Kim Kardashian’s style at the Met Gala has changed dramatically over the last nine years.
She started as Kanye West’s plus one, and the “couch dress” turned her into Twitter’s biggest meme.
But Kardashian has learned how to steal the spotlight at the Met Gala with major fashion moments.
Standing out at the Met Gala is no easy feat. And Kim Kardashian has spent almost a decade learning how to steal its spotlight.
Anna Wintour’s annual party at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City has one of the most exclusive guest lists. The first time Kardashian went, it was as Kanye West’s plus one.
But over the last decade, Kardashian has evolved from an E! reality TV star to a Vogue cover girl. And her fashion has changed dramatically at the Met Gala, where she went from a laughing stock to the arrival that everyone was talking about.
Monday night was proof that Kardashian has finally learned how to have the biggest moment at the Met Gala. Here’s her incredible style evolution.
2013: Kardashian wore a floral Givenchy dress that turned her into the biggest meme at her very first Met Gala.
Kardashian — who was heavily pregnant with her first child at the time — wore this dress designed by Riccardo Tisci for the “Punk: Chaos to Couture” theme.
The long-sleeved dress was covered in a pattern of roses and featured a high neck and thigh-high slit.
The dress was immediately criticized on Twitter after Kardashian made her red-carpet arrival, with people comparing it to everything from a couch to Mrs. Doubtfire. The response devastated Kardashian, who had always dreamed of earning her spot at the Met Gala.
“I was crying, like, the whole way home because I just couldn’t believe it,” Kardashian said in a 2019 video with Vogue. “There were all these memes about me and this couch.”
But Kardashian said she still “really loved” the dress, and Tisci called her the “most beautiful pregnant woman I dressed in my career.”
“To me, pregnancy is the most beautiful thing in the world, and when you celebrate something, you give people flowers,” he told Women’s Wear Daily shortly after the gala. “I think she looked amazing.”
2014: Kardashian played it super safe with a satin Lanvin evening gown.
For the “Charles James: Beyond Fashion” theme,” Kardashian worked with designer Alber Elbaz to create this custom gown.
Her strapless blue dress featured a black satin belt and thigh-high slit, but it was initially supposed to look very different.
“My dress was originally made of this amazing leather with metallic detailing, but we decided at the last minute to redo it in blue satin,” Kardashian wrote in a post for her now-defunct website, according to Page Six.
Right before she walked on the red carpet, Kardashian also decided to ditch a chunky belt and leather cuffs that she had planned to wear with the dress, deeming them “a bit too rock ‘n’ roll,” according to E!.
It was clear that Kardashian wanted to avoid making many waves with her outfit after the previous year’s debacle.
2015: Kardashian dared to bare in a Roberto Cavalli gown, but she was easily overshadowed by Beyoncé and Rihanna.
Kardashian shimmered from head to toe in this custom gown, which she wore for the “China: Through the Looking Glass” theme.
The dress — designed by Pete Dundas — was covered with strategically-placed crystals and featured a long train of white feathers. Kardashian revealed on Instagram that her inspiration had been the outfit that Cher wore to her very first Met Gala in 1974.
Kardashian’s dress was stunning, but there was stiff competition to stand out on the museum’s steps. Rihanna had worn her iconic naked dress to the CFDA Fashion Awards the year before, and her impact was clearly felt on the Met Gala red carpet — where Jennifer Lopez and Beyoncé also wore barely-there ensembles.
And in true Rihanna fashion, the Fenty founder managed to upstage everyone by covering up instead with the help of her custom Guo Pei gown.
Kardashian was finally making it onto the best-dressed lists, but she still hadn’t figured out how to have her Met Gala Moment.
2016: Kardashian was ready to be a little edgier with this sparkling Balmain ensemble.
Kardashian’s metallic silver gown featured long sleeves and, per usual, a thigh-high slit. She took a bit more risk for the “Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology” theme and also bleached her eyebrows.
In a May 2020 video with Balmain, Kardashian revealed that she initially planned to go with an “all-sequin gown” but decided to change the entire concept of her Met Gala ensemble.
While she wasn’t afraid to mix things up a bit with her beauty and fabric, Kardashian revealed in a 2019 tweet that she was feeling insecure that year because she hadn’t “lost all of my baby weight” after giving birth to her son Saint in December 2015 — which may explain why she stuck with the typical gown silhouette.
Kardashian’s spotlight that year was also overshadowed by her own date. West made numerous headlines for his controversial decision to wear denim to the Met Gala.
2017: Kardashian shocked fashion fans when she sported this simple Vivienne Westwood dress.
Kardashian wore a pretty off-the-shoulder white dress for the “Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between” theme.
