A lot of controversy has lately happened after it was brought to the fore that Kim Kardashian’s attempt at wearing the iconic Marilyn Monroe gown to the Met Gala this year may have damaged its fabric, leading to some tears here and there.
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In some newly-emerged photographs, collector Scott Fortner of the Marilyn Monroe Collection — the world’s “largest private collection of Monroe’s personal property and archives” — had highlighted that the dress, which is currently on display at Ripley’s, has some tears on the back, along with some some crystals and sequins missing.
And that when compared with its on-display images in 2016, the differences in terms of damage are quite stark. Fortner’s official Instagram account has posted many before-and-after images of the dress, writing, “So much for keeping ‘the integrity of the dress and the preservation’. @ripleysbelieveitornot, was it worth it? #marilynmonroe”
It was in reference to a Ripley’s press release dated May 2, 2022, which stated: “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. Believe It or Not! No alterations were to be made to the dress and Kim even changed into a replica after the red carpet!”
Now, Ripley’s itself is addressing the reported damage caused to Marilyn Monroe’s Jean Louis gown, explaining in an article published on its website on Thursday that Kim K’s Met Gala appearance “did not cause damage to Marilyn Monroe’s famed ‘Happy Birthday’ dress from 1962”.
“Ripley’s Believe It or Not! is not the first owner of this dress. It was acquired at a Julien’s Auctions event in 2016 for $4.8 million. A report written on the dress’s condition in early 2017 states, ‘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’, among other instances of damage,” it read.
The article further read that while Kim, 41, wearing the dress has been “hotly contested”, she did not “damage the garment in the short amount of time it was worn at the Met Gala”.
Ripley’s VP of Publishing and Licensing, Amanda Joiner, who is said to have been continuously with the dress at the Gala, noted, “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.”
Ripley’s added that regardless of the debate, an “entirely new group of young people has now been introduced to the legacy of Marilyn Monroe”.
It is understood that Ripley’s Believe It or Not! will continue to exhibit the dress — in as-is condition — at Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Hollywood through Fall 2022.
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