It appears that Marilyn Monroe's iconic "Happy Birthday, Mr. President" dress didn't make it out of its Met Gala 2022 appearance unscathed.
On June 13, the Instagram account Marilyn Monroe Collection shared photos of the dress taken at the Ripley's Believe It or Not! museum in Hollywood. The post shows what is claimed to be significant damage to the back of the Jean Louis creation, specifically snagged fabric beside the hook enclosures.
"So much for keeping 'the integrity of the dress and the preservation.' @ripleysbelieveitornot , was it worth it?" the archive account wrote in their caption.
After Marilyn's performance for US President John F. Kennedy in 1962, reality TV star Kim Kardashian is the only person known to have worn the 60-year-old gown. The move, which was greenlighted by Ripley's, received mixed reactions from the public from the get-go. However, the museum was quick to pacify their concerns.
"Great care was taken to preserve this piece of pop culture history," the Ripley's team wrote on the day of the event. "With input from garment conservationists, appraisers, and archivists, the garment’s condition was top priority. Believe It or Not! no alterations were to be made to the dress and Kim even changed into a replica after the red carpet!"
Other safety measures were also employed before the piece was officially allowed out of storage for the Met. According to Amanda Joiner, Vice President of Licensing and Publishing at Ripley Entertainment, they did two separate fittings with Kim before the event to make sure the dress would fit.
She told The Daily Beast, "The dress was never with Kim alone. 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 not were going to continue with this."
Prior to the Met Gala, Marilyn's crystal-adorned dress was valued at approximately $5 million. It is also considered the most expensive dress in the world.
As of writing, Kim Kardashian and the Ripley's team have yet to address the situation.
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