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Is Marilyn Monroe dress damaged? What happened to gown worn by Kim Kardashian at Met Gala, what did owners say

A collector has claimed the dress has been “permanently damaged" by the star wearing it at the 2022 fundraising event

The owners of Marilyn Monroe’s iconic dress which was worn by Kim Kardashian during last month’s Met Gala have responded to claims that it was damaged when the star wore it.

A stir was already caused when Kardashian appeared at the top fashion event in May 2022 due to reports that she had lost weight to fit in to it.

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Now, Kardashian’s wearing of the dress has caused controversy again as a collector has accused the firm who owns it of “allowing” it to be damaged by letting the reality star wear it.

So, what alleged damage has been caused to the dress, and what have the owners of the dress had to say?

Here’s everything you need to know.

Which Marylin Monroe dress did Kim Kardashian wear?

Kim Kardashian wore the iconic gold dress worn by Monroe when she famously sang happy birthday to President John F. Kennedy in 1962.

The crystal-encrusted cream gown is worth $5 million (around £3.9m), and Kardashian became the only person to have worn it since Monroe when she wore it to the Met Gala on Monday 2 May.

The Met Gala is a fundraising event which marks the opening of the Costume Institute’s annual fashion exhibit on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, New York.

The gala, which has been called the Oscars of fashion, is attended by celebrities from the fields of fashion, film, television, music, sports, and social media.

What alleged damage has occurred to the dress?

A Monroe memorabilia collector has alleged that the private museum that owns the dress allowed it to be “permanently damaged" when it lent it to reality star Kardashian.

Scott Fortner, a collector who runs a website dedicated entirely to Monroe, released before and after photos of the crystal-studded cream gown on Instagram on Sunday 12 June.

The after shots were taken by a friend of Fortner,  Chad Michael Christian Morrisette, who saw the dress on display at Ripley’s Believe It or Not! curiosity museum in Los Angeles, which owns the dress and had allowed Kardashian to wear it.

The comparison shots appear to show small tears in the fabric near the hooks that fastened the dress together, as well as missing crystals and some embellishments hanging by a thread.

The images were shared on an Instagram account called The Marilyn Monroe Collection.

The caption read: “The dress on display at Ripley’s Hollywood location on June 12, 2022. Shared with me by @1morrisette .

So much for keeping “the integrity of the dress and the preservation.” @ripleysbelieveitornot, was it worth it?”

Fortner said in a follow-up post on Wednesday 15 June that he did not blame Kardashian for the damage, but instead Ripley’s.

“I blame Ripley’s, as they allowed the dress to be worn.

"I feel that any and every celebrity offered a chance to wear this garment very likely would jump at the opportunity.

"There’s a reason someone would want to wear it. Kim K. just happened to be the one who got to do it.

"It’s now permanently damaged, and likely would have been damaged regardless of who wore it.”

In another follow-up post on Thursday 16 June, Fortner said the dress was not perfect before, but it has been further damaged now.

“By my count, there are seven crystals missing from the gown in the after photo, which were present during the fitting. The screenshots show only a portion of the dress. There are likely many more missing.

“It’s never been implied that the gown was in perfect condition. My own photos show some crystals missing prior to the auction. However, it’s significantly more today.”

He also posted a video that appeared to show Kardashian being helped in to the dress ahead of the Met Gala.

What have the owners of the dress said?

Ripley’s Believe It or Not! said it was “confident” Kardashian did not cause any damage to the dress.

A spokesperson for the company said: ““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.

“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. An entirely new group of young people has now been introduced to the legacy of Marilyn Monroe.”

Kardashian only wore the gown for a short time and changed into a replica gown after appearing on the red carpet in the real outfit.

The firm’s spokesperson added: “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”.

The company previously said that Kardashian had requested to wear the dress.

In a press release put out on the day of the Met Gala they added: “Great care was taken to preserve this piece of pop culture history.

“With input from garment conservationists, appraisers, and archivists, the garment’s condition was top priority. No alterations were to be made to the dress.