Post-Breakup, Kim Kardashian Continues to Own the Message

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https://www.vogue.com-By Raven Smith

Photo by Marc Piasecki/ Getty Images

Whilst refreshing viral feta recipes in my feed and muting Meghan Markle trolls, my mind turns to Kim Kardashian. After seven years of marriage (were we ever so young?), she filed for divorce from Kanye West last week. The initial report that Kim Kardashian West was dropping the West was immediately overshadowed by the zoo of men dressed as Viking fertility art storming Capitol Hill, the announcement felt like a fever dream. But the divorce is imminent, and it was Kanye’s erratic presidential bid that allegedly tipped the marriage balance from manageable to divorce-able.

It’s never nice when couples break up, and like Daft Punk, we are witnessing the demolition of a creative powerhouse. We never know the true interior worlds of the celebrities we follow like deities; we can see their breakfasts, but can we ever truly know their thoughts? Kim and Kanye always seemed so right for each other, each marveling at the other and enamored with what they saw. They felt authentically hooked on one another, genuinely and continually mutually impressed. I’ll honestly be gutted when they eventually turn up on Raya. Some celebrity brands are so pure, so non-constructed, that they cannot dilute. Gwyneth Paltrow is pure Gwyneth Paltrow, she could not be any more Gwyneth Paltrow. Cut Kim open and she bleeds pure Kim. Kanye is the same, following his God-complex impulses, with different degrees of success (you are either a believer or you are not). Despite the pressure of life in the glaring spotlight—which they both bask in willingly—the relationship worked. She’s been publicly so compassionate to her husband and his bipolar disorder and his manic episodes, gently schooling us on how to be around someone in that state, how to give them support and space.

It’s difficult to sum up the Kim Kardashian empire, which shows no sign of losing steam and will undoubtedly go from strength to strength post-Kanye. Before they married, Kim was already such an indomitable force, that being untethered will unlikely dint her continual rise. It’s easy to forget the magnitude of Kim’s solo ventures, all patent beige body-con and fearless commercialism. I’m old enough to remember Kim’s niche-ness, a seedling on the internet bubbling under the radar, rather than a saturate of mainstream modern culture. It’s no small matter that she’s prospered at a high-fashion level while pioneering a different body ideal for women (we could argue that it’s equally unobtainable, and that the very idea of a “body ideal” is reductive).

In the wake of the divorce announcement, Kim appears to be thriving, continuing to launch new products and post hyper-sexualized lingerie campaigns, a global post-breakup selfie. Judging from her recent spate of social posts—extraordinarily cute pictures of Psalm, a painting by budding Picasso North, Kim herself fully kitted out in biscuity Jacquemus—she is unconsciously uncoupling from her marriage, in that there’s been no public acknowledgment of the divorce. This unapologetically public woman has gone private. Sort of. The final season of Keeping Up with the Kardashians is currently filming, and Kim, savvy as ever, has kept publicly schtum while the cameras capture the proceedings playing out behind closed doors. Obviously, it will be ghoulishly gripping TV, giving the devoted audience more of what they want: the story behind the story. Relationship epilogues are funny things, seldom agreed on by both parties, but with the show taping her during another personal crisis, she’s yet again the author of the chapter. As always, Kim owns the message.

 

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