The search term "Kanye Met Jeans" lives in my mind rent free
I've never really thought too hard about Kanye West's outfits at the Met Gala — most men's outfits don't impress me enough to stay in the forefront of my mind.
With the exception of Frank Ocean sprinting from the paps, Billy Porter being carried in by shirtless men, maybe Zayn's bionic arm or Harry Styles's gender bending looks and the hilarity of Jason Derulo falling down the stairs, why would I think about boring men in boring suits when every year brings a feast of gowns with inventive trains and sleeves and accessories?
Every year promises new sartorial delights that embed themselves in the cultural lexicon — and almost always, these are from femme presenting attendees. Zendaya alone has dressed like Joan of Arc, Cinderella, and the literal sun; and Rihanna, who is the undisputed queen of the event, showed up in 2018 fully dressed as the pope.
Planning for the 2021 Met Gala is underway. The theme is In America: A Lexicon of Fashion, in homage to the 75th anniversary of the Metropolitan Museum's Costume Institute, as well as to reflect on American culture in a year that has been tumultuous for the country.
The 2021 hosts are also causing buzz: actual Disney princess Naomi Osaka, Gen-Z fashion icon Billie Eilish (despite her recent controversies), poetess herself Amanda Gorman, and lastly Timotthee Chalamet — whose red carpet looks, especially at Cannes, often give us hope for male fashion.
So many memorable moments have happened on the Met steps (eat your heart out Gossip Girl), many iconic pairings have been debuted in the hallowed halls, and many iconic selfies have been taken in the Met bathroom. Because the Met Gala isn't only about the clothes. It's about status! It's about culture! It's about drama!
Who could forget the birthplace of the iconic Diddy crop? The Tom Hiddleston and Taylor Swift alleged affair? Solange attacking Jay Z in the elevator?
There's never a shortage of tabloid worthy news, and we revel in the the barrage of paparazzi photos and scandalous headlines that follow the extravagant event just as much as we do the fashion.
Whether by chance or design, sometimes certain stories go under the radar. Yet, because the internet is an unforgiving place, nothing gold can stay buried forever — especially not when it's a rumor as salacious and confusing as this.
The question I will be asking for the rest of my life: Did Kanye West shit his pants at the 2016 Met Gala?
The theme was Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology, and the select guests were dressed in shiny metals and futuristic designs. Some were flops, and others are still iconic to this day.
Kanye and Kim (RIP the celebrity couple that changed fashion) showed up in matching silver Balmain garb — Kim in an intricate dress, Kanye in a Balmain silver jacket and ripped jeans.
The jeans themselves made the headlines. Imagine showing up to the most exclusive fashion event of all time in ripped blue jeans. Only Kanye West could pull it off. The notorious jeans were almost $900 from streetwear label Fear of God, so they were right at home with other designer items.
However, the price and the audacity of the outfit choice obscured the real mystery of the night — whether Kanye shit that $900 denim or not.
But where did this rumor come from? Though rear angles of Kanye that night are mostly scrubbed (no pun intended) from the internet, a few salvaged pictures seem to show a mysterious stain on Kanye's back side.
However, these images are few and far between. It makes sense that photographers would not be in a rush to snap the back sides of celebrity guests. With the parade of famous attendees coming up the met steps, it would be a waste to spend time on the back of someone's head, or their jeans.
However, the images that were captured have caused speculation in the niche group of people who have spotted and wondered about the stain, as I have.
Was it a trick of the light? Is it a photoshop job? Did Kanye, father of two at the time, accidentally sit in chocolate before the Met Gala and decide not to change?
I have racked through every possibility in my mind, trying to invent an answer that isn't the obvious. It's so difficult to reconcile: Kanye West, one of the foremost musical geniuses of our time … and this shitstain.
Things had already started going downhill for Kanye West. Life of Pablo was released in February of that year, just months prior, and the album received a lot of skepticism. It marked the beginning of the end of his career — the Swan Song of the old Kanye and our ushering into the era of the Kanye we all know and are disappointed in now.
The new Kanye is one of perpetual embarrassment, marred by his supporting Trump, running for President, saying egregious statements about issues like slavery, the pandemic, and racism, and now a dramatic divorce from Kim Kardashian.
Though he has suffered publicly from mental illness, which can explain some of his erratic behavior, the ripple effects of his actions combined with his platform cannot be explained away.
And what can't be explained at all is the stain on his 2016 Met Gala jeans that has somehow evaded the eyes of more than a few people on the internet.
Various theories have been proposed as to what could have happened and why West would just … go about his time on the red carpet as if he didn't have the alleged stain.
Maybe he was high on coke that was laced with laxatives, as some reasoned, while others proposed laxatives or a juice-cleanse-gone-wrong as the cause. Maybe he was trying extreme crash diets for the event, they propose, and the effect was not as desired.
There are too many theories to really name, and each less tangible than the last — we'll never know if he suffers from chronic digestive illness, for example, or reacted badly to a pressed juice.
All we know is the very suspicious stain and the very confusing man whose jeans it lived on. And while there is no shortage of things to try to forget about Kanye West, for our own sanity and to listen to MBDTF in peace, this is the one that will haunt us forever.