Kim Kardashian raised eyebrows at the Met Gala this year when she arrived wearing Marilyn Monroe’s famous “Mr. President” gown and now fashion designer Bob Mackie has voiced his opinion on the spectacle.
It’s safe to say that he wasn’t a fan.
Mackie, who is currently featured in Turner Classic Movies’ series “Follow the Thread,” spoke to Entertainment Weekly about Kardashian donning Monroe’s dress for fashion’s biggest night.
“I thought it was a big mistake,” he told the publication. “(Marilyn) was a goddess. A crazy goddess, but a goddess. She was just fabulous. Nobody photographs like that.”
He continued, “And it was done for her. It was designed for her. Nobody else should be seen in that dress.”The fashion expert has firsthand knowledge about the dress’s significance. At the start of his career, he actually drew the sketch for the gown while working as an assistant for Academy Award-winning designer Jean Louis.
Mackie told Vogue earlier this year that he was just 21 years old when he created the sketch without knowing where Monroe intended to wear it.
“After the day the sketch was drawn, I had no idea what it was for until photos of the event appeared in the newspaper,” he told the outlet. “Marilyn looked amazing and accomplished exactly what she intended to. Fox Studios would not let her wear anything too revealing in films, because of the previous nude calendar scandal. And she didn’t really care, because she had already been fired. Her figure was at its peak, the dress was a classic shape of fashion at the time.”
The “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” star ended up showing off the naked dress as she serenaded President John F. Kennedy with her version of “Happy Birthday” in 1962, cementing the look as one of the most iconic outfits in history.
On May 2, Kardashian walked the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the now 60-year-old dress to honor the Met Gala’s theme of “Gilded Glamour.”
“I thought to myself, what would I have done for the American theme if it had not been the Balenciaga look? What’s the most American thing you can think of? And that’s Marilyn Monroe,” said Kardashian, who also dyed her hair blond for the event. “For me, the most Marilyn Monroe moment is when she sang “Happy Birthday,” to JFK, it was that look.”
While speaking to Vogue at the Met Gala, the entrepreneur and reality television star also said she lost 16 pounds in three weeks to fit into the Monroe’s legendary dress.
“It was such a challenge,” she later told the outlet in a separate interview. It was like a role. I was determined to win it (and) was like eating tomatoes.”
A behind-the-scenes video posted on YouTube Shorts by Ripley’s Believe It or Not! showed Kardashian stepping into the hand-beaded dress. She told Vogue that after walking the iconic red carpet, she changed into a replica gown to preserve the original.
Her decision to wear the late actor’s dress divided social media users.
Some pointed out that it was an example of Monroe being exploited after her death.
“She wanted so much to be respected as an actor and not just as a sex symbol, but,” one Twitter user wrote. “Here we are.”
Another social media user tweeted, “marilyn monroe was a human being not a museum exhibit i’m so tired.”
Still, some thought that Kardashian wearing the gown was harmless. One user said, “Honestly there’s bigger problems in the world than Kim Kardashian wearing a Marilyn Monroes dress.”