(KTLA) — “Ripley’s Believe It or Not!” has denied claims that Kim Kardashian damaged Marilyn Monroe’s iconic “Happy Birthday Mr. President” dress at the Met Gala after photos were posted online allegedly showing damage to the multi-million dollar dress.
“Kim Kardashian’s walk up the Metropolitan Museum’s stairs at this year’s Met Gala caused quite the stir, but one thing Ripley’s Believe It or Not! can say with confidence is that it did not cause damage to Marilyn Monroe’s famed ‘Happy Birthday’ dress from 1962,” the museum said in a press release.
“Ripley’s Believe It or Not! is not the first owner of this dress. It was acquired at a Julien’s Auctions event in 2016 for $4.8 million,” the press release went on to say. “A report written on the dress’s condition in early 2017 states, ‘a number of the seams are pulled and worn. This is not surprising given how delicate the material is. There is puckering at the back by the hooks and eyes, among other instances of damage.’”
Scott Fortner, the owner of one of the world’s largest private collections of the late starlet, claimed the dress was damaged following its appearance at the prestigious event.
“So much for keeping ‘the integrity of the dress and the preservation,'” he wrote on Instagram. “Ripley’s Believe It or Not, was it worth it?”
Fortner posted various photos from different angles and lighting showing the dress before and after the 2022 Met Ball. In one zoomed-in photo, he shows where some of the crystals are missing and how some were “left hanging by a thread.” He called the damage “significant.”
The photos were sent to Fortner from Chad Michael Christian Morrisette on June 12, when he saw the dress displayed at Ripley’s Hollywood location.
When Kardashian donned the iconic gown for the Met Ball in May, Ripley’s released a statement that said, “With input from garment conservationists, appraisers, archivists, and insurance, both the Ripley’s and Kim knew they could make the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity happen. Agreeing that the garment’s condition was top priority, it was agreed that no alterations were to be made to the dress.”
The Skims owner only wore the dress for the gala’s red carpet, then immediately changed into a replica for the remainder of the event. She’s the only one, besides Monroe, to ever wear the ensemble. She received backlash for not only wearing the archival piece but also touting that she lost 16 pounds in just weeks to fit into it in the first place.
Monroe wore the multi-million-dollar ensemble on May 19, 1962, to sing then-President John F. Kennedy a breathy version of “Happy Birthday” at his Madison Square Garden birthday celebration.
Kim Kardashian has not responded to claims about the damage.