The historical significance of Kim Kardashian West's vintage Alexander McQueen dress

Amy de Klerk

From Harper's BAZAAR

Kim Kardashian West has been one of the biggest champions of vintage fashion on the red carpet, with the reality star consistently finding unique designs from past collections to wear for some of her most notable moments. And, for the 2020 Vanity Fair Oscars Party, Kardashian West may have outdone herself.

For the event, the reality star and businesswoman had hunted down one of the most significant designs in recent times, an Alexander McQueen Oyster dress, that was created for the designer's spring/summer 2003 collection. Her dress is one of only two ever produced – the other one is sitting in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It was described as "arguably the most important dress of the 21st century" by Andrew Bolton, the museum's curator.

Photo credit: Gregg DeGuire - Getty Images
Photo credit: Jon Kopaloff - Getty Images

The Oyster dress is labelled by the museum as "a poetic rendering of a disaster at sea".

"The hem of the skirt, like the wavy lip of a giant mollusk, further emphasises the seashell quality of the gown. But unlike Aphrodite, who was born in the foam of the sea and borne to shore on a scallop, McQueen's beauty is a bruised pearl encased in a deconstructing oyster, the tumbled survivor of the violent action of waves."

Photo credit: Amy Sussman - Getty Images

As well as being of historical significance, the dress was also a definite hit on the red carpet for the reality star, whose incredible curves were accentuated by the beautiful texture of the dress.

Photo credit: Frazer Harrison - Getty Images

Kardashian West located the dress at Beverly Hills archival designer store Lily Et Cie, which is also where Jennifer Aniston picked up her vintage John Galliano for Dior gown that she wore to the SAG Awards this year. Demi Moore, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Jennifer Lopez and many more stars have also worn pieces from Lily Et Cie for prestigious events over the years, including the Academy Awards and the Met Gala.

And last night, Kardashian West was not the only star to choose vintage for the Oscars. Margot Robbie wore a Chanel gown from the house's spring/summer 1994 collection for the Academy Awards red carpet, while Elizabeth Banks chose to rewear a Badgely Mishka dress from 2004, that she had actually worn to the same party 16 years earlier.

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