Kim Kardashian Slammed by Marilyn Monroe Dress Designer Over Met Gala Appearance

Bob Mackie, who was an assistant to Jean Louis when he drew the sketch for the gown Marilyn Monroe wore when she sang "Happy Birthday" to President John F. Kennedy in 1962, said it was a "big mistake" for Ripley's Believe It or Not! to allow Kim Kardashian to wear the dress. Kardashian wore the actual dress Monroe wore that historic night to the Met Gala only for the red carpet before changing into the replica gown she wore during the rest of the event. This led to plenty of controversies, as Monroe fans were horrified by the damage Kardashian could have done to the piece of history to others were shocked by the extreme diet Kardashian followed so she could wear it.

"I thought it was a big mistake," Mackie told Entertainment Weekly while promoting Turner Classic Movies' new Follow the Thread film series. "[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, who was only 23 when he drew the sketch for Louis, shared the same fears as historians who were concerned Kardashian could have damaged the dress.

"There are all the issues with the actual preservation of the dress and things like oxygen can affect a dress," TCM host Alicia Malone told EW. "Usually, these outfits are kept very much in controlled environments and we see that with the Met. The Costume Institute is so careful about how they are handling these historic items. So, it was quite alarming that she was able to wear it. I personally wish she wore a replica instead of the real thing."

Kardashian only wore the real dress to pose for red carpet photos alongside her boyfriend, comedian Pete Davidson. Before the gala, Kardashian went to the Ripley's archive in Florida, where she learned the dress could not fit over her behind. She carried a white fur coat to hide the problem. After the red carpet, she switched to a replica, which did not have the same problem.

In a Vogue interview, Kardashian said she also tried the dress on at her Calabasas, California home. There, she learned the dress did not fit at all. She was disappointed because she overestimated how curvy Monroe was. "I imagined I might be smaller in some places where she was bigger and bigger in places where she was smaller," Kardashian said. "So when it didn't fit me, I wanted to cry because it can't be altered at all."

The Kardashians star was so determined to fit into the real thing that she lost 16 pounds in a month. "I would wear a sauna suit twice a day, run on the treadmill, completely cut out all sugar and all carbs, and just eat the cleanest veggies and protein," she told Vogue. "I didn't starve myself, but I was so strict."

Kardashian's comments about the extreme diet drew as much condemnation as wearing the dress in the first place. "So wrong. So f—ed on 100s of levels," Riverdale star Lili Reinhart wrote on Instagram. "To openly admit to starving yourself for the sake of the Met Gala. When you know very well that millions of young men and women are looking up to you and listening to your every word."

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Historians also condemned Ripley's decision to let Kardashian wear the dress. Dr. Justine De Young, professor of fashion history at the Fashion Institute of Technology, told PEOPLE it was "irresponsible and unnecessary." She noted that Kardashian could have just worn the replica from the beginning. "Such an iconic piece of American history should not be put at risk of damage just for an ego-boost and photo-op," Young added.

Mackie spoke with Malone for TCM's Follow the Thread limited series, inspired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute's In America: An Anthology of Fashion exhibit. The series begins on June 4 on TCM and on June 17 on HBO Max. The movies featured on the first night are Stage Fight (1950) and Sabrina (1954), with Malone and Mackie introducing each.