SARAH VINE: The prize for attention-seeking goes to Kim Kardashian

SARAH VINE: The prize for shameless attention-seeking goes, as ever, to Kim Kardashian… but she is just a poundshop Marilyn Monroe

Of all the outlandish get-ups at this year’s Met Gala — the fashion industry’s equivalent of the Oscars — perhaps the most emblematic of how far up its own fundament it has disappeared was the sight of supermodel Cara Delevingne turning up topless save for a couple of nipple-saucers and a lick of gold body paint.

No doubt intended to make her look ‘edgy’, it felt nothing to do with fashion or style per se, but just another desperate attempt to stand out from the crowd.

And there were plenty more.

Kylie Jenner in a disastrously misconceived ‘wedding gown’, worn with backwards-facing baseball cap and veil; Katy Perry in what looked like a costume hastily assembled from the remaindered bin in John Lewis haberdashery; the model Winnie Harlow dressed as a 5 ft snowflake.

Kim Kardashian, 41, wore Marilyn Monroe’s ‘Happy Birthday Mr President’ dress at this year’s Met Gala in New York

Actress Marilyn Monroe sings ‘Happy Birthday’ to President John F. Kennedy at Madison Square Garden, for his upcoming 45th birthday in 1962

But the prize for shameless attention-seeking goes, as ever, to Kim Kardashian, in Marilyn Monroe’s famous floor-length, flesh-coloured sequin dress, the one she wore to sing happy birthday to President John F. Kennedy in 1962.

On Monroe, the dress shimmered with sexual promise, revealing — as one commentator put it at the time — far more than it concealed; on Kardashian it was distinctly underwhelming, the kind of thing you might find for £79.99 in TK Maxx’s occasion-wear section.

And there’s a reason for that. Monroe was a genuine talent — a true star from the real golden era of Hollywood.

Kardashian, by contrast, is a surgically enhanced, poundshop replica, a cubic zirconia to Monroe’s diamond. Marilyn brought that dress to life because she was so authentic; Kardashian killed it because she’s nothing but a fake.

Former actress Marilyn Monroe’s iconic ‘Happy Birthday Mr. President’ dress is viewed during a press preview at MANA Contemporary Museum

And that’s the problem with modern celebrity culture, and why events such as the Met Ball and the Oscars have all but lost their meaning.

Where once they provided a tantalising glimpse of a rarefied world, a chance to see otherwise elusive stars in the flesh, in today’s social media age they’re just another marketing opportunity.

The whole currency of fame has become so devalued, and the Met Gala is part of that. Touted as the most exclusive soiree on the planet, in fact, it’s just all the usual suspects competing for attention.

Kim Kardashian and Pete Davidson arrive to the 2022 Met Gala Celebrating ‘In America: An Anthology of Fashion’

And, like all over-privileged bubbles, the majority of the participants have almost zero self-awareness or connection with reality, no sense of how ridiculous they look, or how insulting their extravagance can seem.

The Oscars at least celebrate something creative.

But the Met Ball, brainchild of American Vogue editor Anna Wintour, is nothing more than a meaningless exercise in let-them-eat-cakeism.

Its sole purpose appears to be showing off for the sake of it, revelling in extravagance, laughing in the face of the rest of the world. One that, in these very challenging times — when inflation and the cost of living are soaring across the globe, and a world war is on the verge of breaking out — smacks of tone-deaf arrogance.

Perhaps if the dresses were elegant, breathtaking examples of craftsmanship, a welcome sunburst of glamour in a grey world, we could forgive the lavish self-indulgence of this tacky affair.

But who could possibly find this parade of overpriced, unimpressive creations remotely inspiring? There is a difference between providing a bit of much-needed light relief and merely shoving your privilege down everyone’s throat.

And this needy bunch of half-dressed attention-seekers is the last thing the world needs.

