Ripley believe it or not! on Thursday denied claims that Kim Kardashian's wearing of Marilyn Monroe's iconic "Happy Birthday" dress caused him new harm.
ChadMichael Morrisette, who owns a mannequin supply company and once handled the skintight sparkler Kardashian briefly wore to the Met Gala, said he spotted fresh damage to the crystal-covered garment when he stopped by to take a look at a location of Ripley's in Los Angeles.
Morrisette shared photos taken of the 60-year-old dress on June 12 with a friend and fellow Monroe collector, who caused a stir earlier this week when he posted before-and-after shots on social media.
"It makes me sad. I burst into tears," Morrisette told The Associated Press.
Kardashian transformed into a replica after climbing the Grand Staircase of the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 2. She only wore the nude-colored dress for a few minutes. Ripley's bought the dress at auction in 2016 for $4.8 million. Morrisette said he was hired to stage Monroe memorabilia, including the look Monroe wore in 1962 to serenade then-President John F. Kennedy on his 45th birthday.
"From the bottom of the Met steps where Kim put the dress on to the top where it was returned, the dress was in the same condition it started," Amanda Joiner, vice president of publishing and licensing at Ripley's testimony.
She was with the dress on the day of the gala and during transit from Orlando, Fla., where it was last displayed, to New York, according to Ripley's.
Morrisette's photos, along with pictures of the dress ahead of the Met Gala, lit up social media amid criticism at the time of the gala that Kardashian shouldn't have worn the delicate and historically notable gown. It was made from a flammable substance that is no longer on the market.
Morrisette said he was stunned to see his condition. He said he saw the fabric was missing from the back zip and hook closures with new hand-sewn crystals. He also said the shoulders appeared stressed. He said the extent of the damage was nonexistent, having viewed the dress more than a dozen times over the years.
Ripley's said shortly after the gala that the dress had been taken care of and no alterations were allowed. Kardashian transformed into a replica after reaching the top of the stairs. She kept the back of the dress tucked under a white jacket, leading to speculation that the dress wasn't fully closed.
According to Ripley's, a report written in early 2017 on the condition of the dress stated that "some of the seams are pulled and frayed. No wonder considering how delicate the material is. Ruffles can be seen on the back of the hooks and eyes,” among other damage.
Decorated with more than 2,500 crystals, the dress was custom-made for Monroe. It was based on a sketch by famous designer Bob Mackie, who was then working for client Jean Louis.
When asked about Kardashian's reaction to the damage controversy, a representative passed on Ripley's testimony without further comment.
Ripley's said it allowed Kardashian to wear the dress to keep Monroe's legacy alive.
"Our mission is to both entertain and educate visitors and fans, and spark conversation, like the discourse on Marilyn Monroe's dress does exactly that," the company said. "Regardless of which side of the debate you are on, the historical importance of the dress has not been negated, but rather emphasized. A whole new group of young people have now been introduced to the legacy of Marilyn Monroe.”