Kim Kardashian Shouldn’t Wear Marilyn Monroe Dresses at the Met Gala, Fashion Experts Say

At the Gilded Glamor-themed Met Gala on Monday night, Kim Kardashian (and host Pete Davidson) swooped down on the red carpet to deliver the most talked-about look of the night. Kardashian arrived in Marilyn Monroe’s original, infamous “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” gown, metallic and almost transparent dress she wore to meet John F. Kennedy, her rumored lover , in 1962.

In an interview with Vogue, Kardashian explained that she borrowed the dress from the Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum in Orlando, which itself acquired the work from Julien’s Auctions in 2016 for $4.8 million; The dress – originally sketched by Bob Mackie, later designed by Jean-Louis – was the most expensive dress ever sold at auction. In a press release, Ripley’s described the dress as “very heavy”: more than 6,000 crystals were embedded in it, making the garment about 6 pounds.

In the aftermath of the Gala, ire began to stir up animosity among the fashion archivists community: several conservators of fragile garments, including the former Executive Director at the Art Museum’s Costume Institute. Metropolitan Art, expressed outrage that Kardashian had gone too far from pulling the original gown unconserved and wearing it, thereby potentially damaging the outfit.

“When I was head of the Costume Institute’s conservation lab, I had to accommodate requests from people (including Anna Wintour) for irreplaceable items in the collection to be worn by artists. models and celebrities,” conservationist Sarah Scaturro wrote in an Instagram caption.

A Met representative said the museum had no comment. The Daily Beast has reached out to Scaturro, Condé Nast and Wintour for comment.

Scaturro’s criticism was echoed by Marjolein Koek, textile conservator at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, and Madelief Hohé, a fashion curator at the Kunstmuseum Den Haag, Netherlands. (The Daily Beast has reached out to Koek and Hohé for comment.)

“In my opinion, [Kim wearing the dress] It’s not a good idea,” fashion historian Keren Ben-Horin told The Daily Beast. It raises a lot of ethical questions. Sarah makes the very important point that this is one of those historic pieces of clothing that shouldn’t leave the museum. For conservators, there are many things they consider before taking any action to restore the dress. They can sometimes leave sweat stains because that’s part of the integrity of the dress. “

“Historical clothing spoils it. Dots”

– Sarah Scaturro

Scaturro says that since Kardashian’s request to wear a Monroe dress has been met, it’s likely that other “fancy powerful people” will now be inspired to pressure conservationists into giving them borrowed “irreplaceable similar” outfits.

After the Daily Beast contacted Scaturro for comment, the custodian turned her Instagram account settings to private.

“Historical dressing ruins it,” Scaturro continued in his caption. “Dots. A 60-year-old embroidered silk dress will have problems, weaknesses. And Kim is definitely putting on products, lotions, creams, perfumes, body makeup, all of that. It will spoil it even more.”

Ben-Horin said: “Once a dress like that is put on, the body sweats, then there is makeup. “You can see that when Kim Kardashian walks up the stairs, it’s hard for her to take big steps. The dress can easily stain or tear, and I think letting the dress leave the museum was an unethical choice on their part.”

Actress Marilyn Monroe sang “Happy Birthday” to President John F. Kennedy at Madison Square Garden.


“I haven’t seen the comments on Instagram yet [Scaturro] wrote, but one of our missions is to educate and deliver unique and wonderful exhibits, people, places, and things that really appeal to the world”, said Amanda Joiner, Vice President President of Licensing and Publishing at Ripley Entertainment, told The Daily Beast. “We felt that this was a way to bring something that is 60 years old and very iconic to a new generation.”

On Tuesday, the Daily Beast reached out to Joiner – who oversees Kardashian’s Marilyn Met Gala project – by phone while she sat in a Monroe dress in a Manhattan sprint car with “a ton of security”.

