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A collector of Marilyn Monroe's personal property and archives has released photos showing what appears to be damage to her iconic dress after it was worn at the Met Gala by Kim Kardashian. The dress was auctioned in 2016 for an incredible $5 million and is currently owned by Ripley's Believe It Or Not Museum, who loaned it to Kardashian.
Many predicted Kim Kardashian would look ridiculous when she donned Marilyn Monroe's iconic 1962 dress at this year's Met Gala. But instead of being praised for wearing such an iconic garment that had never been worn by anyone other than Monroe herself, many people applauded her choice to don it in honor of the actress herself.
Some may have applauded Kardashian's tribute to Monroe and her passionate supporters, others were worried it could damage one of America's most significant pieces of history. Historians and conservationists expressed concern about SKIMS founder bringing the iconic dress out of storage where it has been protected as a museum exhibit for years.
Ripley's Believe It or Not!, a Florida-based company that specializes in unusual items, loaned the dress to Kardashian. Before it was stored away in its temperature-controlled vault, it had been stored safely until then.
In 2016, the company auctioned off the dress for $4.8 million - setting a record for any piece of art at that time. It became their top-selling item and remains in their collection to this day.
On Sunday, the company's Instagram account shared new photos of a dress from its vault that had suffered serious damage after being worn to an event. The images demonstrate missing rhinestones, frayed fabric around hooks and stress on the shoulder straps - all signs that this garment had been exposed to intense activity.
It has also been discovered that the beading on the back of the dress is thinning and frayed. Furthermore, its hem has become ripped with missing beads and sequins.
On March 10, Monroe historian Scott Fortner posted a photo of the back of the dress on Instagram, which revealed how Kardashian's actions had irreparably damaged this beautiful and irreplaceable piece. He shared these photos with USA TODAY for comparison's sake.
On Sunday, Fortner posted a video of the dress on his Instagram account in which he showed an up-close view that revealed some rhinestones had fallen off and some jewels were hanging from thread. These photos were published six years after the initial auction and more than one month after Kardashian's controversial Met Gala appearance.
Kim Kardashian proved her devotion to luxury when she donned a historic Marilyn Monroe gown designed specifically for the Met Gala carpet. Kim was granted permission by Ripley Entertainment, owner of this iconic piece, to borrow it.
This stunning gown, covered in 6,000 hand-sewn crystals, is one of the most renowned fashion pieces ever created. It was custom-made for Monroe to celebrate President John F. Kennedy's birthday and sing "Happy Birthday, Mr. President" during a 1962 event.
But when she donned the dress on the red carpet, historians and curators expressed grave concern that its delicate material might be damaged during a photo op. They maintained that such risks should never be taken for an ego boost or photo op.
On June 21st, Kardashian defended her decision to wear the historic dress in an interview on TODAY. According to Vogue magazine, the Keeping Up with the Kardashians star took extreme measures to keep it safe and secure during her interview.
She revealed to the show that after meeting with Amanda Joiner, vice president of the museum, she agreed on certain non-negotiable guidelines for wearing the dress. These included a time limit and no alterations allowed. Furthermore, body makeup could not be applied to the gown.
After several fittings, Ripley seamstresses meticulously created her replica gown. The only modifications needed were to the hemline of the garment - which is slightly too short - which she concealed with a white stole and seven-inch heels from Southern California-based Pleaser Shoes.
It was a delicate decision, but reality star Lisa Monroe felt confident her decision would be rewarded with positive attention. Indeed, she's now the first woman to wear Monroe's iconic dress since its debut in 1962 - becoming its first woman wearer ever!
In an interview with PEOPLE magazine, she revealed that she had shed 16 pounds to fit into the dress by eliminating sugar and carbs from her diet.
She also reportedly cut back on her favorite foods and drank more water, which is common for celebrities who need to shed pounds before events such as the Met Gala. Furthermore, it was reported that she hired a personal trainer for assistance with weight loss.
Recently, Kim Kardashian caused a firestorm of criticism when she donned the iconic dress Marilyn Monroe wore to celebrate President John F. Kennedy's birthday at Madison Square Garden in 1962. Unfortunately, the iconic garment didn't fit the reality star when she first tried it on; only after losing 16 pounds could she fit into it comfortably.
But the controversy over the dress didn't end there, with reports last week that it had been damaged after Kardashian wore it to the Met Gala. A collector who handled the iconic piece revealed to USA TODAY that it was missing crystals and had a strained zipper.
Following the photos of Kim Kardashian's dress being damaged, many speculated if it had been done intentionally or accidentally. Nevertheless, she claimed she was trying to preserve it. Now however, the reality star has addressed the matter and stands by her decisions.
On Tuesday morning, Kim joined NBC News' "Today" show for an interview and revealed her side of the story. She revealed that she only wore her dress for a few minutes during her red carpet walk at the Met Gala before changing into a replica to enter.
Though Monroe stated that she zipped up the back and covered it with a fur stole, textile conservators and fashion historians remain deeply concerned about what she did to Monroe's dress. They note how delicate it is - something which should never have been worn in the first place.
An expert familiar with the dress has released a photo that appears to demonstrate irreparable damage to its historic costume. He notes that the back appears to be missing crystals and fraying around the clamps on the zipper.
According to an artist who specializes in museums and costume exhibits, this is the first time they've ever encountered such severe damage to a dress. Although it's not an everyday occurrence, it has certainly captured the attention of both Monroe fans and experts alike.
Once the fashion show at the Met Gala had ended, Kardashian donned another of Marilyn Monroe's iconic gowns - this time, her iconic green Norman Norell dress that she donned for receiving her Henrietta Award for World Film Favorite at the 1962 Golden Globes.
It's unclear why Kardashian chose to deviate from the Gilded Age theme of this year's event and don another Monroe gown, but it can be safely assumed that there is more significance behind her choice than just making a fashion statement.
Vogue reported that Kim Kardashian's dress was purchased from Lily Et Cie, a Beverly Hills archival designer store known for acquiring vintage garments for celebrities to wear on red carpets. Both Kim Kardashian and Kanye West have been known to shop here for years.
At the 2022 Met Gala, Kim borrowed and donned a replica dress provided by Ripley's Believe It Or Not! A white-gloved assistant helped her change into the glittering gown.
Due to this incident, two side-by-side images of the dress before and after Kardashian walked the Met Gala red carpet went viral online. These photos revealed that Kim allegedly stretched/ripped the fabric as well as broke off some crystals at the back.
Fans of the late actress were understandably furious, believing she had damaged an iconic dress. However, these rumors seemed to have been exaggerated and have since died down.
Now, Kim has been accused of ruining another historical dress for an unknown reason. While it remains uncertain, it appears that Kim damaged the gown she wore to the Met Gala in 2022.
Last week, pictures surfaced showing the back of Kim Kardashian's iconic rhinestone-studded Marilyn Monroe dress at the 2022 Met Gala had been torn and damaged. Many Twitter users expressed outrage at Kim, with one tweet even accusing her of ruining a dress worth $5 million!