Kim Kardashian accused of damaging historic Marilyn Monroe dress at Met Gala: ‘Literally ruined’
Kim Kardashian and Ripley’s have been accused of “irreparably damaging” Marilyn Monroe’s iconic sheer dress after the company loaned it to Kardashian to wear to this year’s Met Gala.
According to Chad Michael Morrissette, a visual artist who curates museum and costume exhibits, he observed irreparable damage to the dress when he saw it on display Sunday at Ripley’s Believe It or Not! on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles. Morrissette says he previously handled the dress in 2016 when he displayed it for Julien’s Auctions, where Ripley’s purchased it for $4.8 million.
As a result of Kardashian wearing the dress up the Met Gala steps, Morrissette says the garment now has a damaged zipper, shredded fabric by its hooks, stress on its shoulder straps and is missing beads and sequins.
Morrissette took photos of the dress Sunday, which he shared with Monroe memorabilia collector Scott Fortner, who reposted them on Instagram to compare how the dress looked before Kardashian wore it.
In the 2016 auction photos, there are one to two hand-sewn crystals decorating the back of the dress that are missing, while Ripley’s recent video shows a few more gems gone. But Sunday’s photos show even more beading had fallen off, some jewels hanging by a thread and damage to one of the straps.
There is also noticeable tearing in the delicate silk soufflé fabric near the zipper and clasp enclosures. The ripped portions of the dress are all but certainly unrepairable, as the specialty French-made silk weave fabric is no longer produced and is banned in the United States due to its highly flammable nature.
“It’s just really, really disappointing,” Marilyn Monroe historian and collector Scott Fortner tells Rolling Stone after his initial post with the photos went viral. “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.”
Visual artist and creative director Chad Michael Morrissette, who previously worked with the dress in 2016 when it went up for auction, was the one who took the photos when he visited Ripley’s on Sunday. “It literally broke my heart to see the damage that she did to that,” he says. “She stole that moment of history and I’m so mad about it.” (Representatives for Kardashian and Ripley’s did not return requests for comment.)
One of the most well-known dresses in pop culture history, the gown was designed by Jean Louis and sketched out by a young Bob Mackie, who went on to create some of Cher’s most famed looks. Monroe reportedly had to be sewn into the bedazzled, figure-hugging number before surprising President John F. Kennedy with her infamous rendition of “Happy Birthday” in 1962.