Kim Kardashian’s decision to wear one of Marilyn Monroe’s most famous dresses to the 2022 Met Gala – instead of commissioning a copy – could have damaged the ‘fragile’ gown, fashion historians have said.
The reality TV star donned the Jean Louis gown Monroe wore to President John F. Kennedy’s birthday bash in Madison Square Garden in 1962 – where she sang Happy Birthday to him – to the Met Gala on Monday.
The 41-year-old was loaned the historic nude-coloured sparkly dress, which was custom made for Monroe, by officials at museum chain Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, where the 60-year-old dress has been stored in a temperature-controlled environment since it was bought for $5million in 2016.
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Reality star Kardashian, 41, described being loaned the ‘national treasure’ dress, worn by Marilyn Monroe in 1962 – to wear at the Met Gala as ‘so cool’ – but historians and fashion experts have since suggested that taking the historic gown out of its museum environment to a red carpet event could have damaged the ‘fragile gown’
Historic: Monroe wore the Jean Louis bespoke gown to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to President John F. Kennedy at Madison Square Garden to mark his 45th birthday in 1962
‘An ego-boost and a photo-op’: Dr Justine De Young, professor of fashion history at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, said a copy of the dress would have been safer. Right, the dress as it looked in 2016 ahead of its sale for $5million to Ripley’s Believe It or Not! museum in Florida
Author Michelle Morgan, who has written several books about the life of Marilyn Monroe, blasted the decision to let the glamorous frock be worn again in a red carpet environment, saying it could have damaged the gown with ‘sweat’ and ‘make-up’.
Speaking to the New York Post, Morgan said: ‘I am extremely disappointed to see this 60-year-old, iconic dress being worn in public.’
She added: ‘The gown is extremely fragile and has been previously kept in temperature-controlled conditions, but now here it is, not only being worn, but also in a red carpet environment, where anything could have happened to it.’
The writer, who recently published a new book, When Marilyn met the Queen, also raised concerns about how Kardashian’s make-up, perfume and ‘sweat’ might have impacted the fabric.
Michelle Morgan, who wrote ‘The Girl: Marilyn Monroe, the Seven Year Itch, and the Birth of an Unlikely Feminist’ and recently published ‘When Marilyn met the Queen’ slammed the decision to let Kardashian wear the gown, saying the star’s make-up and sweat could have put the dress at risk
On the red carpet: Kim Kardashian and boyfriend Pete Davidson arrive to the 2022 Met Gala Celebrating ‘In America: An Anthology of Fashion’, with the reality star accessorising the dress with a snow white fur coat
Kardashian has revealed that she wore gloves when she first tried on the dress and that the frock was ‘transported by guards’ to her home.
The iconic gown was bought in 2016 by global museum chain Ripley’s Believe It or Not! and has been kept in Florida for movie fans to enjoy since.
Fellow Monroe historian and collector, Scott Fortner, said he was concerned by the dress’ outing because it had been a bespoke design.
Actress Marilyn Monroe wears the iconic gown that she wore while singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to President John F. Kennedy at Madison Square Garden, during a reception in New York City. Standing next to Monroe is Steve Smith, President Kennedy’s brother-in-law
Speaking to People, he said: ‘The dress was custom-made for Marilyn Monroe. It’s not an off-the-rack garment. It was created by Academy Award-winning designer Jean Luis, who had designed costumes for Marilyn’s final two films: The Misfits and Something’s Got to Give.’
Another expert, Dr Justine De Young, agreed that it was a risky decision to wear the dress to such a high profile event.
She told People, the professor of fashion history at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, said a copy would have been safer.
‘She can – and did – commission a replica which would be indistinguishable from the original. Such an iconic piece of American history should not be put at risk of damage just for an ego-boost and photo-op.’
Kardashian was also presented with a lock of Marilyn Monroe’s hair ahead of the New York fashion event. The socialite’s jaw dropped as a museum official presented her with the historical memento, which was protected in a circular metallic container.
The lock of hair presented to Kim was protected in a circular metallic container
‘Oh, my God, I’m literally going to do some crazy voodoo s*** [to] channel her,’ Kardashian said upon receiving the treasure. ‘This is so special to me – thank you so much, this is so cool. Wow, this is sleeping with me every night.’
Kardashian revealed on the red carpet that she shed 16 pounds in a three-week span after she didn’t initially fit into the garment.
‘When it didn’t fit me I wanted to cry because it can’t be altered at all,’ she said. ‘I looked at them, and I said, give me three weeks, and I had to lose 16 pounds down [to] today to be able to fit this. It was such a challenge, it was like a role. I was determined to fit into it. I don’t think they believed I was going to do it, but I did it.’
The mother-of-four went into detail about the daunting regimen she went through to meet her weight loss goal.
‘I would wear a sauna suit twice a day, run on the treadmill, completely cut out all sugar and all carbs, and just eat the cleanest veggies and protein,’ she said. ‘I didn’t starve myself, but I was so strict.’