A Marilyn Monroe expert says that Kim Kardashian was presented with fake locks of the late showbiz legend’s hair by Ripley’s Believe it Or Not! Orlando, Florida museum.
Scott Fortner, who runs the website TheMarilynMonroeCollection.com, took to Instagram on Friday with a detailed post questioning the authenticity of the historical memento Ripley’s presented Kardashian, 41, with ahead of her outing to last week’s Met Gala.
At the event, Kardashian made headlines in donning (on loan from the museum) a Jean Louis gown Monroe famously wore to President John F. Kennedy’s birthday bash in 1962.
The latest: A Marilyn Monroe expert says that Kim Kardashian was presented with a fake locks of the late showbiz legend’s hair by Ripley’s Believe it Or Not! Orlando, Florida museum, noting that Monroe employed a different stylist than the one the museum claims prepared her locks for a famous event in May of 1962
In a clip published by Ripley’s on Instagram last Tuesday, Kardashian’s jaws dropped as a museum official presented her with the hair, which was protected in a circular metallic container.
Fortner shared the same clip on his Instagram page, in addition to a screen grab from Ripley’s detailing the origins of the hair; and what he says is a receipt from the hair salon that worked on Monroe’s coif in 1962.
Ripley’s said in its display of the hair, that the lock of Monroe’s hair ‘was clipped by her hairstylist Robert Champion just prior to her Madison Square Garden performance’ where she serenaded the late president; and that the hair had been ‘authenticated by John Reznikoff,’ who is ‘one of the most respected and trusted experts in the field of hair collecting.’
Fortner said that Champion was not the hairstylist who prepared Monroe’s coif for the May 19, 1962 event in New York City, but rather Kenneth ‘Mr. Kenneth’ Battelle at the Lilly Dache Beauty Salon.
Fortner, who runs the website TheMarilynMonroeCollection.com , took to Instagram on Friday with a detailed post questioning the authenticity of the historical memento Ripley’s presented Kardashian
Fortner shared a screen grab from Ripley’s detailing the origins of the hair, which stated Robert Champion had styled her locks
Fortson shared a receipt he said proved that Kenneth ‘Mr. Kenneth’ Battelle, and not Champion, had styled Monroe’s hair ahead of the big event
Fortner said that historical inaccuracies with the Ripley’s memento indicate it isn’t the genuine article the museum claims it to be
Fortner said that Paul Fraser Collectibles sold the hair in 2019, with the item description: ‘Just hours before her performance, Monroe visited her personal hairdresser Robert Champion at the Coiffures Americana Beauty Salon, housed within the luxury department store Bergdorf Goodman on Fifth Avenue.’
Fortner said that while ‘one could assume the hair given to [Kim] was part of this lot of hair that was cut by Robert Champion “just prior to her MSG performance” … Champion did not cut and style Marilyn’s hair for the JFK gala,’ as ‘it was actually the one and only “Mr. Kenneth” (Kenneth Battelle) who had the honors.’
Fortner said ‘a receipt from Lilly Dache Beauty Salon’ – which he included in the post – confirms that it was Battelle, not Champion, who had prepared Monroe’s hair ahead of the historic outing.
‘The receipt, dated May 25, 1962, lists a “Hair Dress” and references May 18 and 19, 1962,’ Fortner said. ‘May 19th was the date of the Kennedy gala. The bottom the receipt reads, “Kenneth Services at home Fri + Saturday.” Marilyn paid $150 for the service.’
In the clip in which Kardashian was presented with the locks, she said, ‘Oh, my God, I’m literally going to do some crazy voodoo s*** [to] channel her. This is so special to me – thank you so much, this is so cool. Wow, this is sleeping with me every night.’
Fortner said: ‘We have to now wonder: Just who’s hair is she actually sleeping with?’
Kim Kardashian, 41, was presented with a lock of Marilyn Monroe’s hair by officials with Ripley’s Believe It or Not! ahead of donning the Jean Louis gown Monroe once wore to the Met Gala on Monday
In a follow-up post Saturday, Fortner shared more details about Kenneth Battelle, who died in 2013 at the age of 86.
