NEW YORK - A US museum is facing fresh criticism for allowing Kim Kardashian to wear an iconic Marilyn Monroe gown, after new photos revealed more damage to it. The dress, which Kardashian wore to the Met Gala in May, now has stretched fabric and missing crystals, according to Monroe historians.

Its current owner, Ripley’s Believe It or Not, is facing criticism for failing to properly care for the fragile gown. Monroe wore it when she sang Happy Birthday to President Kennedy in 1962.

Scott Fortner, who has curated his own private collection of Marilyn Monroe artefacts, posted photos online that he said showed “significant” damage after it was loaned to the reality TV star.

Additional images have now been shared online by author Darrell Rooney purportedly showing damage to the gown’s shoulder straps.

Ripley’s Believe It or Not - a franchise of museums around the word did not respond to repeated requests for comment by the BBC, nor did Kim Kardashian’s media team. But in a news release last month, Ripley Entertainment Inc. said “great care was taken to preserve this piece of history”.

“With input from garment conservationists, appraisers, archivists, and insurance, the garment’s condition was top priority. No alterations were made to the dress.” Fortner called the decision by Ripley’s to allow Kim Kardashian to wear the dress “irresponsible” and motivated by “publicity”. “When you buy something of such significance, you really need to stick to your word to protect and preserve it… and clearly that didn’t happen,” he told the BBC.

“This is a significant piece of American culture, celebrity culture, political culture - it’s probably the most famous gown in the world, and definitely the most expensive. So why they would allow it to be worn is really the question.” Ripley’s bought the dress for $4.8m (£3.9m) in 2016, setting a Guinness World Record for the most expensive dress sold at auction. It is now estimated to be worth more than $10m, the museum says.

 

Adorned with more than 6,000 hand-sewn crystals, the gown was designed by lauded French costume designer Jean Louis. It was so tight, Marilyn Monroe reportedly had to be sewn into it.

Kardashian wore it on the Met Gala red carpet, and then changed into a replica for the rest of the evening. She teamed it with a fur stole to hide the back of the dress because the zipper would not do up.

She has previously said she wore the dress for a matter of minutes, and did not sit down in it.

But after her red carpet appearance, she was accused of sending a damaging message about extreme dieting, saying she had lost 1st 2lb (7.3kg) in three weeks to fit into the gown.