Kim Kardashian has been accused of inflicting “permanent damage” to the iconic Marilyn Monroe dress that the reality star sported at the Met Gala on May 2.
According to Variety, Kardashian struck a deal with Ripley’s Believe It or Not to wear the gold “Happy Birthday” dress, which has been valued at nearly $5 million, to the star-studded fashion event. The decision was met with pushback, initially because of Kardashian’s comments about losing weight for the event. Professional conservators at the time also spoke out, saying it was ill-advised to wear any clothing item with so much history, no matter the reason or the person.
“I’m frustrated because it sets back what is considered professional treatment for historic costume,” one conservator told the L.A. Times. Now, a Marilyn Monroe collector has claimed that “permanent damage” has been inflicted by the Kardashians star on the iconic dress Monroe wore to serenade John F Kennedy on his 45th birthday, shortly before the actor’s death. Sharing pictures of the dress before and after the Met Gala, the collector revealed the portion of the historic dress that seemingly shows stress to the fabric and missing crystals.
Per the report, the new photos and videos of the dress were taken by creative director Chad Michael Christian Morrisette, who has a history of assisting in the archiving of the dress, at Ripley’s Hollywood, where the dress is currently housed. “This dress is a piece of my life and my heart. To see what @kimkardashian did in the damaging of it is heartbreaking,” Morrisette wrote on Instagram Tuesday, adding the hashtags #nationaltreasure, #howdareyou, #ego, #greed and #thief.
Kardashian notably dropped 16 pounds ahead of the event in order to fit into the historic gown, and reportedly even changed into a replica once she got to the entrance of the party, as she was unable to move freely in the original. “I’m extremely respectful to the dress and what it means to American history,” she told Vogue ahead of the party. “I would never want to sit in it or eat in it or have any risk of any damage to it and I won’t be wearing the kind of body makeup I usually do,” Kardashian said at the time.
In the photos, posted to Instagram by Marilyun Monroe Collection on Monday, rips, stretches and substantial wear and tear can be seen on the dress, which also does seem to be missing some crystals with others “left hanging by a thread.” Kardashian also met with criticism and backlash on social media after the pictures of the iconic dress were revealed. “Marilyn was used all her life, she hardly had anything that was truly her own,” one Twitter user wrote. “This dress, it was hers. It was designed specifically and ONLY for her. Now it’s ruined.” Another user commented, “They really let her ruin a historical artifact for an underwhelming look that wasn’t even on-theme.”
Originally sketched by Bob Mackie and created by Jean Louis as a dress “that only Marilyn Monroe could wear,” no one other than Kardashian has worn the sheer dress since Monroe in 1963, when she performed “Happy Birthday” for then-President John F. Kennedy a few months before her death.