“The fashion apocalypse is coming!” the internet cried in outrage. The voluptuous, reality TV-made bombshell had been dropped: Vogue US Editor Anna Wintour had allowed Kim and fiancé Kanye on the highly coveted cover of the April 2014 issue.
Had anything else happened to provoke such an outcry, you may ask? Well erm, no. That was literally it. Yet subscriptions were cancelled, accusations were made of a lapse in class on Wintour’s part, fashionistas wept and complained that the “fashion bible” had been ruined forever. Critics claimed that Vogue was no longer an elegant publication and more of a trashy tabloid, just like they perceived the celebrities now gracing the cover.
But despite the uproar, Wintour herself did not seem fazed in the slightest, even describing the cover as “charming and touching”. The legendary fashion editor defended the decision in the issue’s editor’s letter, putting to rest previous claims that floated around the tabloids of Kanye “begging” Wintour to put Kim on the cover. “I assure you this was not the case”, she writes, stressing that Vogue holds a long standing tradition of “being able to feature those who define the culture at any given moment, who stir things up, whose presence in the world shapes the way it looks and influences the way we see it.” Stirring things up sounds pretty familiar for “Kimye” – if it isn’t Kim’s eye popping backside or Kanye casually proclaiming himself as Jesus, there’s no arguing that the couple are one of the world’s most talked about.
As an avid and wholly unashamed Kardashian fan myself, I became defensive when browsing through the Tweets of rage and disappointment. Many a Twitter critic had claimed that Wintour had put a “porn star on the cover”, referring to Kim’s initial reason for being put in the spotlight – her leaked sex tape with rapper Ray-J. But do these critics not remember what happened next? Instead of letting the tape ruin her life and leading to a prompt retreat from mainstream life forever, Kim turned it around by settling for no less than $5 million dollars from the production company selling the tape. Sure, it’s probably not the American dream and it’s hardly highbrow, but a hastily made tape eventually made Kim and her family a multimillion dollar empire, a surname recognised worldwide and a breathtakingly swish pad in Calabasas.
And then there is Kim’s fiancé, who lovingly embraces a Lanvin-clad Kim on the infamous cover. Kanye West is not exactly known for his modest, down-to-earth nature – only recently did he claim to be the “world’s number one rock star”. Vogue readers were particularly vicious on his featuring in the magazine, making distasteful comments about his race and turbulent background. But like Kim, Kanye has overcome his fair share of adversity which could’ve easily blocked his road to the success he now enjoys. He initially struggled to enter the music industry, only being taken seriously as a music producer, alongside being rejected by numerous record companies on account of him not fulfilling the ‘gangsta image’. This is the man who has since come to write and release the greatest karaoke song of all time, ‘Gold Digger’! So just like his fiancé, he had to endure a few speed bumps before coming out on top in the end. Vogue is known for putting aspirational stars on the cover, and doesn’t that make Kanye’s backstory fit the bill?
With these merits taken into account, it remains puzzling as to why the famous pair gracing the cover is making the fashionistas lose their cool. The devoted readers of Vogue may be forgetting that the publication is nothing more than a product designed to sell, and what better way of selling a product than putting two of pop culture’s most recognised, successful and undeniably popular faces on the cover of it? To these followers, I would be keen to reinforce the old saying of ‘don’t hate the player’. Especially when that player is raking in the millions from their numerous businesses, endorsements and creative endeavours after what could be seen as unpromising beginnings in life, and the hater is merely the reader of a particularly pricey magazine.