The lawyer-entrepreneur wore the dress to the 2022 Met Gala, leading to a mass protest on social media.
To add another nail to the coffin of Kim Kardashian's 2022 Met Gala appearance, new images of Marilyn Monroe's iconic dress show a few missing beads and subtle tears on the back of the garment. Even though Ripley's Believe It or Not! and Kim K assured fans that they took the utmost care of the dress, the internet pounced on them for wearing such an iconic dress in the first place.
Marilyn Monroe’s iconic dress has reportedly been damaged after being worn by Kim Kardashian at the Met Gala.— Pop Crave (@PopCrave) June 13, 2022
The dress now shows signs of tearing, and several crystals are either missing or hanging off of it. pic.twitter.com/cFu1lUBmzS
The history of this dress is as follows. Bob Mackie sketched the initial design of the dress in 1962 and his boss Jean Louis helped him realize his vision of a sheer nude dress with over 6,000 crystals. Marilyn Monroe personally tasked Louis with the design and said, "I want you to design a truly historical dress, a dazzling dress that's one-of-a-kind, a dress that only Marilyn Monroe could wear," Ripley's reports.
Marilyn Monroe was sewn nude into the Naked dress to sing Happy Birthday to her lover President Kennedy.— 𝔻𝔸𝕄𝕄𝕀𝕋 𝕋𝔼𝔼𝕊 (@DammitTees) June 14, 2022
21 year old Bob Mackie’s first star designs is embellished with 2,500 rhinestones.
JFK, RFK, opera legend Maria Callas & #MarilynMonroe https://t.co/kAiTePqcRT pic.twitter.com/aJhLa4df15
The designer duo got to work and built this now-iconic dress, which was so skin-tight that Monroe had to be sewn into it. She debuted the dress, which was made to shock and look like she was barely wearing anything, at Madison Square Garden. All scandal aside, she sang "Happy Birthday, Mr. President" at the political fundraising event that doubled as a birthday celebration for President John F. Kennedy, according to Vulture.
Fast forward to 1999, all of Marilyn's clothing and furniture were auctioned off, including the dress, which was sold for $1.3 million to Martin Zweig. In 2016, the dress was set up for auction again after Martin Zweig's estate decided to put it up after his death in 2013. An unidentified bidder paid $4.8 million for the fashion artifact and we soon found out that it was Ripley's Believe It or Not! that ended up being the winning bidder, valuing the total cost at more than $5 million for the dress, making it the most expensive dress ever sold at an auction.
This year, a few months before the Met Gala, Kardashian approached Ripley's Believe It or Not! to ask if she could wear the dress for the theme "Gilded Glamour". She donned the dress at the Met Gala with a white shrug, a move that eventually led to a lot of backlash from fashion fanatics and the general public alike. Now, pictures shared by the Marilyn Monroe collection's Instagram page show the dress with tears and some of its hand-sewn beads falling off. According to Variety, Ripley's executive Amanda Joiner assured that the dress "was always with a Ripley's representative. We always ensured that at any time we felt that the dress was in danger of ripping or we felt uncomfortable about anything, we always had the ability to be able to say we were not going to continue with this."
More footage and images by the popular social media profile Diet Prada show that apart from the falling beads and the tear in the silk souffle fabric near the zipper and clasp enclosures, there was some significant damage done to the strap of the dress as well. Furthermore, the damage is irreparable as the fabric is no longer made in the US and is banned due to its highly flammable nature. Historians like Scott Fortner have taken grave offense to this transgression, telling Rolling Stone: "It's a cultural icon. It's a political icon. It's a Hollywood icon. It's not just a dress, it's a part of American history... and it'll never be the same."
the quotes are so damn ignorant, it's not about the actual dress. it's about the meaning. marilyn was used all her life, she hardly had anything that was truly her own. This dress, it was hers. it was designed specifically and ONLY for her. now it's ruined. https://t.co/4MO4jDHFcR— ✨ (@shipsandshows) June 13, 2022
Meanwhile, Kardashian has expressed her gratitude to Ripley's for loaning the iconic dress to her. In an interview with Vogue, she talked about how she had to lose 16 pounds three weeks before the Met Gala. Furthermore, to make sure the damage caused was minimum, she said she only wore the dress on the carpet and up the stairs, before changing into the replica she had made of the same. Fans of Monroe on the internet expressed their disdain for the move stating that "they really let her ruin a historical artifact for an underwhelming look that wasn't even on theme." Designer Bob Mackie spoke out against the decision in May, saying: "[Marilyn] was a goddess. A crazy goddess, but a goddess. She was just fabulous. Nobody photographs like that. And it was done for her. It was designed for her. Nobody else should be seen in that dress."