Pete Davidson, Kim Kardashian, and More Than 50,000 Pearls Chatted at the Met Gala 2023

The Met Gala is kind of a thing for Kim Kardashian and Pete Davidson, both individually and—weirdly, considering the brevity of their actual public relationship—as a couple. Monday’s Met Gala 2023 was no exception. 

A brief overview of the Kardavidson Met Gala history, for those new to the class: The two stars met (no pun intended) for the first time at the 2021 event, then shared their first on-camera kiss in a sketch the next month when Kardashian hosted Saturday Night Live in October. Cut to April 2022, when they made their public debut as a couple at the premiere for The Kardashians. In a May 2022 full circle moment, they attended that Met Gala together as a couple, but by August 2022, they’d officially called things off. 

This year, to complete the threequel, Davidson and Kardashian didn’t attend the Met Gala together-together, but they were spotted chatting in what seemed like a friendly way. (A representative for Kardashian declined to share any additional comments about the conversation with Vanity Fair). Usher played third wheel in photos of the moment, where Davidson smiled at Kardashian and she made big hand gestures at the world. 

Kardashian continued her streak of headline-grabbing Met Gala get-ups. (Davidson wore a Fendi bucket hat, but we don’t need to discuss that.) Last year, she wore a Bob Mackie dress created for Marilyn Monroe, and was the subject of much speculation over whether her butt had broken the historic garment. Mackie himself called the loan “a mistake.” This year, she sported an off-white Schiaparelli ensemble draped with strands containing more than 50,000 pearls and 16,000 crystals, and that’s not even counting the (many!) pearls on her ring, earrings, and choker. According to her team, it took more than a dozen artisans over 1,000 hours to create the look, including hand-draping each strand of pearls around her neck and hips. She not only paid tribute to late Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld’s love of pearls, but also nodded toward another of her famous pearl moments: in 2007, Kardashian appeared clad only in pearls for a Playboy cover shoot. 

But back to those precious lil pearls. They’re a mollusk’s answer to boogers, the result of a secretion released to defend the oyster from irritants. Those layers build, and eventually, oop!, it’s a pearl! But while humans are veritable booger mines, most oysters (clams and mussels can but usually don’t produce pearls), most oysters only produce one to two pearls per cycle. In 2008, a restaurant owner in Lebanon had a real lunchtime surprise when she took a break: Instead of a sad lunch salad, she popped open an oyster and found 26 pearls in one shell. Pretty cool, but also pretty (extremely) uncommon! Harvesting pearls doesn’t always kill the oyster, either, though your definition of “always” may vary. Some strong oysters are returned to the oyster beds to make more valuable boogers, if they’ve proven themselves, according to my googling about the wild lives of oysters. 

VF’s own Delia Cai gazed upon Kardashian and the night’s other pearl-adorned celebs and wondered on Twitter, “How many oysters laid down their lives for last night.” While we can’t know for sure, not being oysterologists and all, based on this extensive research, let’s call it a conservative 48,742 oysters who contributed to the glistening moment last night, when Usher and Pete Davidson got to watch Kim Kardashian explain something to them. We humbly thank them for their service. 

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