Actress Marilyn Monroe wears the iconic gown that she wore while singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to President John F. Kennedy at Madison Square Garden, during a reception in New York City. Standing next to Monroe is Steve Smith, President Kennedy’s brother-in-law

A daytime TV drama 

I’m quite relieved the Prime Minister didn’t immediately know which ‘Lorraine’ Susanna Reid was referring to in her interview with him yesterday morning.

Brilliant as Lorraine (Kelly, for it was she) is, I would much prefer a PM who isn’t intimately familiar with the daytime TV schedules.

Bet all his civil servants working from home know who she is, though: what else are you going to watch when you’re puffing along on your Peloton during office hours?

I can’t say I blame Anne Robinson for bowing out of Countdown. I’m sure Rachel Riley is lovely, but she’s awfully perky.

It must be exhausting sharing a show with her. Still, if Channel 4 needs a grumpy old bag to replace the Queen of Mean…

 HRT and the betrayal of women

There’s no mystery to the shortage of HRT. As Mariella Frostrup pointed out on my Mail+ podcast last week, the number of women taking hormone replacement therapy over the past few years has doubled.

That’s in large part thanks to the overturning of two flawed studies from the early Noughties linking HRT with an elevated risk of breast cancer, heart attack and stroke. But we’re still not quite there.

The NHS is reluctant to prescribe testosterone to menopausal women which, together with oestrogen and progesterone, forms the holy trinity of HRT. 

Testosterone acts to increase sex drive, but the benefits go far beyond that.

Healthy levels in women help to maintain strong hair and bones, as well as contributing to improved cognitive function.

The fact we’re still being denied this hormone just goes to show how little women’s health — and especially that of older women — matters to the people who make these decisions.

On the Roe vs Wade abortion debate, I have only one question: if the Republicans are really so keen on preserving human life, why don’t they start by making guns illegal?

At least Depp has humour

Roll up, roll up.

This week sees the second instalment of the Johnny and Amber show. The stage is set at Fairfax County Circuit Court, where Johnny Depp has given the performance of a lifetime.

He’s proved that however flawed he may be as a husband or a human being, he’s certainly not short of brains or a sense of humour.

Now it’s Amber’s turn to give her side of the story.

In truth, it doesn’t matter much who wins, since what is clear from the evidence is that they’re as bad as each other.

This week sees the second instalment of the Johnny and Amber show. The stage is set at Fairfax County Circuit Court, where Johnny Depp has given the performance of a lifetime

He with his pints of wine and mood swings, she with her incessant attention-seeking and histrionics.

I reckon they deserve each other.

In fact, such is the chemistry between them (still) in court, I wouldn’t rule out them getting back together once this is over.

Now wouldn’t that be the per-fect ending?

The World Health Organisation is not wrong when it warns that Britain will soon become the fattest country in Europe on account of our ‘Deliveroo’ lifestyle.

Mind you, what do you expect from a nation that, according to a survey, counts a pina colada as one of its five-a-day?

Poor Duchess of Sussex, having her ‘feminist cartoon’ cancelled by Netflix.

I’m not surprised they were apparently turned off by her preachy, dreary children’s book.

A lesson in how, just because someone looks nice in a frock and has a title, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are possessed of talent, literary or otherwise. 

Vote Labour? Never!

Members of my local Labour Party have cottoned on to the fact that my soon-to-be-ex-husband used to live at our address.

Clearly delighted by my misfortunes, they have decided it would be really hilarious to continually canvass me.

They ring the doorbell and then, with barely contained glee, ask how I might be voting in the local elections.

So just for avoidance of doubt: I may be divorcing — but I haven’t completely taken leave of my senses.

A British man who has had a penis growing on his arm for the past six years — after he lost his own to a blood infection — has now had it safely attached in the appropriate location.

The miracles of modern medicine!

Mind you, I know some women who’ve had a penis on their arm for years.

It’s called a husband.

Vets are urging pet owners to rub suncream on their dogs — apparently they get sunburn, too. I don’t doubt it.

But have they considered the mental faculties of our furry companions?

If you slathered a dog in St Tropez it would probably just lick it off.

If you tried it on your cat, it might tartly suggest the SPF was too low.

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