Kim Kardashian wearing Marilyn Monroe’s dress was a ‘big mistake’, says Bob Mackie

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Bob Mackie drew the original sketch for the iconic Jean-Louis dress (Getty)
Bob Mackie drew the original sketch for the iconic Jean-Louis dress (Getty)

American fashion designer Bob Mackie has criticised Ripley’s Believe It or Not! museum for allowing Kim Kardashian to wear Marilyn Monroe’s iconic Jean-Louis dress to the Met Gala.

The SKIMS mogul made headlines earlier this month when she arrived on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art wearing the same form-fitting nude dress Monroe donned to serenade US President John F Kennedy on his 45th birthday in 1962.

Mackie, who drew the original sketch for the dress while working as an assistant to the French costume designer, told Entertainment Weekly that he believes “nobody else” should have been seen in the dress, as it was made for Monroe.

“I thought it was a big mistake,” Mackie said. “[Marilyn] was a goddess. A crazy goddess, but a goddess.

“She was just fabulous. Nobody photographs like that. And it was done for her. It was designed for her. Nobody else should be seen in that dress.”

Mackie recalled designing the garment in a recent interview with Vogue ahead of the Met Gala, disclosing that he had “no idea” where Monroe planned to wear the dress until he saw the photographs in a newspaper.

“Marilyn looked amazing and accomplished exactly what she intended to,” he said.

“Fox Studios would not let her wear anything too revealing in films, because of the previous nude calendar scandal. And she didn’t really care, because she had already been fired.

“Her figure was at its peak, the dress was a classic shape of fashion at the time.”

While Kardashian quickly changed into a replica after posing for pictures on the Met Gala red carpet, the dress’s brief outing sparked concern among historians.

Sarah Scaturro, a chief conservator at the Cleveland Museum of Art and formerly a conservator at the Met’s Costume Institute said that it could set a precedent for the treatment of other historic costumes.

“I’m frustrated because it sets back what is considered professional treatment for historic costume,” Scaturro told The LA Times.

In 1986, the Costume Society of America passed a resolution that would prohibit wearing objects in collections.

Its mission states: CSA encourages persons and organizations charged with the preservation of costume to prohibit the wearing or modeling of articles intended for preservation.”

Scaturro added: “My worry is that colleagues in historic costume collections are now going to be pressured by important people to let them wear garments.”

Others also worried that the dress could have been damaged. The gown was sold to Ripley’s for $4.8 million (£3.8 million) in 2016 and holds the record for the most expensive dress sold at auction.

It is stored by Ripley’s in a dark vault, which is controlled at 68 degrees Fahrenheit and 40-50 per cent humidity.

Kardashian said she was “extremely respectful to the dress and what it means to American history”.

“I would never want to sit in it or eat in it or have any risk of any damage to it and I won’t be wearing the kind of body makeup I usually do,” she told Vogue.

“Everything had to be specifically timed and I had to practice walking up the stairs.”