Kim Kardashian denies damaging Marilyn Monroe’s 1962 gown

Kim Kardashian has finally addressed allegations that she damaged Marilyn Monroe’s famous “naked” dress while wearing the iconic dress to the Met Gala last month.

The Kardashians star, who left textile conservators and fashion historians “stunned” when she donned the delicate 1962 dress, told NBC News’ Today on Tuesday that she did not damage the dress while wearing it “for minutes ‘ for the red-carpet portion of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Gala.

Photos showing obvious wear and tear on the period dress reignited the controversy last week, but Kardashian doubled down on how she handles the Some Like It Hot star’s glittery garment and how much owner Ripley’s Believe It or Not! lent it to her.

The media-savvy mogul, who was the mother of the simmering controversy, began by saying she couldn’t believe people on social media didn’t know who Monroe was. That was apparently until the reality star represented the legendary mid-century superstar in the gilded glam-themed affair.

“That was the most shocking thing for me and that’s why I was so lucky to at least have that opportunity and that Ripley’s gave me the opportunity to share this moment so that … it can live on,” said Kardashian, 41 co-hosts Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie after they brought it up.

“I respect her [Monroe]. I understand how much this dress means to American history. And with that [gala] Since the theme was American, I thought, ‘What’s more American than Marilyn Monroe singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to the President of the United States?’” she said.

Monroe’s soufflé Jean Louis dress, designed by a young Bob Mackie, has been described as a “stunt” dress and “the original nude dress.” The “Seven-Year Itch” star had to be sewn into the piece prior to her performance in 1962 at a fundraiser at Madison Square Garden held a few months before her death. She then sang a breathless “Happy Birthday” to President John F. Kennedy, with whom she was romantically involved.

Monroe was the only person who had ever worn the dress. Because of its historical significance, conservators and historians lamented the garment’s coming out, fearing that Kardashian wearing it would set back conservation efforts. They argued that even microscopic damage could have long-term effects on the garment. (Mackie also told Entertainment Weekly that Kardashian was “a huge mistake” in wearing it.)

Ripley’s claimed that “great care was taken to preserve this piece of history,” despite earlier footage showing the Skims founder unable to pull the dress over her body during a fitting, and before and after photos, angered the fashion historians again.

“I mean, it was such a process,” Kardashian tried to explain Tuesday. “I had to change clothes. … I walked the red carpet in a robe and slippers. And I put on the dress at the bottom of the carpet. I walked up the stairs – I probably had it on for three or four minutes – and then I changed right at the top of the stairs.”

Kotb interjected: “All right [controversy], we keep seeing things like ‘the dress is ruined’, ‘the dress is that…’. All of that isn’t true?”

“No, and I mean, Ripley’s, we worked so well together,” Kardashian said. “There were handlers in gloves who put it on me.”

Ripley’s, a privately held, for-profit attraction company that owns Monroe’s dress, also insisted last week that Kardashian “did no damage to Marilyn Monroe’s famous 1962 ‘Happy Birthday’ dress” and that Kardashian will remain so for the remainder of the year wore a double dress Ripley’s said it did not pay her to wear the dress for the event and Kardashian did not pay the organization, instead Kardashian chose to make a donation to charities on Ripley’s behalf.

“I saw it as a role and I really wanted to wear this dress. It really mattered to me,” Kardashian added Tuesday, also addressing her dramatic 16-pound weight loss to fit in the dress — another controversy her Met Gala show sparked.

“And it actually taught me a lot about my lifestyle and my health, and I’ve continued to eat very healthily since then. I have now lost 21 pounds. I’m not trying to lose any more weight but I have more energy than ever, I’ve cut out so much sugar, a lot of junk food I’ve been eating I didn’t even realize it… and I just completely lost mine changed lifestyle.”

Kardashian’s wide-ranging interview – which is set to showcase her new SKKN by Kim skincare line – also covers her split from rapper Kanye West, her children, her sister Khloe Kardashian’s struggles, her legal career and her own relationship with “Saturday Night Live” star Peter Davidson . She also addressed a controversial quote she recently gave to The New York Times about potentially being willing to “eat poop every day” if it meant she’d look younger.

“I think you get to a place where you’re comfortable with aging — and I’m absolutely there — but I’ll do whatever it takes to make sure I look and feel good,” she clarified Tuesday . Kim Kardashian denies damaging Marilyn Monroe’s 1962 gown

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