Marilyn Monroe's Dress Worn to the Met Gala by Kim Kardashian Appears to Be Damaged: PHOTOS

Marilyn Monroe famously wore the sparkling gown to serenade then-president John F. Kennedy on his 45th birthday in 1962

Courtesy The Marilyn Monroe Collection
Photo: Gotham/Getty; Courtesy The Marilyn Monroe Collection

A piece of pop culture history may be forever altered.

Marilyn Monroe's iconic Jean Louis gown that Kim Kardashian wore to the 2022 Met Gala on May 2 appears to show signs of damage, as seen in before-and-after photos first shared on social media by Marilyn Monroe historian and collector Scott Fortner and obtained by PEOPLE.

The dress, which Kardashian wore for just mere minutes while taking photos on the Met Gala red carpet before changing into a replica, is currently on display at the Ripley's Believe It or Not! Museum in Hollywood, California. Fortner was provided the images by visual artist and creative director ChadMichael Morrisette, who owns the company Oh Mannequin! and collaborated with Julien's on a number of celebrity auctions, including the 2016 event in which Ripley's bought the famed dress for $4.81 million.

Reps for Kardashian and Ripley's have yet to respond to PEOPLE's request for comment. At the time, Ripley's maintained the integrity of the gown was kept intact.

Morrisette tells PEOPLE he went to see the gown on display at Ripley's in Hollywood on June 12, 2022, which is when he noticed the alleged damage and took photos and video. In the images shared by Morrisette, the dress, made of a delicate silk soufflé fabric, appears to be missing crystals. It also appears to have several small rips along the zipper seam.

"I was hired by Julien's [in 2016] to put the dress on display, and not just the dress, I put Marilyn Monroe's entire auction on display," Morrisette tells PEOPLE. "I've handled more of her artifacts than anyone in the world. I've touched her driver's license. I've touched her high school yearbook. I've touched her ID card to Korea, when she went to Korea with Joe DiMaggio. I've touched everything that's ever come up for sale, including that dress."

He adds: "I know this dress, and the damage is so apparent. I left Ripley's in tears. I ran out with my hand over my mouth, holding back the tears, because I could not believe the damage that they allowed to happen for a publicity stunt."

Fortner, who has one of world's largest, privately-held collections of Marilyn Monroe memorabilia, tells PEOPLE that as a collector it's been difficult to follow the dress's current journey.

"I was extremely disappointed to see that the dress actually had suffered significant damage," Fortner says. "Ripley's made several statements immediately following the Met Gala about how important it was to protect the gown and maintain its integrity."

"The gown's original fabric isn't even available today. Crystals that were seen in photos and videos of the dress prior to the Met Gala are no longer present, and some are literally hanging by threads. The fabric of the dress is ripped and pulled apart," he adds.

In May, Ripley's shared that the efforts were made to preserve the gown that Monroe wore to serenade then-president John F. Kennedy on his 45th birthday in 1962.

"Great care was taken to preserve this piece of pop culture history," the company wrote on Instagram at the time. "With input from garment conservationists, appraisers, and archivists, the garment's condition was top priority. Believe It or Not! no alterations were to be made to the dress and Kim even changed into a replica after the red carpet!⁠"

Courtesy The Marilyn Monroe Collection
Courtesy The Marilyn Monroe Collection

The SKIMS mogul also opened up about preserving the iconic dress while attending the event.

"I'm extremely respectful to the dress and what it means to American history. I would never want to sit in it or eat in it or have any risk of any damage to it and I won't be wearing the kind of body makeup I usually do," she said. "Everything had to be specifically timed and I had to practice walking up the stairs."

In order to fit into the gown, Kardashian, 41, famously lost 16 lbs. in three weeks as the dress — which was first flown to her via private plane from Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum in Orlando, Florida — originally didn't fit and couldn't be altered.

"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 of her strict workout routine. "I didn't starve myself, but I was so strict."

MET Gala Kim and Pete
Kim Kardashian and Pete Davidson at the 2022 Met Gala. Matt Baron/Shutterstock

Fortner also told PEOPLE at the time that the Hollywood legend wanted the dress to be totally unique to her.

"When Marilyn knew she'd be performing at President John F. Kennedy's birthday gala she contacted Louis and said, 'I want you to design a truly historical dress, a dazzling dress that's one of a kind.' She asked that it be a dress that, 'only Marilyn Monroe could wear,' " Fortner said.

"Marilyn stood nude as the fabric for the dress was literally sculpted to her body to precisely match every curve. The fabric, which is a flesh-colored soufflé gauze imported from France, was layered strategically so she wouldn't need to wear undergarments," he continued.

Fortner added that Monroe's dress "fit her perfectly. The gown worn by anyone else will not be a precise fit. In this case, Kim Kardashian's measurements are somewhat different than Marilyn's. It's logically assumed the fabric and seams were stressed."

RELATED VIDEO: Marilyn Monroe Birthday Dress Designer Bob Mackie Calls Kim Kardashian Rewear a 'Big Mistake'

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The collector, who witnessed Ripley's buy the dress for $4.81 million in 2016, noted that "the age of the gown" is also an "issue" as Monroe wore it in May 1962, making the garment 60 years old.

However, Marilyn Monroe's estate said the Hollywood legend would have been delighted to see Kardashian wear the gown.

Nick Woodhouse, president and CMO of the Authentic Brands Group, which runs Monroe's estate, said that his team believes the Gentleman Prefer Blondes star would have celebrated the rewear and cited the similarities between the two women, according to TMZ.

with reporting by Julie Farin.

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