Kim Kardashian is facing backlash after photos of alleged damage to the iconic Marilyn Monroe gown she wore to the Met Gala on May 2 surfaced.
Kardashian agreed to wear the gold ‘Happy Birthday” dress, which is valued at nearly $5 million, to the star-studded fashion event as part of a deal with Ripley’s Believe It or Not. The decision sparked controversy, initially due to Kardashian’s comments about losing weight for the event. Professional conservators at the time also spoke out, stating that wearing any clothing item with so much history, regardless of the reason or the person, was unwise. “I’m frustrated because it sets back what is considered professional treatment for historic costume,” one conservator told the Los Angeles Times. Times.
Now, a Marilyn Monroe collector is taking aim at Kardashian and Ripley’s, posting photos of the dress before and after the Met Gala that appear to show stress to the fabric and missing crystals.
“Without question, the damage is significant,” the Scott Fortner Marilyn Monroe Collection said on Instagram on Monday.
The new photos and videos of the dress were taken at Ripley’s Hollywood, where the dress is currently housed, by creative director Chad Michael Christian Morrisette, who has a history of assisting in the archiving of the dress. Morrisette wrote on Instagram on Tuesday, “This dress is a piece of my life and my heart. To see what @kimkardashian did in the damaging of it is heartbreaking,” she wrote, adding the hashtags #nationaltreasure, #howdareyou, #ego, #greed, and #thief.
The Marilyn Monroe Collection accompanied its posts about the dress with a number of quotes about the decision to let Kardashian wear it, including one from Amanda Joiner, Ripley Entertainment’s vice president of licensing and publishing.
“The dress was never with Kim alone. It was always with a Ripley’s representative. We always ensured that at any time we felt that the dress was in danger of ripping or we felt uncomfortable about anything, we always had the ability to be able to say we not were going to continue with this,” Joiner said in a statement to the Daily Beast.
Others shared their thoughts on Twitter and Instagram, with many agreeing that the damage was obvious and unfortunate.
“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.”
“They really let her ruin a historical artifact for an underwhelming look that wasn’t even on-theme,” another wrote.
Originally designed by Bob Mackie and created by Jean Louis as a dress “that only Marilyn Monroe could wear,” no one has worn the sheer gown since Monroe performed “Happy Birthday” for then-President John F. Kennedy a few months before her death in 1963. Monroe had to be sewn into the dress at the time, and Kardashian echoed that sentiment on the Met Gala red carpet, where she said she lost 16 pounds in three weeks to make it fit. She changed into a replica of the dress after walking the red carpet.
In May, Mackie spoke out against the decision, telling Entertainment Weekly that he “thought it was a big mistake” for Kardashian to wear the gown.
“[Marilyn] was a goddess,” Mackie went on to say. “A crazy goddess, but a goddess. She was just fabulous. Nobody photographs like that. And it was done for her. It was designed for her. Nobody else should be seen in that dress.”