Kim & Kanye & Pete & Julia

What are we supposed to make of Kim Kardashian’s budding romance with Pete Davidson, and of Kanye West’s new relationship with Julia Fox?

By Naomi FryJanuary 9, 2022

Silhouettes of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West at the Met Gala in 2021.
Together, Kimye seemed too big to fail. At the same time, they were so big, the drama of their lives so overblown, that failure had in some ways become inevitable.Kristin Callahan / Alamy

Nearly a year ago, in February, 2021, Kim Kardashian, the first lady of reality television, filed for divorce from her husband and the father of her four children, the hip-hop superstar Kanye West. In the couple’s seven years of marriage, Kardashian, who is forty-one, and West, who is forty-four (and who has recently changed his name to Ye), had become much more than the sum of their parts, creating a collaborative spectacle that had made them one of the most iconic celebrity-mogul couples in the world. Kardashian, the daughter of the late attorney Robert Kardashian, who was a close associate of O. J. Simpson’s, had in her younger years been a fame-adjacent Los Angeles girl (onetime friend and assistant to Paris Hilton; star of a sex tape with the middling early-aughts R. & B. singer Ray J), and in 2007 she rose to much greater renown along with her family on the E! reality show “Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” which aired until last year. But her image was further upgraded by her union, in 2014, with the artier, more experimental West, who introduced Kardashian to the world of high fashion. “Styling Kim, that’s a language of love for me,” he said, last year. “That’s how I bagged her.” Kardashian herself was quick to attribute her newfound status as a style icon to West: “I really think that my relationship with my husband Kanye really changed everything,” she told CNN, in 2015. “I mean, back in the day I thought I had the best style. I look back at outfits and I’m, like, mortified.”

West turned his wife into an avatar of avant-garde sleekness—a simultaneously minimalist and exaggerated whorl of curves tucked snugly into sculptural, monochromatic leather and jersey made by cutting-edge design houses such as Balenciaga—which paved the way for Kardashian, a savvy entrepreneur, to become an arbiter of taste in her own right. She launched a makeup and skin-care line, KKW Beauty; and she started a clothing and shapewear company, Skims, which recently launched a collection in collaboration with Fendi, the high-end Italian designer. West, meanwhile, in his years with Kardashian, continued to release music and became a born-again Christian, directing his religious fervor into a series of invitation-only gospel performances. He expanded his own Yeezy fashion empire, an endeavor that was heavily promoted on “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” and which has reportedly made him one of the richest Black men in America.

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Naomi Fry is a staff writer at The New Yorker.More:Kim KardashianKanye WestCelebritiesFashionBalenciagaGap

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