Kim Kardashian is facing backlash after photos surfaced showing alleged damage to the iconic Marilyn Monroe dress the reality star wore to the Met Gala on May 2.
Kardashian has signed a deal with Ripley’s Believe It or Not to wear the gold Happy Birthday dress, which is valued at nearly $5 million, to the star-studded fashion event. The decision was initially dismissed over Kardashian’s comments about losing weight for the event. Professional restorers of the time also spoke out, saying it was inadvisable to wear a garment with so much history, regardless of reason or person. “I’m frustrated because it sets back the professional treatment of period costume,” a conservator told the LA Times.
Now, a Marilyn Monroe collector is slamming Kardashian and Ripley, sharing pre and post Met Gala pictures of the dress that appear to show the fabric and missing crystals.
“Without question, the damage is significant,” the Scott Fortner Marilyn Monroe Collection wrote on their Instagram account Monday.
The new photos and video of the dress were captured by Creative Director Chad Michael Christian Morrisette, who has helped archive the dress in the past, at Ripley’s Hollywood, where the dress is currently being held. Morrisette wrote on Instagram on Tuesday: “This dress is a part of my life and my heart. To see what @kimkardashian did to damage it is heartbreaking,” he added the hashtags #nationaltreasure, #howdareyou, #ego, #greed and #thief.
The Marilyn Monroe Collection accompanied their posts about the dress with a series of quotes about Kardashian’s decision to wear it, including from Amanda Joiner, vice president of licensing and publishing at Ripley Entertainment.
“The dress was never alone with Kim. It was always with a Ripley’s representative. We always made sure that whenever we felt like the dress was about to tear or we felt uncomfortable about anything, we always had the ability to say we weren’t going to go ahead with it,” Joiner said in a statement to the everyday beast.
Representatives from Kardashian and Ripley’s Believe It or Not did not immediately respond diversity‘s request for comment.
Others chimed in on Twitter and Instagram, with many agreeing the damage was obvious and unfortunate.
“Marilyn was used her whole life, she had hardly anything that was really hers,” according to a Twitter user wrote. “That dress, it was hers. It’s designed specifically and ONLY for you. Now it’s ruined.”
“They really let her ruin a historical artifact for a disappointing look that didn’t even fit the theme,” another wrote.
Originally designed by Bob Mackie and created by Jean Louis as a dress “that only Marilyn Monroe could wear,” none other than Kardashian has worn the sheer dress since Monroe said “Happy Birthday” to then-President John F Kennedy in 1963 a few months before her death. The dress was so tight for Monroe at the time that she had to be sewn into it, 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. After walking the red carpet, she donned a replica of the dress.
Mackie himself spoke out against the decision in May, telling Entertainment Weekly that he “thinks it was a huge mistake” for Kardashian to wear the dress.
“[Marilyn] was a goddess,” Mackie continued. “A mad goddess, but a goddess. She was just fabulous. Nobody takes photos like that. And it was done for her. It was designed for you. Nobody else should be seen in this dress.”