Who wouldn't want to be Marilyn Monroe, swathed in glamor and sex appeal as seemingly weightless as Hollywood's most sensual screen goddess?
From Jane Mansfield to Madonna to Lindsay Lohan;
From Anna Nicole-Smith to Paris Hilton to Rihanna, the number of stars imitating Monroe is legion.
But the look also seems too easily imitated not to capitalize on adoption.
But platinum blonde, red lips and an hourglass figure don't make Marilyn.
Not even a tactile relic of those enraptured in the Olympus of pop culture is able to transmit their unique diva magic.
The glittering wisp of nothingness of rhinestone embroidered skin-tight gauze: stunning as Marilyn breathed "Happy birthday, Mister President" into it in 1962;
Gasping as Kim Kardashian walked out at the Met Gala wearing it.
The queen of contemporary self-promotional entrepreneurship had managed to borrow Monroe's Jean Louis-designed dress from Orlando's Believe It or Not Museum, which it fetched at Julien's Auctions in Los Angeles in 2016 for a good $4.8 million gross - when most expensive dress ever auctioned by a private individual.
This fits the theme of the Met Gala, which paid homage to the self-made gilders of the past with "Gilded Glamour".
But for American textile curators like Sarah Scaturro of the Cleveland Museum of Art, who previously headed the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan, it's about more than money.
Scaturro and a colleague in the "Los Angeles Times" are outraged that at the fundraising gala for the costume department of the Metropolitan Museum of all things, an iron rule of museum collecting was broken: historical clothing that is culturally preserved for posterity is no longer worn .
What good does it do Kim Kardashian to have starved herself by 15 pounds in three weeks — which has garnered criticism from health advocates — to get her famous gown sewn on ahead of the gala?
And that after the photo session she switched to a replica for the reception?
The bad role model could set a precedent.
After six decades, the delicate fabric of the original is decidedly more fragile than the figure-shaping underwear marketed by the secondary wearer.
Amazingly, the reality star looked more like the latter than costume and cultural history.
After all, Kardashian waived Marilyn's curls, but not a trace of their vulnerable eroticism, instead statuesque trophy presentation.
Note: clothes make the man - but not legends.Keywords: