Kim Kardashian’s Met Gala performance demonstrates how brilliant she is at what she does best: being famous

Kim Kardashian’s Met Gala performance demonstrates how brilliant she is at what she does best: being famous

Kim Kardashian’s Met Gala performance demonstrates how brilliant she is at what she does best: being famous

Kim Kardashian’s Met Gala performance demonstrates how brilliant she is at what she does best: being famous


Kim Kardashian has worn floral Givenchy (for the first time in 2013, pregnant with her first child), silver Balmain, gold Versace, and latex “wet look” Thierry Mugler throughout her Met Gala appearances.

She wore head-to-toe black Balenciaga following her divorce from husband Ye (Kanye West) last year, an ensemble that rendered her a shadow, a silhouette, discernible only by the familiar form of her body.

Kardashian has transformed her figure and remade her style once again this year, this time on the arm of new lover Pete Davidson. She shed 7kg in a matter of weeks and spent 14 hours bleaching her hair blonde, all in order to fit into a delicate, beaded Jean Louis gown designed by a young Bob Mackie and pnce worn by Marilyn Monroe

This isn’t your average vintage gown. This is an important part of American history. Monroe wore the gown at President John F. Kennedy’s 45th birthday celebrations in 1962, where she famously serenaded him with a seductive rendition of “Happy Birthday, Mr. President.”

Wearing such a delicate piece of material history ethically is one thing. Aside from the crash diet and hair colour, the logistics are fairly different.


Kardashian’s passion to the event, her dedication to fashion, and her aim to garner maximum attention can all be seen in the lavish quality of this performance.

According to Vogue Kardashian only wore the gown for a few minutes as she walked the red carpet.

She was escorted out of her hotel by Davidson and hovering security guards, fitted into the gown in a small fitting room outside the museum by a conservationist from the Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum (who purchased the gown at auction in 2016 for a record US$4.8 million), escorted up the steps by Davidson and hovering security guards, and then changed into a replica of the dress (also owned by Ripley’s) for the rest of the party.

In the Vogue interview, she expresses her admiration for Monroe, particularly in that gown and at that historic event.

Kardashian wanted to emphasise their similarity by wearing this outfit, which significantly (unhealthily) transformed her figure into an approximation of Monroe’s.

Ye: Kardashian is nothing if not a fashion chameleon, having converted herself into a doppelganger of Cher or Naomi Campbell, or changed her style under the direction of her ex-husband.


Kardashian is also undeniably her own person. She has created her own kind of celebrity and battled hard to establish its validity. It took a long time for her to get on the Met Gala guest list in the first place — initially simply as Kanye’s plus-one.

So, what does it mean for an unrivalled contemporary superstar to adopt the attire, atmosphere, and mythology of a legendary Hollywood figure?

According to some, Kardashian would be lucky if she had half of Monroe’s charisma and enchantment. Although this is right, it also misses the point.

Whatever your feelings on Kardashian, there’s no denying she’s a smart (though occasionally tone deaf) businesswoman who has built a livelihood off her physique and her capacity to change it.

For better or worse, she has changed the face of celebrity and moulded American beauty expectations with her sisters.

She is, of course, a billionaire, and one of the few women in the world with the financial and cultural capital to obtain the rights to wear such a garment, which has been removed from its customary storage in a temperature-controlled vault.


Other commentators bemoaned the Met Gala’s extravagant nature. These familiar contrarian voices were probably louder than ever this year, as the event commemorated America’s “Gilded Age” (1870-1900) at a time when political, economic, environmental, and health concerns abound around the world.

That is, nevertheless, the beauty of fashion. It reminds us that we are all bodies dressed in cloths, despite of our differences. So, as women’s rights are being systematically eroded across the United States, I couldn’t help but savour the excessive luxury of this exquisite tribute to a legendary American lady.

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