I have seen a lot of reactions to Kim Kardashian’s Met Gala look this year, and I think that a lot of them missed the mark. The theme of the 2021 Met Gala was “American Independence.” Obviously, the theme was super broad and open ended. American fashion can be encompassed in a number of ways. It can reflect popular American pastimes, it can showcase American designers, and it can make a statement about the trajectory of American fashion culture. Kim Kardashian understood the assignment.
Kim is an American icon, whether you like her or not. She has consistently set trends and pushed the envelope of American fashion. However, from the very beginning of her career, she has been hypersexualized. It became less and less about what she was wearing, and more about how she looked wearing it. The media scrutinized her body and her appearance at every turn, it didn’t matter if she was grocery shopping in sweatpants or in a gown on a red carpet, her body was the main focus. Thus, in keeping with the theme, this year at the Met Gala Kim made a statement about the culture surrounding fashion. She covered up her body from head to toe, dressing in all black. In doing so, she made it all about the dress and its message. The night became an opportunity to highlight a problem within America’s fashion culture, a problem that is not nearly talked about enough.
Let’s consider her previous Met Gala look in May of 2019. She wore a stunning dress with incredible droplet details, but what was everyone talking about? How small her waist was. So while Kim is getting excessive backlash right now, she evolved the target on her back to a fashion statement, an iconic moment in Met history.