‘He was so famous that like Cher and Madonna, he was often referred to by one name: Kenneth,’ he wrote, adding that ‘he was the hairdresser to the stars, also having Lucille Ball and Jackie Kennedy as clients.
‘Marilyn often had him over to her home to cut, treat and style her hair.’
Fortner said that Battelle and Monroe initially crossed paths in 1958, and he had worked with her regularly, the last time coming for a Vogue shoot in June of 1962, about two months before her death.
Fortner said that Battelle ‘is listed in both of Marilyn Monroe’s 1962 phonebooks’ that he owns, while ‘Robert Champion, not surprisingly, is not.’
Kardashian, who was accompanied to the Met Gala by boyfriend Pete Davidson, donned the historic garment – which has more than 2,500 handstitched crystals – upon her entrance to the luxe event at New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, where the theme was Gilded Glamour. She later changed into a replica gown.
‘I think we can all say that [Kim] looks beautiful in the dress,’ Ripley’s vice president of publishing and licensing Amanda Joiner told Us Weekly Tuesday. ‘Obviously, we feel that Marilyn Monroe was such an icon of her time, and we feel that Kim Kardashian really is the fashion icon of today.’
Joiner told the outlet that the company – which paid $4.6 million for the gown in 2016 – was happy to collaborate with Kardashian for the annual pop culture event.
The lock of hair presented to Kim was protected in a circular metallic container
In the clip at Ripley’s, Kardashian had her dark locks sleekly pulled back into a bun while donning a grey tank top, a necklace and jeans
The reality star couldn’t contain her excitement as she was presented with the one-of-a-kind gift
‘We really appreciated her partnership and felt that she was a great partner with Ripley’s Believe It or Not! for us to be able to retell the Marilyn Monroe story to a new generation,’ Joiner told the outlet. ‘We have 25,000 exhibits in Ripley’s, and when we’re working with partners, we want to show them our quirky side as well – and so that was the gift that we chose to give to her.
‘We strongly feel this dress is the most famous item of clothing from the 20th century culture. And we really felt that Kim being able to wear the dress was allowing us to share the story of Marilyn Monroe.’
Kardashian told La La Anthony, who did red carpet interviews for Vogue for the event, that she conceptualized the idea of wearing a Monroe gown following last year’s Met Gala, which had the theme, In America: A Lexicon of Fashion.
At the September 2021 event – which was delayed for four months due to the COVID-19 pandemic – Kardashian donned a black masked Balenciaga ensemble.
Kardashian said upon receiving the treasure, ‘Oh, my God, I’m literally going to do some crazy voodoo s*** [to] channel her. This is so special to me – thank you so much, this is so cool. Wow, this is sleeping with me every night’
Kardashian hugged museum officials after she was given the lock of Monroe’s hair
‘I thought to myself, what would I have done for the American theme if it had not been the Balenciaga look?’ Kardashian told Anthony. ‘What’s the most American thing you can think of? And that’s Marilyn Monroe.’
Kardashian revealed on the red carpet that she shed 16 pounds in a three-week span after she didn’t initially fit into the garment, which had been on display at Orlando, Florida’s Ripley’s Believe It or Not! museum.
‘When it didn’t fit me I wanted to cry because it can’t be altered at all,’ she said. ‘I looked at them, and I said, give me three weeks, and I had to lose 16 pounds down [to] today to be able to fit this. It was such a challenge, it was like a role. I was determined to fit into it. I don’t think they believed I was going to do it, but I did it.’
The mother-of-four went into detail about the daunting regimen she went through to meet her weight loss goal.
‘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 said. ‘I didn’t starve myself, but I was so strict.’
Kardashian donned the historic garment – which has more than 2,500 handstitched crystals – upon her entrance to the luxe event at New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, where the theme was Gilded Glamour
Kardashian was accompanied to the event by boyfriend Pete Davidson
Kardashian revealed on the red carpet that she shed 16 pounds in a three-week span after she didn’t initially fit into the garment