Fans flock for glimpse of multi-million dollar Monroe gown

By Colin McGarrigle
July 10, 2017 - 2:54pm Updated: July 10, 2017 - 9:28pm

Even 55 years after her death, the fame and popularity of Marilyn Monroe continues to live on for many, as thousands of people lined up outside the Luseland Community Hall to catch a glimpse of her iconic pieces of clothing.

The world’s most famous (and expensive) dress was unveiled today, July 10, in Luseland and fans from all over the region flocked to the small town to see and have their picture taken with one of the most famous pieces of Hollywood memorabilia.

Bought by Jim Pattision, a native of Luseland, for the Ripley’s Believe it or Not! group, for $4.8 million U.S., the gown has not been displayed in public in western Canada for over 40 years, until today.

Len Schlosser, mayor of Luseland, was the first in line to see the dress, and said he was thrilled to see the garment unveiled in his town, as well as the large turnout.

“I’m impressed with the number of people. It’s been very steady. It’s a great opportunity for people to see what our town has to offer,” he said.

As part of the event, Save-On-Foods (also owned by Pattison) provided burgers and hot dogs for those in attendance.

“This is part of our fundraising project for our new pool, so it’s great to see the support,” Schlosser said.

Even Darrell Jones, president of Save-On-Foods was on hand to lend his support for the event.

“The Marilyn Monroe dress was a celebration of President Kennedy’s birthday, and we also see it as a celebration of us coming to Saskatoon. And because this is Jimmy [Pattison's] hometown, we are thrilled to be here to help them raise money for their pool,” he said.

Those in attendance waited patiently in lines outside the hall to see the gown, and have their picture taken beside it. Many of those who attended came from far and wide for the opportunity.

Sherry Riess drove all the way from Strasbourg, SK to catch a glimpse of the famous gown, and couldn’t have imagined not seeing it.

“It’s a beautiful dress, it’s just amazing. I wouldn’t have missed it,” Riess said, adding she is a huge Monroe fan and had been anticipating the arrival for weeks.

The dress was originally and exclusively designed for Monroe by designer Jean Louis, and cost $12,000 in 1962. It then sold in 1999 for over $1.26 million. Julien’s Auction’s of California held a three-day auction in November 2016, where dozens of Monroe memorabilia went up for sale. The flesh-colored, sheer dress features over 2,500 crystals and 6,000 hand-sewn rhinestones. It was said to be so tight fitting at the time that Monroe had to be sewn into it on the day of the celebration. But besides the stunning design, it was the fact that Monroe wore absolutely nothing underneath the gown that left a lasting memory.

The gown will also be toured around to various Save-On Foods in western Canada in the next few weeks, starting with Saskatoon (July 14), Regina (July 16), Yorkton (July 18) and in Winnipeg (July 21-23).


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Editor's Note: The dress was purchased for $4.8 million, not $4.5 million as previously written in the story. It has since been corrected.

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