She’s attended an exclusive party hosted by Mario Testino, tweeted a photo with Cara Delevinge, accompanied Anna Wintour to a gig, starred in a controversial music video alongside one of the most famous men in the world and is probably one of today’s most photographed women. Listed in this way, the woman’s accomplishments almost sound like snippets from the diary of a supermodel. But I’m not talking about Kate Moss. It’s all about Kim Kardashian.
This week, Kim posted a selfie on instagram, recreating one of Elizabeth Taylor’s iconic images, with the original right behind her. For many months now I have read about Kim’s rise to fashion fame and I’ve let it wash over me. But the response to Kim’s photo is just something I cannot ignore.
“N-no, no-no,” was the reaction from one of my own friends when I showed her the picture. “Kim Kardashian can’t do Elizabeth Taylor. She’s an icon and Kim Kardashian is, well, Kim Kardashian.” Having looked at comments left under the picture, it would seem many people are of the opinion that in order to imitate a star like Miss Taylor, one must have the right credentials – Kim apparently falls short. And yet, fashion mags would have you believe that the reality TV star has taken the industry by storm and completed her mission to reach true style icon status. On that, we differ.
I should start by saying that I am not a Kim- or a Kardashians-basher. If anything, I admire Kim’s ambition and evolution from Paris Hilton’s personal shopper and star of one of the most famous online sex tapes, to fiancée of Kanye West and Fashion Week FROW-er. But does hanging out with the upper echelons of the fashion elite really earn you respect in the style stakes? Yet again, the fashion editors seem to say yes, but I’m inclined to disagree.
It is undeniable that Kim Kardashian’s style has changed over the last 18 months, and as a similarly pear-shaped and vertically-challenged female, I have kept a close watch for inspiration. She has come a long way from her blinged-out dresses and mini-skirts, now sporting Givenchy gowns and trendy tailoring.
She’s had a lot of help from her fashion-connected fiancé, being introduced to fashion heavyweights like former French Vogue editor, Carine Roitfield and Karl Lagerfeld, but for Kim’s subsequent cover shoot for Roitfield’s CR Fashion Book, the editor struggled to find designers willing to dress her. Quite the snub.
Rumour has it that Kim has ambitions to ease her way in to the industry at the very top and establish her own clothing brand just as our very own Victoria Beckham has done. But can re-branding oneself as a high-end fashionista really be enough to make the move?
Victoria bust a gut to complete her transformation from a singer to the respected designer she is today, as well as to be accepted by the fashion crowd. I look at her collections and I think: ‘Yes, that woman deserves to be amongst the greats in Selfridges and Harrods and wherever else she may be.” Everything VB puts out there oozes her stylistic stamp. The structure, the cuts, the colours, the material – they all say “I’m wearing Victoria Beckham”. Kim’s style at present is less of a statement and more of a rambling regurgitation of a style bible.
Kanye West said in a recent interview that he and his girl are the most influential couple when it comes to clothing, and that mainstream fashion magazines should be paying Kim more attention. She has certainly sparked talk with her outfits; her Riccardo Tisci for Givenchy floral gown at the Met Ball was likened to a sofa, curtains and a Mrs Doubtfire ensemble, for example. But, shoppers are not rushing to imitate her look.
I think it’s safe to say that Kim is still experimenting with her style and sometimes she gets it so right. But in so many pictures she looks try-hard, she looks uncomfortable, and like she’s dressing for a body shape other than her own; the frequency of these are proof she hasn’t quite got it.
Word in the rumour mill is that Kim will shoot a Vogue cover in the near future. Quite the achievement after reportedly being shunned by Anna Wintour previously! I can only hope the editor in chief will uphold the sanctity of that coveted spot and wait until Kim has really established herself as someone who knows what works. If she must be allowed a place at the top tables in the fashion world, and through who she knows rather than what she knows, let her at least know what works for her.
By Olivia Parish