Marilyn Monroe's Dress Designer Bob Mackie Says Kim Kardashian Wearing Her Gown Was a 'Big Mistake'
By Miguel A. Melendez
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Kim Kardashian made a "big mistake" when she wore Marilyn Monroe's gown to the 2022 Met Gala, this according to the fashion designer who drew the sketch for the Jean Louis dress that the late actress wore during her “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” performance.
Bob Mackie spoke to Entertainment Weekly and didn't mince words about how he felt after Kardashian's stunt. Mackie was only 23 years old when, under the direction of Louis, drew the sketch for Monroe. At the time, Louie said he didn't know what occasion Monroe would be wearing the dress for but, nonetheless, the design was specifically for Monroe, hence his feelings about Kardashian wearing the sparkly dress.
"I thought it was a big mistake," the 82-year-old designer told EW. "[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."
According to the entertainment magazine, Mackie also echoed historians' concerns that wearing the gown could prove damaging to the preservation and structural integrity of the dress.
Turner Classic Movies host Alicia Malone, who spoke with Mackie as part of the network's film series Follow the Thread, also told EW she agreed with Mackie's assertion that the integrity of the gown could be compromised after Kardashian, who lost 16 pounds in three weeks to fit into the gown, strutted arm in arm to the Met Gala with her boyfriend, Pete Davidson.
"There are all the issues with the actual preservation of the dress and things like oxygen can affect a dress," she 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."
As for how she was able to land the gown, which sold for $4.8 million at Julien’s Auctions in 2016 and was later acquired by Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Museum, Kim explained, "I’m a big fan of auctions and I own several JFK pieces so I know the owner of Julien’s. He was able to connect me [with Ripley’s] and that’s how the conversation started."
As it turns out, the "Happy Birthday, Mr. President" gown is far from the only Monroe gown Kardashian has previously worn. The 41-year-old SKIMS founder revealed that, after the Met Gala, she slipped into another one of Monroe's iconic looks. She took to Instagram and said that, to top off the night, "I had the honor of changing into Marilyn Monroe's Norman Norell dress that she wore to the Golden Globes in 1962 -- where she received the Henrietta Award For World Film Favorite."