Ripley’s DENIES Kim Kardashian Damaged Marilyn Monroe Dress
Earlier this week, new photos showing wear-and-tear on the crystal-encrusted garment—first donned by Marilyn in 1962 to sing “Happy Birthday” to President John F. Kennedy—surfaced on social media, prompting an accusation that the Keeping Up With the Kardashians alum had somehow marred the iconic gown when she wore it to the 2022 Met Gala.
However, in a statement released on June 16, the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! museum defended its decision to lend Kim the dress, which she had on to pose on the red carpet with boyfriend Pete Davidson before changing into a replica, and maintained that the reality star “did not, in any way, damage the garment in the short amount of time it was worn at the Met Gala.”
“Our mission is to both entertain and educate visitors and fans, and sparking conversations like the discourse around Marilyn Monroe’s dress does just that,” the statement read. “No matter which side of the debate you are on, the historical importance of the dress has not been negated, but rather highlighted. An entirely new group of young people have now been introduced to the legacy of Marilyn Monroe.”
Added Amanda Joiner, the Vice President of Publishing and Licensing as Ripley’s Entertainment, “From the bottom of the Met steps, where Kim got into the dress, to the top where it was returned, the dress was in the same condition it started in.”
The Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! museum in Orlando, Fla., purchased the garment from its previous owner for $4.8 million at a Julien’s Auctions event in 2016. According to the company, a quality report on the dress completed in the following year noted that “a number of the seams are pulled and worn. This is not surprising given how delicate the material is. There is puckering at the back by the hooks and eyes.”
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Ever since this year’s Met Gala, the gown has been displayed at Ripley’s Believe It or Not!’s Hollywood location, where the now-viral images of its pulled seams were taken.
Previously, the SKIMS founder shared that she struggled to fit into the dress and lost 16 pounds in three weeks in order to do so. “I always thought [Marilyn] was extremely curvy. I imagined I might be smaller in some places where she was bigger and bigger in places where she was smaller,” she told Vogue. “So when it didn’t fit me I wanted to cry because it can’t be altered at all.”
Noting that she’s “extremely respectful to the dress and what it means to American history,” Kim added that she “had to practice walking up the stairs” in order to not risk damaging it.
Despite her efforts, Kim faced backlash for the controversial move—including criticism from the gown’s designer Bob Mackie, who told Entertainment Weekly that it was a “big mistake” for someone else to wear something specifically created for Marilyn.
“It was designed for her,” he said. “Nobody else should be seen in that dress.”
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