Kim Kardashian accused of doing ‘permanent damage’ to Marilyn Monroe’s dress

The celebrity faces backlash after attending the Met Gala last month sporting the gown in which Monroe serenaded President Kennedy

A Marilyn Monroe collector has claimed that “permanent damage” has been inflicted by Kim Kardashian on the iconic dress Monroe wore to serenade John F Kennedy on his 45th birthday, shortly before the actor’s death.

Kardashian wore the gown to the Met Gala last month; photographs taken in the last week by Scott Fortner, a collector who works to authenticate and verify Monroe memorabilia, appeared to show stretched and buckled fabric and missing crystals on the back of the dress.

In the photos, posted to Instagram on Monday, rips, stretches and substantial wear and tear can be see on the dress, which also does seem to be missing some crystals with others “left hanging by a thread”.

The post quotes the dress’s owner, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not!, who at the time claimed “great care was taken to preserve this piece of pop culture history. With input from garment conservationists, appraisers, and archivists, the garment’s condition was top priority … no alterations were to be made to the dress and Kim even changed into a replica after the red carpet!⁠”

Kardashian donned the $4.8m crystal-covered nude silk gown to walk down the red carpet at the event in early May. She accessorised the garment with a white fur stole as she was unable to do the zipper up at the back.

During a fitting more than a month before the gala, Kardashian realised her assumption that the gown would slip on was optimistic. “When it didn’t fit me I wanted to cry because it can’t be altered at all,” she said.

She then undertook an extreme weight-loss regime to try and squeeze into the dress, which involved a vegetable-centric diet, lots of time on the treadmill and wearing a sauna suit twice a day. “It was such a challenge,” she said. “It was like a role, I was determined to fit it.”

Kardashian’s programme met with criticism from healthcare professionals, while her apparently insatiable desire to wear a dead woman’s dress also went down badly.

The International Council of Museums commented that “historic garments should not be worn by anybody, public or private figures”. While the dress was the property of a private collector its heritage, they continued, “must be understood as belonging to humanity” and the artefact “kept preserved for future generations”.

The dress has been kept in a temperature-controlled environment since the tourist attraction bought it in 2016. It had not been worn by anyone between Monroe and Kardashian.

Ahead of her appearance, Kardashian defended her sartorial decision. “I’m extremely respectful to the dress and what it means to American history,” she said. “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.”


Catherine Shoard

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Owner of Marilyn Monroe dress says Kim Kardashian did not ‘in any way’ damage it
Ripley’s Believe It or Not! defended loaning Monroe’s ‘Happy Birthday’ gown to the reality TV star and said its importance ‘has not been negated, but rather highlighted’

Catherine Shoard

17, Jun, 2022 @10:49 AM

Article image
Kim Kardashian wears Marilyn Monroe’s JFK dress as Met Gala celebrates gilded age
Reality TV star wore a sauna suit and lost 16 pounds to fit into gown worn by actor when she sang Happy Birthday to John F Kennedy

Rafqa Touma and Reuters

03, May, 2022 @6:00 AM

Article image
More fancy dress than elegance: has social media killed good taste at the Met Gala?
It was once the epitome of chic, but celebrities attending New York’s premier fashion event are now more likely to be playing it for laughs – and likes

Jess Cartner-Morley

03, May, 2022 @4:12 PM

Article image
Lizzo’s black dress and Beyoncé’s gold halo star in Kensington Palace show
Crown to Couture exhibition reveals red carpet celebrity gowns echo costumes of 18th-century aristocrats

Esther Addley

29, Mar, 2023 @5:17 PM

Article image
Met Gala 2022: politics rises to the surface on fashion’s biggest night
Celebration of American design themed ‘gilded glamour’ prompts slogans, homage and big dose of history

Edward Helmore

03, May, 2022 @2:46 AM

Article image
Blonde: will a shocking new film shatter the myth of Marilyn Monroe?
From Cannes to the Met Gala, the screen icon’s lucrative legacy lives on. But how will a new film affect the way the world sees her?

Catherine Shoard

13, May, 2022 @1:48 PM

Article image
What do you get when a lack of taste meets a shedload of cash? Anna Wintour’s ball | Catherine Bennett
New York’s annual Met Gala is tawdry at the best of times. This year its excess just seemed moronic

Catherine Bennett

08, May, 2022 @6:00 AM

Article image
Marilyn Monroe dress sells for $4.6m

Dress from The Seven Year Itch part of auction of Hollywood memorabilia collection amassed by actor Debbie Reynolds

Ed Pilkington in New York

19, Jun, 2011 @3:45 PM

Article image
Stuffed in a shoebox, seized by the FBI: the amazing fates of Hollywood’s greatest dresses
Kim Kardashian caused outrage recently by wearing a gorgeous souffle silk that once adorned Marilyn Monroe. But what happened to other magnificent outfits – and why did no one realise their eye-popping value?

Lauren Cochrane

04, Jul, 2022 @5:00 AM

Article image
Fashion’s biggest night, the 2022 Met Gala – as it happened
Follow along for live updates from the red carpet on the first Monday in May

Rafqa Touma

03, May, 2022 @3:37 AM