Ripley’s Believe It or Not! on Thursday denied claims that the Marilyn Monroe’s iconic “Happy Birthday” dress worn by Kim Kardashian sustained new damage.
Ripley’s owns the dress used by Monroe to sing a breathy, suggestive version of “Happy Birthday” to then-President John F. Kennedy on his 45th birthday in 1962 at Madison Square Garden, The New York Times reported. Ripley’s posted a statement on its website denying the allegations on social media.
Claims had been made that Kardashian’s appearance in the gown had damaged the dress when she briefly wore it at the Met Gala last month, stretching it out of shape around the zipper close and shedding some of the rhinestones, according to the Times.
The organization that owns the Marilyn Monroe dress Kim Kardashian wore to the Met Gala denied allegations that her appearance in the gown had damaged the dress, saying it was already fraying before Kardashian wore it. https://t.co/aLIn5cDJ23— The New York Times (@nytimes) June 16, 2022
Chad Michael Morrisette, who owns a mannequin supply company and once handled the skintight Jean Louis dress worn by Kardashian said he spotted fresh damage to the crystal-covered garment when he observed it at a Ripley’s Los Angeles location, The Associated Press reported.
Morrisette shared photos taken on June 12 of the 60-year-old dress with a friend and fellow Monroe collector, and the reaction on social media caused a firestorm when he posted “before” and “after” shots.
“It makes me sad. I ran out in tears,” Morrisette told the AP.
According to Ripley’s, a report written about the condition of the dress stated that “a number of the seams are pulled and worn.”
“This is not surprising given how delicate the material is,” Ripley’s said. “There is puckering at the back by the hooks and eyes.”
Kardashian, 41, changed into a replica dress after climbing the Grand Staircase of the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 2, the AP reported.
“Kim Kardashian wearing the ‘Happy Birthday’ dress has been hotly contested, but the fact remains that she did not, in any way, damage the garment in the short amount of time it was worn at the Met Gala,” Ripley’s said on its website.
“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,” Amanda Joiner, Ripley’s vice president of publishing and licensing, said in a statement.
Made from souffle in a shade chosen to match the color of Monroe’s skin, the dress was covered in 2,500 rhinestones to refract the light, the Times reported. It was sleeveless and backless.
The garment was based on a sketch by famed designer Bob Mackie, who was working for Louis at the time, the AP reported.
Kardashian borrowed the piece from the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! museum in Orlando, Florida, which bought the gown for $4.81 million in 2016, the AP reported. Its original price tag was $12,000.
According to People, Kardashian lost 16 pounds in three weeks in order to fit into the dress because it did not fit -- and could not be altered -- the first time she tried it on. Ripley’s flew the gown to her via private plane, the magazine reported.
The gown is currently on exhibit at Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Hollywood through the fall, CNN reported.
“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,” Ripley’s wrote on its website. “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.”
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