The White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner, that much-maligned evening of political and media schmoozing formerly referred to as the “nerd prom,” returned Saturday night after a two-year Covid-19 hiatus. It is probably not probably the most obvious place for an obsessively-followed, newish celebrity couple to make their red carpet debut.
But when that obsessively-followed, newish celebrity couple were attempting to, say, be taken seriously as thoughtful people in their very own right, beyond their gossip-page fame; in the event that they were attempting to suggest engagement with real issues quite than with reality TV; in the event that they were attempting to convey the concept their relationship was not nearly leveraging two sorts of fame for viral attention but in addition a couple of meaningful connection — well, the White House Correspondents’ Dinner might then be the neatest selection around for such an unveiling.
Enter Kim Kardashian and Pete Davidson: Couple of Substance. If not identical to us, then identical to all the opposite attendees!
The 2 gamely posed as a pair on the evening’s step-and-repeat, just as Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his wife, in addition to Jake Tapper of CNN and his wife, did. Unlike Drew Barrymore, who wore a Lanvin dress with floor-sweeping sleeves, Ms. Kardashian and Mr. Davidson didn’t vamp for the photographers, or get caught taking giggly selfies with fellow attendees like Gayle King and Norah O’Donnell. Mr. Davidson didn’t even pull any silly faces, as his “Saturday Night Live” characters often do.
In a series of getting-ready shots posted to Ms. Kardashian’s Instagram account, the couple walked down a hotel hallway holding hands, Mr. Davidson helped her right into a limo they usually relaxed on a couch.
Ms. Kardashian wore a mock turtleneck crystal Balenciaga mermaid dress with a bit train, relatively easy makeup and her hair down. Compared with the full-body black Balenciaga dress she wore to the Met gala in September, which covered her from the highest of her head to her toes, it was a notably restrained selection, just on the appropriate side of showy — as was Mr. Davidson’s black Prada suit, skinny tie and black Vans sneakers.
Alongside President Joseph R. Biden in his black tux; Dr. Jill Biden in her white tux; the evening’s host, Trevor Noah, in his black tux; and guests like Evan Spiegel (in black tux, natch) and Miranda Kerr (in pink princess dress) and Brooke Shields (in gold), they really fit right in.
It was a fairly smart technique to start reframing their narrative, which up to now has been largely co-opted by Ms. Kardashian’s former husband, Kanye West, now referred to as “Ye,” and his increasingly unhappy social media posts about their relationship (not to say the music video for “Eazy,” through which he buries a Pete look-alike alive).
Perhaps it was also meant to function a subtle reminder of Ms. Kardashian’s work with prison reform, the indisputable fact that she recently passed California’s baby bar exam and has ambitions of opening her own law firm. And it solid Mr. Davidson within the role of calmly supportive partner.
In spite of everything, they might have made their red carpet debut on the Met gala, happening a mere two days after the Correspondents’ Dinner, and most definitely in far more extreme fashion (literally and metaphorically). They might have known that there all of the lenses of the fashion-celebrity power complex can be trained on the guests.
The indisputable fact that they selected to begin in Washington was a fairly clear indication of how they desired to be seen by the world (and the move will tackle much more significance in the event that they do attend the Met gala).
The beltway media world has all the time had a kind of jones for celebrities, and celebrities have often loved them right back, a mutual appreciation society that reached its apogee throughout the correspondents’ dinners of the Obama years. On the one hand, Washington is drawn to the glitter and glamour (and hundreds of thousands of Instagram followers) of the Hollywood famous and their ability to make the essentially uncool seem exciting. On the opposite, the Hollywood famous are drawn to the best way association with policymakers and D.C. insiders can alleviate their mental insecurity complexes.
The connection suffered throughout the Trump years (Donald J. Trump was the primary president to refuse to attend the correspondents’ dinner since Calvin Coolidge showed up in 1924), but when all that is any indication, it’s on an upswing again.