Last month, Kim Kardashian sparked controversy when she attended the Met Gala in the 1962 dress that Marilyn Monroe wore when she sang “Happy Birthday” to then-president John F. Kennedy.
The sheer gown holds the record for being the most expensive dress ever sold at auction and it is currently in the possession of Ripley’s Believe It or Not in Florida, which usually keeps it in a darkened and temperature-controlled vault for preservation.
However, they allowed Kim to briefly wear the $4.8 million piece to the gala, with the star only keeping it on for a “matter of minutes” before changing into a replica immediately after leaving the red carpet.
Kim faced further backlash when she revealed that she’d lost a significant amount of weight in just three weeks to fit into the dress, which could not be altered or amended in any way.
The star admitted that she almost cried “tears of joy” when the dress fit just in time for the event, but a behind-the-scenes video later revealed that this wasn’t quite the case.
In the clip, a team of helpers — including her boyfriend, Pete Davidson, and hairstylist Chris Appleton — can be seen struggling to squeeze the dress over Kim’s famous curves, and although they were able to get the dress over her bottom, they were unable to actually fasten the zip.
Kim studied the situation in the mirror as the opening of the dress was secured with a piece of string. She then floated suggestions on how they could deal with the issue before ultimately deciding to wear a fur coat on the red carpet to cover the opening.
Despite the fact it has now been over a month since Kim wore the dress, she is still causing controversy and earlier this week Kim was accused of “ruining” the garment after it was pictured back in the Ripley’s vault by a patron.
A dedicated Marilyn Monroe Instagram account shared close-up photos of the back of the dress that were taken on June 12, 2022.
In the pictures, rhinestones around the zipper are missing and there is fraying around the clamps. The zip’s seam also appears to be strained.
“So much for keeping ‘the integrity of the dress and the preservation.’ @ripleysbelieveitornot , was it worth it?” the social media page wrote, also adding a “before” photo of the back of the dress.
The comparison quickly went viral on Twitter, with many citing the fact that Kim couldn’t do up the zip as evidence that it was her who “ruined” the dress.
“Kim completely ruined the dress. Look at the fuckin jewels torn off. I just can't I gotta log off or my blood pressure,” one person tweeted. Another echoed: “Sick to my stomach like how could @KimKardashian be okay with ruining this precious piece of art. This dress will never be the same.”
One more wrote: “Idk why everyone is surprised that the dress made for Marilyn Monroe was returned back damaged…. Her and Kim K are not the same size… she said it didn’t fit…”
While someone else said: “I think Kim wearing Marilyn Monroe dress was the worst idea. How can you have someone wear history and not to mention it didn’t even fit her. Some of the crystals on the dress popped off smh.”
But considering the “before” photo used in the comparison was taken when it went to auction in 2016 — six years before Kim wore it — some were left questioning whether Kim really is the sole cause of the damage.
In addition to being shot in better lighting, the “before” comes from a video from the auction where Ripley’s bought the gown for nearly $5 million.
And a TikTok user has now drawn attention to a video that Ripley’s posted to document Kim’s fitting, which seemingly proves that the rhinestones were missing from the dress before Kim even tried it on.
In a lingering shot of the gown as it hung from a rail, the same flaws appear to be seen as the ones noted in the recent photo from the vault — albeit in a much more flattering light.
“The damages were already there before she even put the dress on — or tried to, at least,” the social media user claimed while focusing on a screen grab from the video. “This is footage of the dress that Ripley’s shared when Kim went to go visit and try it on for the first time.”
“The rhinestones are missing, the clamps are all messed up, and this isn’t even closed,” they continued. “So how do we know that the dress didn’t look like this [the ‘after’ photo] when clamped or closed?”
And viewers were largely in agreement in the post’s comments, with one writing: “People are always looking for a way to hate on Kim. Jealousy is not a good look!”
Another asked: “They really think it was gonna look exactly the same after so many years?” A third reiterated: “The video that shows the dress was in perfect condition was also filmed in 2016. It’s been 6+ years since it was filmed by that person.”
“The fabric tearing is 100% a result of it being old and the clamps being shut,” one more agreed. And a fifth commented: “I just wish the lighting in both pics of as the same so we could actually see the real difference. The lighting in second pic is way harsher.”
Other people pointed out that the dress is actually the responsibility of Ripley’s, which never left Kim alone with it and agreed to loan it to her.
And the museum’s vice president of licensing and publishing, Amanda Joiner, previously shared the extreme security measures that were taken to preserve the dress in an interview with the Daily Beast. “We basically had many conversations with Kim and her team and put a lot of requirements in place with security and with the handling of the dress,” she explained on May 5.
“The dress was never with Kim alone,” she added. "It was always with a Ripley’s representative. We always ensured that at any time we felt that the dress was in danger of ripping or we felt uncomfortable about anything, we always had the ability to be able to say we were not going to continue with this.”
Kim has not yet acknowledged the recent accusations against her, and Buzzfeed News has contacted her representative for comment.