Marilyn’s dress designer says it was ‘a mistake’ for Kim to wear it

(CNN) — Bob Mackie, the designer who sketched a crystal-covered gown once worn by Marilyn Monroe, said “it was a huge mistake” for Kim Kardashian to wear the gown to this year’s Met Gala.

Early in his career, Mackie worked as a cartoonist for Paramount dressmaker Edith Head and Jean Louis, for whom he illustrated the slinky dress Monroe wore when she sang “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” to John F. Kennedy in 1962.

“I thought it was a big mistake,” Mackie said during an interview with Entertainment Weekly, published Monday. “(Marilyn) was a goddess. A crazy goddess, but a goddess. She was just fabulous.”

“Nobody shoots like that. And it was made for her. It was designed for her. No one else should be seen in that dress,” she added, according to Entertainment Weekly.

CNN has reached out to representatives for Mackie and Kardashian for comment.

Marilyn Monroe sings “Happy Birthday” to President John F. Kennedy at Madison Square Garden, for his upcoming 45th birthday. Credit: Bettmann Archive/Getty Images

Kardashian wore the sparkly gown in honor of the 2022 Met Gala theme, which was based on America’s Gilded Age, an era 30 years in the 19th century when industrialization widened the country’s wealth gap. She only wore the dress for a few minutes on the red carpet, before changing into a replica for the rest of the event.

She completed the dress with slicked-back blonde hair, possibly a reference to Monroe’s trademark platinum locks, and a white stole.

Museum and event franchise Ripley’s Believe It or Not! lent Kardashian the dress, having bought it at auction in 2016 for $4.8 million. No adjustments to the original dress were allowed, per her agreement with Ripley’s.

“I am so honored to wear the iconic dress worn by Marilyn Monroe in 1962 to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to President John F. Kennedy,” Kardashian said in a post on her verified Instagram account.

“Thank you Ripley’s Believe It or Not! for giving me the opportunity to debut this evocative piece of fashion history for the first time since the late Marilyn Monroe wore it. I will be forever grateful for this moment,” she added.

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Kardashian’s decision to wear the dress drew criticism from heritage industry bodies, including the International Council of Museums (ICOM).

“Historic garments must not be worn by anyone, public or private figures,” ICOM, an international governing body for heritage organisations, said in a statement earlier this month.

“Although the dress belongs to a private collection, the heritage must be understood as belonging to humanity, regardless of which institution has custody of the property,” ICOM added.

“As museum professionals, we strongly advise all museums to avoid lending historical garments for use, as they are artifacts of the material culture of their time and must be preserved for future generations,” ICOM said.

After working with Head and Louis, Mackie became an internationally acclaimed costume designer whose clientele has included such stars as Cher, Whitney Houston and Dolly Parton.

He was nominated for three Academy Awards and won nine Emmy Awards, and was honored with a retrospective at the FIT Museum in 1999 for his contribution to fashion and costume design, according to his website.

CNN’s Megan C. Hills contributed reporting.

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