The costume museum have refuted claims that the reality star damaged the iconic dress
In May, The Kardashians star wore the cream, crystal-studded gown worn by Monroe when she sang “Happy Birthday” to President Kennedy in 1962 to the Met Gala in New York.
Ripley's bought the dress at auction in 2016 for $4.8 million and its value is said to now be nearer to $10 million. Kardashian reportedly only wore the dress for the time it took to climb the iconic staircase, before changing into a replica inside the Met for the rest of the evening.
However, controversy erupted after Scott Fortner, a private collector of Marilyn Monroe artefacts, posted photos on his blog showing “significant” damage to the dress. Fortner, who assists in authenticating and verifying Monroe memorabilia, called Ripley’s “irresponsible” for loaning out the dress.
The photographs appeared to show stretched fabric and missing crystals on the back of the dress, prompting widespread condemnation of Kardashian and the museum for apparently desecrating an important historical artefact.
Criticism reached new heights after further imagery was shared by the social media, fashion watch-dog Diet Prada account showing significant rips in one of the dress’s sleeves.
However, Ripley’s has responded this week by defending their decision to loan out the dress and refuting claims of any damage.
“Kim Kardashian’s walk up the Metropolitan Museum’s stairs at this year’s Met Gala caused quite the stir, but one thing Ripley’s Believe It or Not! can say with confidence is that it did not cause damage to Marilyn Monroe’s famed ‘Happy Birthday’ dress from 1962,” the franchise said.
“Our mission is to both entertain and educate visitors and fans, and sparking conversations like the discourse around Marilyn Monroe’s dress does just that.
“No matter which side of the debate you are on, the historical importance of the dress has not been negated, but rather highlighted.
Ripley's stated that a report from as early as 2017 reads, "a number of seams are pulled and worn."
The dress is usually kept in a darkened, temperature-controlled vault at 40 to 50 per cent humidity to preserve it.
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Juliana Piskorz is a freelance journalist and broadcaster. Over the course of her career she has written for a smorgasbord of magazines and national newspapers including The Sunday Times, Dazed and Confused, the Independent, the Guardian, Refinery29 and The Face among others.
Before going freelance, Juliana was the Digital Editor at the Evening Standard Magazine and a Staff Writer at the Observer Magazine.
Juliana has a partcular interest in art, fashion, travel and the pop culture.
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