On the eve of May 11, the International Committee of Museums and Costume Collections (ICOM) issued an official statement (which was drawn up on the 9th) and called on museums and collectors to no longer lend their exhibits to show business stars. Such a reaction was caused by the recent release of Kim Kardashian in a Marilyn Monroe dress at the Met Gala, which was mentioned at the beginning of the appeal.
The statement noted that no one should wear historical clothes: neither a public person nor a private person. And while not every museum is part of ICOM, the organization advises institutions around the world to follow its recommendations to preserve existing heritage.
To take good care of the product, it should be used as little as possible; it should not be washed or cleaned by anyone other than a qualified restorer, it should only be handled with cotton gloves and without any fragrances, care products or cosmetics. Trained personnel are required to operate the suit, and special requirements regarding lighting, humidity, and temperature must be observed. Strong lighting and flashlights should also be avoided, the statement said.
In addition, the committee noted that Marilyn’s dress was tailored to match the actress’s skin tone and made from a rare soufflé silk material that is no longer sold.
Although the dress belongs to a private collection, it is still the heritage of all mankind. As museum professionals, we strongly advise all museums to avoid making historical garments available for wear as they are artefacts of the material culture of their time and should be preserved for future generations.
Note that in order to pull on a dress, Kim Kardashian had to not only lose 7 kilograms in the shortest possible time, but also sew ribbons to it, which were not originally there. Later, Kim received another unique artifact from the Ripley Museum – a strand of Hollywood legend’s hair. However, it became known that the curl may well be a fake.