Kim Kardashian did not damage Marilyn Monroe’s iconic dress when she wore it to the Met Gala, the collector who loaned her the gown has said.
The reality TV star made waves when she appeared at the glitzy fundraiser wearing the actual dress worn by Monroe during her famous 1962 performance of Happy Birthday to US president John F Kennedy.
However, the decision has since been criticised, including by a fellow Monroe collector who posted photos online appearing to show damage to the dress which has since been returned to Ripley’s Believe It or Not!.
Scott Fortner called the decision to loan out the item “irresponsible”.
But Ripley’s has now hit back, and said one thing it can say “with confidence” is that Kardashian “did not cause damage to Marilyn Monroe’s famed ‘Happy Birthday’ dress from 1962”.
Kardashian wore the dress for a short amount of time on the red carpet, before changing into a replica.
“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,” said Ripley’s VP of publishing and licensing, Amanda Joiner, who was continuously with the dress the day of the Gala and during transport from Orlando to New York.
In a blog post, Ripley’s said there was already damage to the dress when it acquired it at auction in 2016 for $4.8 million.
“A report written on the dress’s condition in early 2017 states, “a number of the seams are pulled and worn,” it said.
“This is not surprising given how delicate the material is. There is puckering at the back by the hooks and eyes, among other instances of damage.”
It said Kardashian wearing the dress had sparked a conversation: “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.”
Ripley’s said it will continue to exhibit the dress “in as-is condition” through the autumn.
The International Council of Museums has since issued a statement, discouraging collectors from loaning out historical garments to be worn.
It said: “Although the dress belongs to a private collection, the heritage must be understood as belonging to humanity, regardless of which institution has custody of the property.
“As museum professionals, we strongly recommend all museums to avoid lending historic garments to be worn, as they are artifacts of the material culture of its time, and they must be kept preserved for future generations.”