- Kim Kardashian wore Marilyn Monroe’s “Happy Birthday” dress to the 2022 Met Gala.
- On Monday, photos of the dress were posted on Instagram that appeared to show it is damaged.
- Multiple crystals appeared to be missing from the back of the dress in the photos.
Marilyn Monroe’s “Happy Birthday” dress appears to be damaged in photos posted to Instagram on Monday.
Kim Kardashian wore the Jean Louis dress Monroe had on when she sang “Happy Birthday” to President John F. Kennedy in 1962 to the 2022 Met Gala. The one-of-a-kind sheer dress is covered in thousands of delicate crystals and was designed just for Monroe.
Kardashian borrowed the dress from Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, which purchased the gown for $4.81 million in 2016, according to a Ripley’s press release.
The reality TV star told Vogue on the Met Gala red carpet that she lost 16 pounds in just three weeks to fit into the dress.
Ripley’s said in the same press release that the “garment’s condition” and “preservation of the historic gown” were the priority in lending it to Kardashian.
Indeed, Kardashian only wore the dress on the Met Gala red carpet and changed into a replica immediately following her arrival because the dress is so delicate.
But on Monday, the Instagram account for the Marilyn Monroe Collection, run by Scott Fortner, posted photos of the dress in which it appeared to be damaged despite Ripley’s and Kardashian’s efforts. Representatives for Kardashian and Ripley’s did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
In the photos, the back of the dress appears to be missing crystals and others are falling off, and the fabric around the zipper is frayed.
The back of the dress was not visible when Kardashian wore it on the Met Gala red carpet. According to videos published by TMZ, the dress did not fully zip over Kardashian’s butt, so she wore it tied open and covered the back with a fur stole.
“Though Ripley’s isn’t an actual museum held to the traditional standards for museum conservation, they still very much indeed had an obligation to protect and preserve this historic piece of American history, which evidently hasn’t happened,” Fortner said in a statement to Insider.
The pictures were taken by Chad Michael Christian Morrisette on June 12 at the Ripley’s location in Hollywood, where the dress is currently displayed.
Morrisette told Insider he is a lifelong Monroe fan and has even worked with the “Happy Birthday” dress before, helping to display it for the 2016 auction where it was ultimately bought by Ripley’s.
He said the dress looked “drastically different” from the last time he saw it and that it was “frayed and tattered.” In addition to the missing crystals, Morrisette also said the shoulder straps appeared damaged.
“I am heartbroken to what has happened to that piece of national treasure,” he said of the dress, going on to call Kardashian a “cultural thief.”
TMZ previously reported that Nick Woodhouse, the president and CMO of the Authentic Brands Group, which runs Marilyn Monroe’s estate, said he thinks Monroe would have approved of Kardashian wearing the dress. However, Bob Mackie, who originally sketched the dress, said it was a “mistake” to let Kardashian wear it in May.