Kim Kardashian Faces Renewed Backlash After Images of Damaged Marilyn Monroe Dress Surface

“With input from garment conservationists, appraisers, and archivists, the garment’s condition was top priority,” Ripley’s said in a press release in May. “Believe It or Not! no alterations were to be made to the dress and Kim even changed into a replica after the red carpet!⁠”

Several fans condemned Ripley’s for allowing Kardashian to wear the dress, noting that given its age and delicate nature, damage was inevitable. “Even a matching sized woman would have destroyed the fabric,” wrote one user. 

The dress was created for Monroe by Jean Louis, who referenced a sketch by legendary Hollywood designer Bob Mackie. Monroe famously wore the piece in 1962 while serenading John F. Kennedy with a sexy rendition of “Happy Birthday, Mr. President.” In 2016, it sold at auction for $5 million, making it the most-expensive dress in the world. 

This renewed backlash toward both Kardashian and Ripley’s comes a month after several conservators condemned the rewearing of such an iconic piece. “I’m frustrated because it sets back what is considered professional treatment for historic costume,” Sarah Scaturro, chief conservator at the Cleveland Museum of Art and formerly a conservator at the Met’s Costume Institute, told the L.A. Times in May. “In the ’80s, a bunch of costume professionals came together to state a resolution that historic costume should not be worn. So my worry is that colleagues in historic costume collections are now going to be pressured by important people to let them wear garments.”

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