Kim Kardashian accused of permanently damaging Marilyn Monroe dress worn at Met Gala 2022

A collector has said 'significant' damage has been done to the 1962 gown

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Kim Kardashian has caused “permanent damage” to the Marilyn Monroe dress she wore to the Met Gala in May, a collector has claimed.

Despite being worn by Kardashian for only a few minutes, the gown has been damaged, according to Scott Fortner, a private collector, authenticator and verifier of Monroe memorabilia. Citing recent photographs of the dress, he claims some crystals are missing, others have been “left hanging by a thread”, and the dress is stretched and misshapen.

Fortner posted images on social media, offering "before" and "after" shots, placed side by side to highlight damage he describes as “significant”.

He has also included video footage he took of the gown in 2016 for comparison.

Made in 1962 by fashion designer Bob Mackie, the sheer, crystal-covered dress was originally worn by Monroe to attend John F Kennedy’s 45th birthday, where she famously sang Happy Birthday Mr President.

Bought by Ripley’s Believe It or Not! in 2016, the 60-year-old gown is now worth $4.8 million and is usually kept in a climate-controlled environment.

For the Met Gala, however, Kardashian controversially wore the gown to climb the steps, before changing into a replica inside. She accessorised it with a white fur stole to disguise the fact she was unable to do up the zip at the back.

At a fitting a month before the event, Kardashian had reportedly realised the gown was too small for her. “When it didn’t fit me, I wanted to cry because it can’t be altered at all,” she said.

The celebrity then embarked on a highly restrictive vegetable-based diet — that included wearing a sauna suit — to lose more than seven kilograms in three weeks, drawing criticism from healthcare workers and other commentators for glamourising fad diets.

At the time of the Met Gala, the International Council of Museums expressed its unhappiness that the dress had been loaned out, stating that “historic garments should not be worn by anybody, public or private figures”, and that its owners had a duty to ensure it was “preserved for future generations”.

In response, Kardashian explained she was fully aware of the dress’s cultural importance. “I’m extremely respectful to the dress and what it means to American history,” she said. “I would never want to sit in it or eat in it or have any risk of any damage to it, and I won’t be wearing the kind of body make-up I usually do.”

The reality TV star also later revealed she wore a second dress, also previously donned by Monroe, for the event’s after-party.

Kardashian posted pictures to Instagram of herself in a deep-green sequinned dress, designed by Norman Norell, which Monroe wore to the 1962 Golden Globes.

Kardashian was also able to track down the actual Golden Globe that Monroe was honoured with in that year.

"In my quest to find the Jean Louis hand-beaded dress that I wore to the gala, I discovered @heritageauctions owned Marilyn's iconic green-sequinned gown," she wrote. "Further into my research, I found out that the owner of the Golden Globe that she received that evening was none other than my friend @jeffleatham.

“I saw this all as a sign, the way that all of the stars aligned. It will forever be one of the greatest privileges of my life to be able to channel my inner Marilyn in this way, on such a special night. Thank you Heritage Auctions, Barbara Zweig and Jeff for helping to make this memory possible."

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Updated: June 22, 2023, 1:14 PM