Kim Kardashian rocking Marilyn Monroe’s dress at the 2022 Met Gala was a moment, but not everyone was loving it.
Experts are now calling out the reality star for her “irresponsible and unnecessary” decision to wear Monroe’s famous “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” dress at the fashion event on Monday night, and their criticisms are rather harsh!
If you didn’t know, the slim-fit and bedazzled gown Kim wore was originally created for Monroe in 1962 for John F. Kennedy’s birthday celebration. It’s one of the actress’s most iconic moments, making the dress extra special. But has its value been tarnished by the SKIMS founder?!
Dr. Justine De Young, a professor of fashion history at the Fashion Institute of Technology, spoke out to People about the shocking outfit choice on Tuesday, slamming Kardashian for “risking the historic dress just so she could enjoy an “ego-boost,” saying:
“She can – and did – commission a replica which would be indistinguishable from the original. Such an iconic piece of American history should not be put at risk of damage just for an ego-boost and photo-op.”
Like many fans, she also hated the way the 41-year-old gloated about losing 16 pounds in three weeks to fit into the dress, adding:
“Crash-dieting to fit into the original dress is also an unfortunate message to be sending one more in keeping with ideals of the 1960s than today.”
Meanwhile, Monroe historian and collector Scott Fortner thinks the whole thing is a “cause for concern,” telling the outlet:
“While I understand the appeal of wanting to wear such an iconic gown, it can’t be dismissed or overlooked that anyone other than Marilyn Monroe wearing the famous ‘Happy Birthday Mr. President’ dress might be cause for concern for several reasons. The dress was custom-made for Marilyn Monroe. It’s not an off-the-rack garment. It was created by Academy Award-winning designer Jean Louis, who had designed costumes for Marilyn’s final two films: The Misfits and Something’s Got to Give.”
Scott has one of the world’s largest collections of Marilyn’s personal property, and because of that, he sincerely believes the American icon would have wanted the dress to stay uniquely hers, explaining:
“When Marilyn knew she’d be performing at President John F. Kennedy’s birthday gala she contacted Louis and said, ‘I want you to design a truly historical dress, a dazzling dress that’s one of a kind.’ She asked that it be a dress that, ‘only Marilyn Monroe could wear.’”
Not only was it made especially for her, but Marilyn went through an incredibly detailed fitting to perfectly match the dress to her body, he continued:
“Marilyn stood nude as the fabric for the dress was literally sculpted to her body to precisely match every curve. The fabric, which is a flesh-colored soufflé gauze imported from France, was layered strategically so she wouldn’t need to wear undergarments.”
All that is jeopardized now that Pete Davidson’s girlfriend took it upon herself to wear the gown, he noted:
“[Monroe’s dress] fit her perfectly. The gown worn by anyone else will not be a precise fit. In this case, Kim Kardashian’s measurements are somewhat different than Marilyn’s. It’s logically assumed the fabric and seams were stressed.”
And he’s not even convinced that Kim’s diet allowed her to fit into the dress properly! Scott speculated:
“Was it able to be zipped and closed in the back? The fur she wore on the red carpet hid this area and so that’s an ongoing question. Yet, there are photos of her in the gown that show it fully zipped and closed in the back.”
He also pointed out that just because Marilyn was considered curvy back in the day doesn’t mean that she was the same body type as The Kardashians star:
“One of the most enduring topics about Marilyn Monroe, aside from the manner in which she died, is her true size. What were her body measurements? What size did she wear? Was she plus-sized?”
Elaborating on these different body measurements, Fortner shared:
“Several years ago, I wrote an article on the topic and I demonstrated Marilyn’s true size using actual clothing from her personal everyday wardrobe which I now own. Yes, she wore a size 14 Pucci blouse in 1962. However, a 1962 size 14 is not a 2022 size 14 due to vanity sizing.”
The one silver lining to all of this, in the collector’s opinion, is that now fans can get a better look at what the dress looked like in movement, he explained:
“There are limited photos from the Kennedy gala, and only low quality, black and white film footage of Marilyn in the dress. While I wouldn’t have approved anyone wearing Marilyn’s gown were it part of my collection due to its value and overall significance, at least now we have seen what it looked like ‘in motion’ when worn by Marilyn.”
You can watch the historic moment Marilyn first wore the dress (below).
Now, considering that this dress is worth $4.81 million — that’s what Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! paid for it in 2016 — it’s no wonder people would be worried that it might have been damaged in the Met Gala process. It’s 60 years old, for goodness sake!
But what does the Gentlemen Prefer Blondes star’s estate think of all of this?!
Because Ripley’s purchased the dress a few years ago, the estate actually had no involvement in the Met Gala decision. The model didn’t even ask their permission! (Though she did take all the proper steps, so there are no hard feelings.) But, interestingly, their perspective directly opposes that of the historians: they think Marilyn would have LOVED to see Kimmy Kakes honoring her by wearing the dress!
Nick Woodhouse, the president and CMO of Authentic Brands Group, the company that runs Monroe’s estate, told TMZ that he and his partners think Marilyn would have been thrilled to have Kim wear her dress. They are astonished that it has once again been brought back to the forefront of fashion and pop culture. It is pretty cool considering it’s been so long!
Woodhouse also revealed that had Kardashian come to them for permission to wear the gown, they would have said yes, especially now that they have been at the receiving end of so many positive shout-outs as a direct result of the viral moment. Nick also thinks Kim was the perfect person to wear the dress since she and the late performer have a lot of similarities, specifically that they are strong, powerful, and independent entrepreneurs who love being in front of the camera. Because of this, he believes this was a great moment to keep Marilyn’s memory alive and introduce her to a whole new generation. Amazing!
Such a different perspectives! Thoughts, Perezcious readers? Are you happy or upset about the dress?