The sheer gown holds the record for being the most expensive dress ever sold at auction, and Ripley’s Believe It or Not allowed Kim to wear the $4.8 million piece after years of it being preserved in a darkened and temperature-controlled vault.
In fact, the dress is so valuable that Kim was only given permission to wear it for a “matter of minutes,” and she had to change into a replica immediately after leaving the red carpet.
The star’s look divided people at the time, with some arguing that it was “disrespectful” to the memory of Marilyn for Kim to wear it to the gala. Others claimed that the backlash against Kim was actually a reflection of deep-rooted misogyny.
As if her choice of dress wasn’t controversial enough, Kim also faced criticism for her “botched” platinum blonde hair, which was styled into a slick bun.
A hairstylist later broke down why Kim’s finished tresses looked so patchy and uneven, with it ultimately boiling down to her decision to go from brunette to bleach blonde in just one day.
Finally, Kim’s Met Gala look sparked further backlash after she revealed that she’d lost a significant amount of weight in just three weeks so that she could fit into Marilyn’s dress.
“I always thought she 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,” Kim explained to Vogue.
She said that she almost cried “tears of joy” when she was able to fit into the gown in time for the event after severely restricting her diet for almost a month.
Kim’s comments were branded “irresponsible” for “promoting extremely disordered eating” at the time, and many took to social media to call her out.
Actor Lili Reinhart was among the critics and wrote on her Instagram story: “So wrong. So fucked on 100s of levels. To openly admit to starving yourself for the sake of the Met Gala.”
“When you know very well that millions of young men and women are looking up to you and listening to your every word,” she continued. "To walk on a red carpet and do an interview where you say how starving you are ... because you haven't eaten carbs in the last month ... all to fit in a fucking dress?"
"The ignorance is other-worldly and disgusting. Please stop supporting these stupid, harmful celebrities whose entire image revolves around their bodies,” Lilli concluded.
But Kim has responded to the backlash in a new interview with the New York Times, where she likened her Met Gala diet to actors like Christian Bale and Renée Zellweger preparing for a movie role.
And with the one-of-a-kind dress not able to be altered in any way, Kim had no choice but to lose the weight if she wanted to wear it.
“To me it was like, ‘OK, Christian Bale can do it for a movie role and that is acceptable.’ Even Renée Zellweger gained weight for a role. It’s all the same to me,” Kim said. “I wasn’t saying, ‘Hey everyone, why don’t you go lose this weight in a short period of time?’”
“I didn’t do anything unhealthy,” she added.
Kim also said that she “simply couldn’t have gone” to the Met if she wasn’t able to reach her target to wear the dress.
“Which wouldn’t have mattered,” she continued. “It was just important to me to reach that goal.”
Kim’s insistence that she only lost the weight for the one-time event was seemingly proven when she ditched her diet the second the gala ended.
In fact, as soon as she returned to her hotel room she showed off the donuts and pizza waiting for her on her Instagram story.
“I’m starving,” she told followers, before sharing her excitement to tuck into the food now that her time in the dress was over.
Elsewhere in the interview, Kim reiterated that her physical appearance is “work” as she confessed that it’s not necessarily easy or natural for her to look as amazing as she does.
“So many people want to act like they don’t care about how they look,” she shared. “I’m not acting like it comes easier or it’s all natural. You just don’t wake up and use whatever. You wake up, you use ingredients. The P.R.P. facials, stem cell facials, lasers — all of that is work.”
And despite the fierce criticism that Kim faced at the time, her new movie role analogy appears to have shifted some people’s opinion on the Met Gala situation.
Responding to a tweet about Kim’s comments, one person wrote: “She's on the right in this one. All the people saying that Christian Bale lost weight for work while she did for a single night doesn't realise that her job is being a socialite; dressing pretty in fancy parties like the Met Gala is a part of her job.”
Another wrote: “It's also the same thing when JLo went on the no carbs no sugar diet. Or a male actor going on an extreme diet and workout regimen to be super lean for sexy movie scenes. It's also no different than a bride losing weight to fit in her wedding dress for her big day.”
“It's literally nobody's business if she wants to lose weight for whatever reason. As long as it's for a certain goal and she feels comfortable with such a diet, who cares,” someone else said.
But some pointed out that while Kim losing the weight could be justified as her playing her role, she was irresponsible to share her extreme weight loss methods in the interview.
“Losing weight is not the problem… the problem is to make an interview saying that you didn’t eat to fit the dress… this can literally influence people to think that if they develop an ED they will fit any clothes they want,” one person tweeted.
Someone else agreed: “Nobody’s being influenced by Christian Bale to lose weight whereas loads of young girls watch Kim’s every movement to copy her so when she’s showing off how much weight she lost to fit into a dress, young girls are gonna see that and think it’s ok to do so - it’s not hard to get.”
Others acknowledged that both stars’ weight loss was equally problematic, but pointed out the double standards in the differing reactions to Kim and Christian.
“It's unhealthy either way, but I feel like people are definitely reacting way more negatively to her,” one tweeted.
“The point is why was everyone quiet when Christian Bale did it and praised him for having ‘dedication’ to his work but they were all mad when Kim did it??? Double standards,” someone else said.
One thing that everybody can definitely agree on is that Kim certainly knows how to get people talking.