There’s no room to be indifferent when it comes to having an opinion about the most talked-about outfit at this year’s Met Gala – worn by Kim Kardashian – an all-black, body-concealing Balenciaga ensemble, complete with black face covering.
Of course, the outfit derived many (and we’re talking many) comments from observers such as bizarre, distasteful, did not fit with the ‘American fashion’ theme and, was reminiscent of a dementor from the Harry Potter film.
Making a statement
But rather than looking at the outfit purely in fashion terms, what if we looked at the outfit as costume art? The Met Gala, which raises money for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, was originally known as the Museum of Costume Art. And when you look at Kim K’s outfit from that perspective, you realise the outfit makes more of a statement than anything else on that red carpet.
Indeed, while Kanye West was rumoured to have inspired this fetish-esque outfit, the brains behind it is Demna Gvasalia, the creative director of Balenciaga who graduated from the acclaimed Royal Academy of Arts in Antwerp, He also accompanied Kim on the red carpet in a similar garment, successfully provoking the imagination with his creative body of work, and generating reactions which many artists can only dream about…even if they are mixed.
Of course, the outfit doesn’t initially strike a chord with the American fashion theme at the actual gala. However, if Kim Kardashian was to pose at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, she would be making a huge statement in an exhibition which, presents a diverse range of perspectives on how fashion reflects the evolving notions of identity in the US. And what outfit challenges that notion of identity more, than one which covers the whole body and face and yet, everyone still knows who it is? Not many people can pull off that trick.
And that is why the outfit stole most of the headlines this year. It has thrown up this idea of identity into the air and got people wondering; “How can we follow that?” The bar has been set very high indeed.