Orlando-based Ripley Entertainment has responded to claims that Kim Kardashian damaged the Marilyn Monroe dress borrowed from the company to wear to the Met Gala last month.
The outing caused a stir, the company said “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 company stated on its website and on social media.
Ripley bought the dress at auction in 2016 for $4.8 million.
“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,” Ripley stated Thursday.
The gown, in which Monroe famously sang to President John F. Kennedy, gained attention again this week when collector Kevin Fortner posted Instagram photos he said he took at the Ripley’s exhibit for the dress at its Believe It or Not attraction in Hollywood, California. He said the back fabric had stretched and buckled around the zipper and that crystals were missing.
Ripley addressed other issues of the loan as well, noting that no money was exchanged between Kardashian and Ripley for the dress. The company previously said that Kardashian had worn the dress briefly on the red carpet, switching to a replica at the top of the museum stairs for the rest of the evening.
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“From the bottom of the Met steps, where Kim got into the dress, to the top where it was returned, the dress was in the same condition it started in,” Amanda Joiner, Ripley’s vice president of publishing and licensing, said on the company’s site. Joiner was “continuously with the dress the day of the gala and during transport from Orlando to New York.”
[ Meet the man who bought the dress for Ripley ]
The beige-rhinestone gown, was crafted by Hollywood costume designer Jean Louis.
“We’ve had security with it, armed guards with us for the entire time,” Joiner told the Orlando Sentinel the morning after the New York event.
The dress was on display at the Ripley attraction on International Drive in 2017, and it has spent time in the company vault in Central Florida.
“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,” the Ripley site says. “No matter which side of the debate you are on, the historical importance of the dress has not been negated, but rather highlighted. An entirely new group of young people have now been introduced to the legacy of Marilyn Monroe.”
The dress will stay in the California attraction “as is” into the fall, Ripley says.
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