Kim Kardashian and Kanye West have been at the centre of media attention for almost a decade, both separately and on their own. The couple made headlines yet again in the last week with the sad news of their divorce proceedings. In homage to the last eight years of iconic fashion looks and social media outbursts, we took a look back at the couple’s contribution and influence on fashion and culture.
After a ten year friendship, the pair publicly announced their relationship in 2012. Kim’s style almost immediately transformed with the help of Kanye in a memorable episode of KUWTK. He convinced Kim to swap her pattern-heavy, colourful pieces for a more refined aesthetic. Bringing with him stylist Renelou Padora, the pair cleaned out Kim’s wardrobe. “He is giving me a full clothing makeover,” Kim said in the episode. “Kanye’s definitely inspired me to be a little bit more of an individual. I think my style is just evolving and changing and I think it should“. This moment saw Kim blossom from those early 2000’s looks into the curated minimal style we see her in today.
FRONT ROW IN PARIS
Kanye propelled Kim into the world of luxury fashion, with a plus one to New York’s most coveted event, The Met Gala. Kardashian came under fire in 2015 for her floral Givenchy dress being nicknamed ‘Mrs Doubtfire’ by the media, amongst a few sofa memes running around the internet. “I didn’t know anyone & I’m sure no one wanted me there lol. I went home & cried after of insecurity but this is one of my fave looks now,” Kim tweeted a few years later. Kanye’s designer friends Riccardo Tisci and Oliver Rousteing welcomed Kim into the front row of their shows in Paris, not without criticism from fashion fanatics and industry figures though. “She’s the girlfriend of my friend. I’m not into judgment. She started coming to my shows, and some people criticized me. But I love Kanye and now I love Kim, and I didn’t care what people thought” Tisci told People at the time. This fresh interruption in the front row opened up the possibility of figures outside of the designer world to be seated in the front row, allowing for the accepted presence of social media influencers and reality TV stars. Kim is now a coveted face at Paris Fashion Week, attending shows only of her closest designer friends.
KEEPING UP WITH KANYE
Keeping Up With The Kardashians was an integral part of Kim’s rise to fame but never before had a celebrity as high profile as West been featured on a reality TV show. It gave unprecedented access to their private lives with no exception. Unable to hide from the cameras, over the years the show has aired many important moments between the couple including Kim’s infamous Paris kidnapping aftermath and the couples dispute over Kim’s 2019 Met Gala dress. It showed a more accessible, relatable side to celebrity life, showing ‘normal’ family moments, the good, the bad and the ugly.
In 2014, American Vogue broke tradition by having Kim and Kanye appear on the March issue cover. Published one month before their wedding, it was the first time in Vogue history that a reality TV star had graced its cover. Kim wasn’t taken seriously by the fashion elite, causing the magazine to receive widespread criticism from its readers. “Kim and Kanye were a part of the conversation of the day, and for Vogue not to recognise that would’ve been a big misstep,” Anna Wintour said in her Masterclass trailer. Fast forward 3 years later and the reality star, turned beauty tycoon, launched KKW Beauty which immediately sold out on the day of the launch. Both Yeezy and KKW Beauty were valued at $1 billion USD each in 2020, making the Kimye empire one to be reckoned with.
YEEZY’S INFLUENCE ON KIM
In 2015 Kim Kardashian became Yeezy’s walking promo. In the years to follow, Kim became the face of the brand, most memorably previewing Season 6 by walking around Calabasas in a paparazzi-style shoot. Her style became much more influenced by the brand. She began to dress in more minimal and casual silhouettes and started to regularly dump her heels for the most hyped Yeezy’s. Kim admitted that dressing became easier thanks to Kanye who would curate her outfits with the Yeezy team. “They have a team of stylists and they put it all together. I’m totally inspired by Kanye and the Yeezy team. He makes my life so easy,” she told People. Since then the streetwear influence on Kim wardrobe has remained a staple of her style.
MENTAL HEALTH IS NO JOKE
During the year 2018, Kanye West faced a huge backlash from the press and media following a series of unusual tweets he had posted in April. The rapper was posting sporadically with comments saying “I no longer have a manager. I can’t be managed” and “Self Victimisation is a disease”. The tweets raised eyebrows among many people, with West being dubbed ‘crazy’. His wife was quick to squash the insensitive comments stating, “To the media trying to demonize my husband let me just say this. Your commentary on Kanye being erratic and his tweets being disturbing is actually scary“. West revealed he had been diagnosed with Bipolar disorder when promoting his 2018 album, Ye, describing it as “Superpower” in his song ‘Yikes’. This exposed people’s insensitivity around mental health and a lack of awareness.
KANYE FOR PRESIDENT
If 2018 hadn’t presented enough challenges for West, he announced his run for the presidential election on independence day. The rapper made the announcement via Twitter “We must now realize the promise of America by trusting God, unifying our vision and building our future. I am running for president of the United States”. Unfortunately for West, his run was short-lived, missing important campaign deadlines and vital paperwork. He did make the ballot however and accumulated a total of 60,000 votes across 12 states. Some famous faces, beside his wife, were supporters, with Elon Musk publicly endorsing ‘Kanye For President’. However many voters were aggravated at his campaign, with many believing it distracted from the importance of the election. Maybe next time.