said what grabbed the interest of Ripley's was the historical importance of the dress.

“It's the association with JFK. It's the 1960s. It's the whole big picture, not just Marilyn,” Meyer explained. “It's also her last big public event before her suicide/death.”

Transporting the dress to the small Saskatchewan town was frantic and scary, according to Meyer, who said the artifact has been surrounded by security guards since its arrival in Luseland.

Meyer said the case alone — which is bullet-proof and has GPS tracking — costs more than some other Ripley's exhibits.

Monroe's dress will be taken to Saskatoon later this week, then will tour British Columbia before visiting various Ripley's centres.

News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc. 2017

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