Senior Staff Writer
On Monday, September 13th, the Metropolitan Museum of Art held their annual Met
Gala. This year’s theme was “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion.” Given American fashion’s rich history, there was much anticipation for the creative and artistic outfits that would be worn by the celebrity guests. However, the theme received a host of criticism for lacking its usual creativity and thematic cohesion. While a few guests used their outfits to make overt political statements about America (i.e. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s ‘Tax the Rich’ dress), it seems the vast majority of celebrities and designers chose to play it safe by simply paying homage to other iconic Met Gala looks from past eras. Overall, the public and fashion experts alike were generally unimpressed with the celebrities outfits this year. Although, there was one exception: Kim Kardashian’s head-to-toe black Balenciaga bodysuit.
While Kim Kardashion’s face and body were completely covered in a black fabric, it was immediately evident who was behind the mask. While expectations were high for Kim’s Met Gala look, as she has never disappointed before, this outfit was completely unexpected. As
Kim’s black silhouette drifted across the Met Gala’s iconic beige carpet, it was both haunting and beautiful. Unlike other guests’ outfits, Kim’s look made the audience shocked and uncomfortable.
Speculation of what the outfit meant and how it related to the theme of “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion,” quickly began. It is obvious that the outfit is partly inspired by Kim’s ex-husband, Kanye West. Prior to the release of West’s latest album, Donda, both Kim and Kanye were spotted wearing ski masks on social media and in public outings. Furthermore, the cover art of the Donda album is purely black, much like Kim’s dress. However, there is clearly more behind the outfit.
I have my own interpretation. As a long-time follower, sometimes fan and sometimes critic, of Kim Kardashian, I immediately recognized her the moment I laid eyes on her blacked-out silhouette. Though, it seems that my experience was not an uncommon one. The only thing truly on display was Kim Kardashion’s silhouette; a body-shape that has been both celebrated and harshly criticized in popular culture. Beyond her iconic silhouette, not a single recognizable feature of Kim was shown. Yet, the world was still in awe of Kim’s presence.
In years past, Kim’s Met Gala looks have been strikingly beautiful, ambitious, and undeniably fashionable. This year, she received the same level, if not more, of notoriety, praise, and criticism alike, even in a black garment that rendered her essentially anonymous. She has transcended superstardom and has become a living cultural phenomenon. Kim’s outfit demonstrated that.
However, what is most spectacular about Kim Kardashian’s outfit is the reaction and discussions it has caused amongst the public. From the fashion blogs I have read to the discussions I have had with my friends, it seems that everyone has a different interpretation of what the dress means.
While some believed the dress was purely a commentary on her failing marriage with Kanye West, others thought it was a commentary on “cancel culture.” Some believed that it was a message about anonymity in the age of social media. Many criticized it as “too political” despite there being no overt political message. Others were disappointed that Kim did not use her notoriety and the night’s theme to make a bigger political statement. Some thought Kim’s outfit was just ugly and bizzare.
The controversy of the outfit speaks to her impact, not only on American fashion, but American culture as a whole. Much like a piece of abstract art, the ambiguity of Kim’s outfit acted as a blank slate for the whole of America to apply their own meaning to it. That in itself proves that the dress was a success.
Categories: Arts & Entertainment