History is meant to be preserved, not recycled.
That seems to be the consensus regarding Kim Kardashian’s controversial decision to wear — and alter — an iconic dress first donned by Marilyn Monroe to this year’s Met Gala.
The gown, which Kardashian called “stunning” and “skintight,” is adorned with more than 6,000 hand-sewn crystals by Jean Louis. The 60-year-old garment was designed for Monroe, who wore it back in 1962 when she famously sang “Happy Birthday” to then-President John F. Kennedy.
Thank you Ripley’s Believe It or Not! for giving me the opportunity to debut this evocative piece of fashion history for the first time since the late Marilyn Monroe wore it. I am forever grateful for this moment. ✨🕊 pic.twitter.com/XiXNclCEgB
— Kim Kardashian (@KimKardashian) May 3, 2022
Monroe’s sultry presidential serenade — which has been parodied in pop culture countless times — became one of the most emblematic and unforgettable moments of the 20th century. However, the moment also sparked rumours about the more-than-friendly nature of Monroe and Kennedy’s relationship.
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As a result, the flashy dress (which was considered provocative) is regarded as one of the actress’s most iconic looks. Unfortunately, it was also one of her last, as she passed away that very same year.
This week, the garment was loaned to Kardashian by Ripley’s Believe it or Not!, who purchased the gown for a whopping $4.8 million at a 2016 auction.
Many have been quick to criticize Kardashian’s decision to modify the dress and change its historical context. Here are some notable Twitter reactions.
Don’t care what people say, Marilyn was iconic and the dress should have been retired on her behalf or placed somewhere iconic dresses stay.
— ola egbuonu (@ngalakwesi) May 3, 2022
It had Marilyn Monroe’s dna practically, now it’s lost from the moment you put it on, could you just have ordered an identical one but the original?!! That’s playing with history. How awful.
Clearly money does anything. sometimes for bad.
— Monii🤍 (@itsmonicavdiaz) May 3, 2022
bruh has marilyn dna in that dress, not only did you dare to touch it but you dressed it for Instagram likes. This should be in the museum, it’s iconic, and you don’t measure up to Marilyn to wear it, and I honestly like you but we have to be honest
— 𝐁𝐞𝐚 🍒 (@ilovemeloveme1) May 3, 2022
I don’t dislike you Kim, i actually like you but by wearing this you destroyed the history the dress represents, it was not a clothe anymore, it was an antique for fashion, with historical value that now is lost :/
— wonder ミ☆ (@debnammendess) May 3, 2022
this is literally so disrespectful to marilyn. it was HER dress and her moment…no one should even be allowed to touch it let alone WEAR IT
— katelyn 〄 (@arichelIas) May 3, 2022
Not only did you tarnish the value and meaning of Marilyn’s dress, it didn’t even fit the theme. L all around
— tippytapwater 🏴☠️❤ (@1tapwater) May 3, 2022
Sacrilege! It’s tarnished forever!
— Helen Humphrey (@hhfromvegas) May 3, 2022
I don’t understand why you didn’t do something original? You are your own person, whether you like it or not. You should have been you. It actually could have been interesting. Marilyn was herself, and one of a kind. Totally inappropriate to copy her.
— Katie (@net2catchwater) May 3, 2022