Dressgate

I’ve avoided talking about Kim Kardashian wearing Marilyn Monroe’s dress because I wanted to see the damage that was done to it. Marilyn fans are sticklers for collecting photographs, and I knew it was only a matter of time before they started rolling in…and what came in was shocking to say the least.

Today we’re going to look at the timeline of this whole fiasco and see what exactly has become of this dress.

November 17, 2016 – Julien’s sells the dress to Ripley’s believe it or not for over $5 million with fees. Right before this auction, Scott Fortner grabs the following footage of the dress:

2017 – 2019 – The dress is reportedly scheduled to travel to every Ripley’s in the United States and Canada. This plan does not appear to have come to fruition. Ripley’s owner Jimmy Pattison used the dress to debut the expansion of a grocery chain he also owns. There is noticeable damage on the custom dress form that had looked immaculate when Fortner filmed it. There is also some damage to the dress. The following photos are all from Uriah Redden when the dress stopped in Florida in 2018.

I want to note on this one that you can see where there was some pulling and fraying already on the hook and eye closure.
Right strap (when viewing from behind)
Left strap (when viewing from behind)

2020-May 2022 – The dress is stored at Ripley’s Orlando.

April 21, 2022 – Kim Kardashian is spotted leaving Ripley’s Believe It or Not in Orlando. She and her boyfriend, Pete Davidson, spent three hours at the location, leading fans to speculate if she was wearing Marilyn Monroe’s dress to the 2022 Met Gala.

Image Courtesy of The Daily Mail

This is also when Kim is given the fake strands of Marilyn’s hair and footage is made when the dress was forced up on her. Based on the footage, and I am going to admit right now that it’s not the clearest, the stones appear to have remained intact during that process–or at least most of them.

May 2, 2022 – Kim wears the gown to the Met Gala to walk the red carpet. She changes into a replica. Ripley’s releases a statement that says, “The multi-million-dollar dress has rarely been separated from its dress form, let alone worn by anyone other than Monroe. Great care was taken to preserve this piece of history. With input from garment conservationists, appraisers, archivists, and insurance, the garment’s condition was top priority. No alterations were made to the dress, and Kim Kardashian even changed into a replica before entering the Gala.”

May 3-5, 2022 – Scott and I work together to break #Hairgate, pointing out that Kim was given fake strands of hair.

June 13, 2022 – Scott releases Chad Michael Morrisette’s photos of the dress at Ripley’s. Stones are noticeably missing and the slight fraying had become severe ripping. The custom dress form appears to have more damage than it did in 2018.

See that little stickpen in the right hand corner? We’ll get to that in a minute.

I made this little chart so people can better understand the missing stones. The reference picture is from 2016, but you can match it to Redden’s photos above as well. 1 is a starting stone and #4 was already missing, meaning 11 are missing from the dress in that one section. Considering the whole gown is beaded with an estimated 8,000 crystals and rhinestones, I would reasonably assume dozens (if not over 100) were lost.

Left: 2016, Right: 2022
The seam with fraying in 2018
Ripley’s footage of the gown shows stones are missing since it went in its care, but not the quantity we see in June.

May 14, 2022 – Darrell Rooney, author of Harlow in Hollywood, visits the dress and takes a picture of right the strap which is shared by Scott.

The right strap in 2022
The right strap in 2018
The strap is visible on Kim on April 21, 2022 with no ripping.
Train has apparently lost a good portion of the beading. Thanks goes to Rick Carl for sharing this in Marilyn Remembered’s Facebook group.
The kickback train in 2018

I’m not going to share opinions on this piece and will update as new damage becomes visible. At the time of writing this, representatives for Kardashian and Ripley’s have not released statements.

4 Comments

  1. From one who shops second hand and loves it, who else could have afforded to bring it out one last time?

    No one. And no one else wanted too. It’s a compliment to Marilyn. It was seen on the red carpet , worn by someone in a new love relationship. Little girls and big girls seeing that dress. It won’t be stretched or torn ever again because no one will wear it. The poor Kardashian tried to reduce herself. I wish a more moderate body could have been found. I think it was wonderful. I love Marilyn forever and all of you too.

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    1. I think it’s a double-edged sword. I talked more about my feelings on it with Suzie Kennedy on her podcast, Living with Marilyn. At the end of the day, it’s a historical garment. If she had appeared in the Golden Globes dress, which was a backup option for her, I don’t think there would be an uproar to the same extent that we’re seeing. That one was an off-the-rack gown.

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