Things That Make You Go Hmmm: Kim Kardashian at the Met Costume Institute Ball


There are many things I could say about outfits worn by various guests at last night’s Costume Institute gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The title of this spring’s Costume Institute exhibition is “PUNK: Chaos to Couture,” and invitees were encouraged to dress accordingly.

Kim Kardashian, who is the very first person I think of when I think of art, culture, and fashion history, showed up wearing a floral gown designed by Givenchy.

Not very punk, you might say. Not at all transgressive or deconstructed or what have you. And then again. . . .could she possibly have been making an obscure allusion to a costume worn to the Met by another risk-taking visitor, some twenty years ago?


I’m thinking of the legendary performance artist Leigh Bowery (1961-1994), gender-bending muse to Alexander McQueen, Lady Gaga, and artist Lucian Freud, who painted Bowery’s portrait several times.

Here we see the infamous Bowery visiting one of Freud’s portraits at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in December 1993, wearing—yes—a voluminous floral gown that covers his extremities.

I’d love to think that Kardashian and her stylists were aware of this recorded moment and that KK’s own (one and only?) visit to the Met was an homage to someone whose entire career was an immersive self-performance that broke numerous taboos and boundaries of good taste.

Then again. . . .probably not.

Images: Kim Kardashian via Glamour. Leigh Bowery at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on December 17, 1993 by Don Pollard.


10 thoughts on “Things That Make You Go Hmmm: Kim Kardashian at the Met Costume Institute Ball

  1. Art, culture & fashion history? I don’t want to be mean but I doubt anyone in her circle would make such reference. But, she did show some leg à la Angelina on a picture I saw this morning so she was at least aware of that. :)

  2. Thank you for putting Leigh Bowery on my radar. A-listers clearly fear “punk couture” but at least they could have tried more punk with their makeup and hair? Those who did just looked like Twilight Vampires. Who did you like?

    1. I loved Debbie Harry and her fellow Blondie members, of course! and I actually liked Madonna’s get-up; it was fun. Linda Fargo (from Bergdorf Goodman) bridged the punk/couture themes really well.

      Leigh Bowery is a fascinating character. He did some pretty extreme stuff, and he has been really influential!

  3. Remember the scene in The Sound Of Music where Maria makes the VonTrapp kids play clothes out of old drapes? Yeah… that’s all I can think of.

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