Ripley's Claims Kim Kardashian “Did Not Cause Damage” To Marilyn Monroe’s Dress
It has been six and a half weeks since the Met Gala and we are still talking about Kim Kardashian wearing Marilyn Monroe’s “Happy Birthday Mr. President” dress. We’ve discussed the ethics of wearing what many consider to be a historical artifact, as well as Bob Mackie’s opinion on the matter (he’s opposed), and just when it seemed like the conversation was finally dying down, the Internet blew up again when photos emerged of the reported damage Kardashian caused the dress. Well, now Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, the owners of the piece who lent it to Kardashian, are speaking out, defending themselves and Kardashian in the process.
The latest news cycle around the dress emerged when ChadMichael Morrissette, a visual artist and photographer, claimed to have visited Ripley’s over the weekend to take photos of the gown. In a post that then began circulating the Internet, Morrissette’s photo is compared with a “before” pic, showing that many of the crystals that were previously intact are now missing or hanging on by a thread, and the seams look to be pulled.
But as we know, you can’t believe everything you see on the Internet. Not long after the photos went viral, Buzzfeed reported that the “before” image was taken in 2016 from a video when the dress went up for auction, not right before Kardashian wore the dress, as many assumed. A TikTok user even showed that in footage shared by Ripley’s during Kardashian’s fitting, the damage can already be seen, meaning it was there before Kardashian ever got her hands on it. Then, on Thursday, Ripley’s entered the conversation, claiming they can “say with confidence” that Kardashian “did not cause damage” to the dress. In a post shared to their site, Ripley’s explained that there is a report from early 2017 that states that the dress was already in decaying condition at the time. “A number of the seams are pulled and worn. This is not surprising given how delicate the material is,” the report stated, according to Ripley’s. It also noted “puckering at the back by the hooks and eyes” in addition to other damage.
Ripley’s went on to defend their decision to let Kardashian wear the dress, saying that the company has been collecting memorabilia and artifacts for over 100 years. “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,” they said, adding that just because Kardashian wore the dress, “the historical importance of the dress has not been negated, but rather highlighted” and now an “entirely new group of young people have now been introduced to the legacy of Marilyn Monroe.”
Likely, Ripley’s statement won’t end this conversation, but start yet another wave of discourse when it comes to this controversial moment. This is the Internet after all, and everyone wants the last word. It’s doubtful that the Marilyn fans are going to let Ripley’s walk away with that distinction.