Why are the Kardashians not invited to events anymore
Page Six reports that Vogue editor Anna Wintour has removed the Kardashians from the guest list for the forthcoming Met Gala in May.
This seems like trivial fashion rumors; who cares whether they go or not? Last year, wasn’t it Kim Kardashian who allegedly ruined a clothing formerly worn by Marilyn Monroe? Kim dressed up as a couch once more. (Technically, it was a Givenchy dress, and it inspired an all-over flowery fad.) The Kardashians’ rejection, however, suggests a larger societal change in the fashion industry.
The first Met Gala was held in 1948 to generate funds for the museum’s new Costume Department, whose archive of 33,000 garments exists to this day. Wintour has presided over the event since 1995. Under her leadership, it has become one of the largest fundraising events in New York (it raised $17.4 million last year) and an unofficial worldwide advertising campaign for the fashion industry.
Crucially, it solidifies Wintour’s place as one of the most influential individuals in fashion, if not the most. She controls the guest list, seating arrangement, and frequently the attire. Amy Odell writes in Anna: The Biography that this is where Wintour demonstrates her supremacy over a business founded on the notion that there is a “in” and a “out.” The rumor that Wintour has deemed the Kardashians unfashionable speaks much about the direction she wants the fashion industry to follow.
In April 2014, Wintour featured Kim Kardashian and her then-husband Kanye West on the cover of Vogue. Kim has also been on covers by herself in 2019 and 2022, and she has attended each Met Gala this decade. The previous year, the entire family was invited.
In 2014, Kim and Kanye’s Vogue cover was met with much opposition. Wintour subsequently justified the decision, noting that “Kim and Kanye were part of the day’s dialogue. And Vogue’s failure to acknowledge this would have been a grave error.” So why has the topic of discussion shifted?
Wintour’s absence of the Kardashians follows a month of fashion presentations characterized by a trend toward more subdued attire. The Guardian’s Jess Cartner-Morley remarked, “Blandstanding is the new grandstanding,” while British Vogue praised the new look as “quiet luxury.”
While Kardashian-esque “stunt dressing” is normally expected at the gala, last year’s Marilyn Monroe outfit dominated fashion news, prompting condemnation from both industry conservationists and dieticians worried about the weight-loss plan she claimed to have adopted to suit the gown.
Kim was also criticized late last year for not speaking out quickly enough in response to Balenciaga’s controversial ad campaign featuring children holding teddy bears dressed in bondage gear (she had previously worked closely with the brand’s designer Demna, starring in campaigns and attending the gala with him in 202). She ultimately stated that she was “reassessing” her relationship with the fashion brand. In January, she stirred additional controversy by selling Balenciaga pieces on Kardashian Kloset, the family’s resale website.
This seeming grasping behavior appears to irritate individuals the most. In 2010, when the Kardashians joined Instagram, they embraced its glossy and aspirational image. Since the introduction of TikTok more than a decade later, there has been a need for more genuine material. Luxurious planes, professional selfies, and endorsements for products ranging from weight reduction teas to waist trainers are incompatible with Generation Z’s desire to be uninfluenced. Even the Bold Glamour filter on TikTok, which offers users poreless skin and fuller lips, is rejected by consumers. Their opposition to the “Kardashianization” of the face may indicate that their popularity has reached its zenith.
And despite Wintour’s ability to choose who is “in” at the Met Gala, the Kardashians continue to hold more influence online. In 2019, it was estimated that Kim had over three times more Instagram followers than all of Condé Nast’s US print magazines combined, and even a year after the Met Gala, Kim’s Marilyn moment is still a topic of conversation. But more importantly, can anyone recall what others wore?