She paired the outfit with sandals and minimal makeup — a major divergence from her previous red-carpet appearances. Many were surprised by Kardashian’s beachy ensemble, with headlines calling her overall look “simplistic” and “seriously toned down.”
“I figured everyone was going to go really over the top, and I just wanted to be really simple,” Kardashian — who attended the event without West for the first time — told Vogue on the red carpet, according to Us Weekly.
But that year’s Met Gala occurred just a few months after Kardashian was robbed at gunpoint in Paris. More than $11 million in jewels were stolen, and some later criticized Kardashian for flaunting her wealth on social media beforehand.
Kardashian has since been candid about the trauma she experienced from the robbery. Looking back at photos from that year’s Met Gala, it’s clear she was learning how to navigate a new reality in the spotlight.
2018: Kardashian stuck to her usual silhouette for this custom gold Versace dress.
In a year where Rihanna became the Pope, Ariana Grande dressed as the Sistine Chapel, and Blake Lively’s gown was so big it needed its own party bus, Kardashian didn’t exactly grab headlines.
But the SKIMS founder still dazzled in this gown, which she personally designed with Donatella Versace for the “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination” theme.
Kardashian’s gold chainmail dress featured two crosses on the front. She kept her jewelry simple, pairing the look with a cross necklace, and wore her hair in a high ponytail.
Her outfit didn’t steal the show, but Kardashian found a huge fan in her young daughter North, who wants to wear the dress to her prom one day.
2019: This was the first year we saw just how far Kardashian would go to try and have a Met Gala Moment.
At first glance, Kardashian’s Thierry Mugler ensemble for the “Camp: Notes on Fashion” theme may have just looked like a sparkling dress.
But Kardashian went to great lengths to sport the nude latex gown with dripping crystals.
Kardashian called Mugler up on the very same day the “camp” theme was announced, convincing him to design his first dress in 20 years.
“He envisioned me as this California girl stepping out of the ocean, wet, dripping,” Kardashian told Vogue on the red carpet, according to W Magazine.
Kardashian revealed that she had to take corset breathing lessons to slip into the gown. During a fitting filmed for “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” she said the dress was so tight that she couldn’t go to the bathroom — but was willing to urinate on herself so she could wear it.
“I think if it’s an emergency, I would pee my pants and then have my sister wipe my leg up,” she said in a clip from the series. “I’m not even joking. She can wipe my leg up.”
The dress — and the extreme lengths Kardashian went to wear it — made international headlines. She was slowly learning how to steal the Met Gala spotlight.
2021: Kardashian went incognito on the Met Gala red carpet, and became the biggest story of the night.
Kardashian sported a black Balenciaga bodysuit that covered her face, arm
s, legs, and heels for the “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion” theme.
There was only an opening for her ponytail, and a long dramatic train flowed behind her.
On top of the suit — which was designed by Balenciaga creative director Demna Gvasalia — Kardashian wore an oversized black T-shirt as a minidress.
Gvasalia had designed similar outfits for both Kardashian and West to wear at listening parties for his album “Donda.” Kardashian’s Met Gala outfit fueled speculation and interest surrounding the couple amid their very public divorce.
Not everyone may have been a fan of Kardashian’s look, but this time the memes felt different from 2013. Kardashian had clearly learned how to make her Met Gala entrance the most memorable.
2022: And when Kardashian was last to arrive in Marilyn Monroe’s dress, it was all anyone could talk about for the rest of the event.
As with her two prior Met Gala looks, Kardashian went to extreme lengths to try and have the biggest moment on the red carpet for this year’s “gilded glamour theme.”
Kardashian was determined to fit into the very same dress that Marilyn Monroe wore to sing “Happy Birthday” to John F. Kennedy nearly 60 years ago.
Kardashian first tried on a replica of the Bob Mackie dress — which sold at an auction for $4.8 million in 2016 and is now at Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum in Orlando, Florida — and it fit perfectly, according to Vogue.
But when the real dress arrived three weeks before the event, it didn’t fit. Instead of finding a new outfit for the Met Gala, Kardashian decided she would lose the weight.
Kardashian revealed in red-carpet interviews that she lost 16 pounds to fit into the dress, completely cutting out sugar and carbs from her diet.
She also ran on the treadmill and wore a sauna suit twice a day, she told Vogue.
To complete the look, Kardashian spent 14 hours getting her hair bleached blonde the night before the Met Gala.
Whatever your opinion, it’s undeniable that Kardashian has now become one of the stars to watch at the Met Gala. She’s gone from wearing pretty (but standard) gowns to finding new ways to create a moment that everyone will talk about.
Guess we’ll just have to wait and see what she comes up with next.
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