Owner of Marilyn Monroe dress says Kim Kardashian did not ‘in any way’ damage it
The owners of the dress belonging to Marilyn Monroe and worn by Kim Kardashian at last month’s Met ball have hit back against allegations the dress was damaged by the loan.
Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, which bought the dress – Monroe wore it to sing Happy Birthday to John F Kennedy in 1962 – for £3.8m in 2016, said it was “confident” Kardashian did not cause any damage to the garment.
This came following a renewed backlash against the reality TV star wearing the dress, after photographs were posted on Instagram by a Monroe collector, Scott Fortner, claiming “significant” damage had been sustained.
The photos appeared to show significant buckling, ripping and even the loss of some of the crystals sewn on to the dress.
Damage to the shoulder straps also appeared evident in video footage of the dress shared by author Darrell Rooney.
Many scoffed at Kardashian’s eagerness to wear the dress, which involved a crash diet in the weeks leading up to the gala. Kardashian changed into a replica gown after appearing on the red carpet in the real outfit, which she accessorised with a white stole as she could not fully do the zipper up at the back.
Criticism also fell on Ripley’s Believe It or Not! for agreeing to the loan and potentially failing to safeguard a historical artefact.
On Thursday, the company defended its reputation and said the debate had been a helpful one for cultural conservation.
“Kim Kardashian’s walk up the Metropolitan Museum’s stairs at this year’s Met Gala caused quite the stir, but one thing Ripley’s Believe It or Not! can say with confidence is that it did not cause damage to Marilyn Monroe’s famed ‘Happy Birthday’ dress from 1962,” it said.
“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.
“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 has now been introduced to the legacy of Marilyn Monroe.”
A special fitting room was installed near the bottom of the Met Gala red carpet steps so Kardashian would not need to travel in a car or walk far while wearing the dress.
A spokesperson for Ripley’s claimed on Thursday that “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”.