When Kim Kardashian wore the iconic gown once worn by Marilyn Monroe to serenade President John F Kennedy to the Met Gala last month, people were surprised.
On one hand, there’s no denying she looked amazing, but on the other hand, shouldn’t more care be taken with that dress?
Bob Mackie—the legendary costume designer who sketched the gown in 1962 for the dress' designer Jean Louis—said "no" to that question.
Mackie said of Kardashian borrowing the iconic ensemble:
"I thought it was a big mistake. [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."
That wisdom of the decision to loan Kardashian the gown is being questioned even more, now that a memorabilia expert alleged Kardashian’s romp in the dress has done extensive damage to it.
This was revealed in a series of Instagram Photos posted by The Marilyn Monroe Collection.
The images in the above Instagram post purport to show damage done to the dress.
The newer photos show more beading had fallen off since the gown was acquired in 2016, with some jewels now hanging by a thread as well as damage to one of the straps.
Obvious tearing in the "silk souffle" fabric near the zipper and clasp enclosures is also visible. The tears are considered unrepairable as the specialty French-made silk weave fabric from 60 years ago is no longer produced—it was specifically banned in the United States because it is highly flammable.
The older photos show how the Jean Louis one of a kind gown looked before the Met Gala.
While Kardashian made a splash when she wore the same gown Monroe wore to sing "Happy Birthday" to JFK for his 45th birthday at Madison Square Garden in 1962, some are left confused.
Why would Kardashian be allowed to wear this 60-year-old silk gown and possibly ruin it?
Kardashian had reportedly put a lot of effort into preparing to wear the gown. She went on a crash diet to lose 16 pounds, but even then the dress barely zipped.
She reportedly told a friend:
“It was like a role. I was determined to do it.”
According to Ripley’s Believe It Or Not!—the company that owns the dress—Kardashian had only worn the gown for the red carpet reveal then changed into a replica for the rest of the night.
Ripley’s also insisted “great care was taken” to preserve the dress, despite allowing the reality star to wear it to the Met Gala. Since then, the company has not commented on possible damage to the dress.
The whole situation got a lot of people thinking about the cultural importance of such an item.
While there’s clearly damage in the photos after the dress was worn to the Met Gala, it’s difficult to say how much was actually done from that specific act.
The “pre-Met Gala” photo used in the Instagram post has been accused of being edited and touched up. Only the 2016 auction listing photos from when the dress was purchased can be authenticated.
Since then there has been obvious damage from wear and tear.