After receiving a request to wear Kardashian’s dress a few months ago, “we had to make some decisions about whether to let Kim borrow the dress,” Joiner said. “We did two different accessories with her. The first time in LA in April and the second time in late April to see if the dress would fit. The biggest challenge we faced was that we really wanted to make sure that we kept the integrity of the garment and its preservation, because it is 60 years old and we feel that it is a masterpiece. iconic fashion products, both from a historical perspective, but also from a popular culture perspective”.

No one other than Marilyn Monroe has ever worn this dress, says Joiner, so allowing Kardashian to do a spin requires a lot of preparation.

“We basically had a lot of conversations with Kim and her team and put a lot of requirements on security and handling the costume,” says Joiner. “The dress was never just for Kim. It’s always been with Ripley’s agent. We always make sure that any time we feel the dress is in danger of tearing or we feel uncomfortable about anything, we always have the ability to say we are not going to continue. this “.

When Kardashian tried on a dress that Ripley usually keeps in a dark, humidity, and temperature-controlled cellar, she discovered Monroe’s custom look didn’t match. Determined to make it happen, Kardashian went on a diet and announced she had lost 16 pounds in 3 weeks.

“I would never want to sit in it or eat in it or take any risk of any damage to it and I wouldn’t put on my body makeup like I usually do.”

– Kim Kardashian

The strict measures to protect the dress, which cannot be changed, do not stop there. On Gala night, Kardashian was dressed up by a Ripley’s glove-wearing conservationist, and she wore the dress only during her red carpet appearance before quickly changing out of it. For the rest of the evening, she wears a replica, and has three on hand in total just in case she needs them.

“I have the utmost respect for the dress and its significance to American history,” said Kardashian Vogue. “I would never want to sit in it or eat in it or take any risk of any damage to it and I wouldn’t put on my body makeup like I usually do. Everything had to be timed and I had to practice walking up the stairs.”

Normally, celebrities wear haute couture or vintage gowns to red carpet events, but because Monroe’s dress was so popular, the stakes at the Met Gala were particularly high.


The dress Marilyn Monroe wore when she sang “Happy Birthday Mr. President” to US President John F. Kennedy in May 1962, is displayed in a glass case at the Julien Auction House in Los Angeles, California on November 17, 2016, before its auction.

FREDERIC J. BROWN / AFP via Getty Images

“The fabric is very, very thin and the stones are hand-sewn into the dress,” says Joiner. To ship the dress from Ripley’s in Orlando to Calabasas for accessories, Joiner and her team flew on a private jet sent by Kardashian.

“When we shipped the dress, the dress was always in its form,” says Joiner. (A skirt pattern is essentially a body-only dummy without the head or limbs.) “The dress pattern is fitted specifically to the dress and the fabric on the pattern is specially fitted there to preserve the archival quality. . There is storage paper also placed in the box, and then the box is not even under the cargo section. It goes in the plane with us. ”

“We all have a fantasy of wearing something from a museum. That’s what makes fashion shows successful. But you can not.”

– Keren Ben-Horin

Next, Ripley’s will return the dress to a vault in Orlando until Memorial Day Weekend, when it is scheduled to be displayed at Ripley’s in Hollywood. Even with every precaution taken, responsibility for protecting the dress rested with Ripley, which Ben-Horin said they had failed to do.

“Once a dress is included in a museum collection, you won’t let [Kardashian] leave with Mona Lisa, I think it’s the same thing,” said Ben-Horin. “We can’t expect people to understand conservation issues, but I think it’s the museum itself that has a role in setting very clear guidelines and codes of ethics for how pieces can leave the museum.”

In other words, even if Kardashian wanted to respect the dress and its historical value as truly genuine, her vision should never have been allowed to materialize.

“We all have the illusion of wearing something from the museum,” says Ben-Horin. “That’s what makes fashion shows successful. But you can’t, and the museum has to educate people about why they can’t do it. ” Kim Kardashian Shouldn’t Wear Marilyn Monroe Dresses at the Met Gala, Fashion Experts Say


Hung is a Interreviewed U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Hung joined Interreviewed in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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