Revivals Prove Off-Putting, Pointless
March 4, 2023
Old clothes, music, and sayings always tend to come back from previous generations, but to what extent should we reboot from the past? Rebooting old styles of clothes, music genres, and interior design is a way to tribute to past time periods, but not when they go against the wishes of someone associated with an object. Kim Kardashian instigated controversy after wearing Marilyn Monroe’s famous sequin floor-length dress to the 2022 Met Gala. Kim claims she only wore the dress briefly and did not damage it, and says she understands how much it means to American history. But does that mean she should have been allowed to wear it? While most agree that certain trends and songs are timeless, many believe that original historical objects should stay in the past. Such was the response to Kim in Marilyn’s dress; Bob Mackie, the designer of Monroe’s famous dress, condemned Kim’s choice saying, “It was designed for [Marilyn]. No one else should be seen in that dress.” While Kim Kardashian and Marilyn Monroe are both American icons in different ways, Marilyn’s dress was a symbol of her unique style and status as Hollywood’s most recognizable star and ought to be preserved as such. Tess Dayhoff ‘25 concurs, “The fact that the designer said no is really important because he is the one who crafted the dress specifically for Marilyn Monroe.”
Kim Kardashian also chose to dye her hair blonde and post public updates on her “crash diet” to fit into the dress, provoking more backlash for trying to imitate the bombshell signature look that made Marilyn the sex icon she is today. While these actions alone would not have been disrespectful, her insistence on wearing Monroe’s original hand-crafted dress made the act seem obnoxious. Geneva Stockton ‘25 points out that “Marilyn didn’t want anyone else to wear her dress. [Kim Kardashian] worked her way through the system to wear it against Marilyn Monroe’s will.” Stockton adds, “The dress didn’t fit her even after all her plastic surgery.” Kim Kardashian revealed she had to plead with her mom, Kris Jenner, in order to convince Ripley’s, which held the dress, to let her wear it. Dayhoff continues, “The intentions behind it also matter. If Kim Kardashian was trying to honor or pay homage to Marilyn Monroe, it would be different, but if she was wearing it just because, it seems disrespectful.” As Kim Kardashian stood posing for mobs of paparazzi at the Met Gala alongside Pete Davidson, it did not appear to be an act of homage to Marilyn Monroe, leading to confusion about why the dress was brought back in the first place.