Back when Anna Wintour put the new and unfortunate faces of America, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, on the cover, many a Wintour and Vogue fan gasped. But did the magazine make lucrative sales? In a word, yes. When asked about it, Wintour shamelessly responded that she did it purely to capitalize off it. She used the logic that celebrities on the cover of a magazine, which is notorious for having only models on the cover, was shocking. And fashion should only be shocking. But this shock effect is definitely the wrong kind; it’s not a daring Stephen Meisel shoot, or provocative nudity. Instead, the shock value comes from a previously respected magazine’s foray into low brow celebrity. Campaigns and runways are worlds that have drastically changed, in the past five years or so. They used to only belong to coveted supermodels; the Naomis and Kates of the world.
Celebrities draw people to runway shows for the wrong reasons: they're kicking true fashion lovers out of their world, and pushing entitled one percenters who would rather look at their phone than the flawless garments in front of them into this realm. It’s changed the energy of runway shows, and the fashion community; generally, making it more of a cheap novelty than the glamour it used to be about. While exclusivity always used to be a core of the fashion industry, nepotism given to celebrities, and in turn, their children, has turned the previously exclusive industry into somewhat of a joke. Being an it girl meant that you had something irresistible about you - a natural charm and chicness along with your modeling chops. These it girls are swarmed with paparazzi, but aren’t the most memorable faces, nor do they have the charm of people who haven’t been born into a reality TV show.
Now, we have Michele Williams as the face of Gucci. Rihanna is the new style icon representative of Balmain. Miley Cyrus, of all people, was shot by the amazing David Sims. And falling in love with celebrity all over again is the reason why a new breed of supermodels is being born. The celebrity spawn. The most notable faces are that of Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid, both of whom have families whose claims to fame are rooted in their reality tv personalities. Gigi was featured on the cover of the exclusive fashion magazine, CR Fashion Book. Kendall Jenner made it to fashion week within less than a year of getting into the modeling world, causing a backlash with some of the models she walked with, over ethics of hard work and paying dues. Other models might have equal chops, but not the money or resources to rise to the top, so why do these two get ahead so quickly? People would ridicule an amateur whose only portfolio was the equivalent of being an Instagram model, but these famous kids have about equal qualifications to those amateurs, yet have a bevy of fans.
The sanctity surrounding the industry is so muddied by now that celebrities are turning into designers (see: Kanye West’s very polarizing and ‘edgy’ collection), and putting some fake stakes in a passion that wasn’t even theirs to begin with. Fashion used to be a bit like a fairytale. Now, it’s turning into a circus (the trashy entertaining kind, not the classy one), per the words of Oscar De La Renta, who is also dubious of the shift of focus from designers and editors to celebrities. since I was a teenager, I’ve been a stylist in New York. If I was a teenager growing up now, I’m not so sure I’d be enamored by the industry. I’d roll my eyes at it the same way that I roll my eyes at tabloid magazines with loud gossip headlines; and honestly, that's all these kids boil down to.
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