The Met Gala provides a place for extravagance and boldness on the red carpet - and, more often than not, fashion that gets people talking (case in point: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's 'Tax the Rich' dress).
But arguably the most hotly contested ensemble from this year’s event came courtesy of Kim Kardashian, who attended in a completely covered Balenciaga look, including a face-concealing balaclava. Social media users quickly flocked to Instagram, Twitter and TikTok to question how her all-black outfit was relevant to the theme of 'In America: A Lexicon of Fashion', or the event's celebration of American independence.
Kardashian later took to Instagram herself to have her say, hitting back with: “What’s more American than a T-shirt head to toe?!”
The controversial look was designed by Balenciaga’s creative director Demna Gvasalia and featured a T-shirt dress over a bodysuit, worn with a balaclava and matching gloves, which left nothing on show apart from Kardashian’s sleek long ponytail.
"When Muslim women choose to wear skin-covering abayas and burkas, they’re considered stifling and oppressive — the furthest thing from high fashion and glamorous," she wrote. "Burkas can provide wearers with anonymity, which is deemed a 'threat to security' in many areas of the Western world."
Other more trivial comparisons were drawn to Harry Potter characters or gaming references, or claims that she looked like she'd turned up to the event in "a sock".
However, others have praised her for wearing something that prompted discussion and for not going down the more obvious Old Hollywood route, as so many other attendees did.
One user explained on TikTok: "It’s challenging, it’s thought-provoking and it’s ambiguous."
"Kim didn’t show her face, her body, or any recognisable features, if you will, but immediately the world knew it was Kim Kardashian. The silhouette that was created is one we are so familiar with in pop culture and Americanised culture."
Another user criticised guests for playing it safe when it could have been an opportunity to be more political on the red carpet, while another pointed out that perhaps anonymity is Kim's version of her own American independence - as one of the most photographed women in the world.
"I do find this somewhat political though and that’s what we look for at the Met Gala," they said. "Kardashian is known for her beauty and known for her looks so I think to strip that away and just give us a look without that image can be political - but that’s me reaching."
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