2014, the year of... the jenners
The Jenner side of the Kardashian clan made their triumphant entry on to the fashion scene in 2014, with Kylie taking lip lining to new heights, Kris making the rounds at the Paris shows, and Kendall becoming the new it-model of fashion.
There's an amazing old episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians in which Kim, already vicariously living out her fashion model dreams that never were through her 14-year-old sister, takes Kendall on a Grand Tour to New York to teach her the intricate ways of modelling. Kendall, of course, with typical goofy conduct, gets impatient during a walking class and, well, walks out. It's the hard-knock life. Back then, we all watched that episode doubting that a Jenner - and Kardashian by association - would ever get properly accepted into the fortress of high fashion. How wrong we were. 2014 was the year that not only 19-year-old Kendall made it to Mecca, but that all the Jenner women went from Calabasas debutantes to regulars on the Paris show scene. And that's including business maven, occasional cookbook author and budding fashion superstar Kris Jenner.
What have we learned from this beguiling family of fast-movers over the past twelve months, then? For one, Kendall has proved that contrary to scientific law it's actually possible to be a reality star and a high fashion model at the same time. Her much-debated - and by some still highly vilified - success in the fashion industry has challenged a world of culture snobs, who like to value people by their social worth according to the respectability of their professions. Kendall's fame may have played a part in her road to model stardom, and she may be doing a job that has more to do with looks than ability, but she's doing it well and in the most high-brow part of the industry, too. It's kind of baffling that the least charismatic member of that family should be the one to break down the barrier and prove to the world that Jenners and Kardashians can do more than sit around and poke at salad with forks in their two-tone kitchen, but she did, nonetheless.
Thanks to Kendall walking for Marc Jacobs, Giles and Givenchy early this year, and eventually for pretty much every house in the world before landing campaigns for Karl Lagerfeld and Estee Lauder (whose Instagram followers went up by 50,000 following the announcement), 2014 became the year when the Jenner brand was firmly planted on the international map of household names. And, mind you, as a name that doesn't necessarily have to go hand-in-hand with the Kardashian trademark either, even though Kim's American Vogue cover and wedding to Kanye, North's outings at various shows, Khloé's divorce and new relationship with French Montana, and Kourtney's endless pregnancies didn't exactly constitute a slow year on the Kardashian front. The Jenners' association with the Kardashian part of the family is still as profiled as ever, but Kendall's model fame is only accelerating Kim's current Victoria Beckham-esque transformation from glamour girl to fashion star.
These career links have of course been invaluable to both family brands throughout the year. During Kim's pre-wedding celebrations, the whole family was invited to Valentino Garavani's Chateau de Wideville outside Paris, and soon pictures of Kylie, Kendall and Kris smooching with fashion's elite were making the rounds on Instagram. It was a huge seal of approval for the Jenner women, and because it wasn't filmed for Keeping Up with the Kardashians, they once again cemented the fact that the show is just another job, and doesn't actually have to reflect their lives very much. (It's a disposition first adopted by Kanye when he married Kim and chose not to be on the show.) Likewise, Kendall managed to release some sort of ghost-written book of fiction for teen girls with Kylie and take part in a book tour without it having an effect on her fashionable new image. For her sister Kylie, 2014 was a year of self-establishment as well. But for the 17-year-old teen idol, it was more about personality than occupation.
Kylie wore her hair blue-tipped to Kim's wedding against the wishes of her bossy sister, trademarked a much-debated signature makeup style, and was continually spotted with a slew of young potential boyfriends such as Jaden Smith and Tyga, who both embody that philosophical bad boy charm Kylie's fan base swoon for. With her first coverage in fashion magazines starting to appear, 2015 could well be the golden year of the youngest Jenner. That is, of course, unless her mother beats her to it. After years of suffering under the reputation as the cynical, fame-hungry momager, who used her daughter's sex tape to turn her family into global superstars, it seems the world is finally ready to go a little easier on Kris Jenner, who - after all - is only guilty of being a brilliant business woman.
The matriarch's first undeniable stamp of fashion approval appeared in the April issue of American Vogue this year - featuring Kim and Kanye on its cover - in which Kris made a flattered appearance courtesy of Hamish Bowles, who wrote the interview. "'Anybody need anything?' asks the agelessly glamorous, apricot-skinned Kris, fluttering eyelashes as thick, long, and lustrous as a hummingbird's wings," Bowles wrote, calling Kris "an astute businesswoman and an executive producer". The flattery seemed like more than Kris could have hoped for, and served to highlight her impressive business savvy (and cash-cow great genes), which really is the reality of this lady's character and talent. Back at Wideville, Valentino called her "mama" and during Kim's wedding celebrations Kris was observed taking a step back for her daughter to shine in her marital spotlight.
This was how i-D met Mrs Jenner in September 2014 backstage at Balmain, where she was quietly and professionally orchestrating a photo call line-up of Kim, Kendall, Kanye, and Olivier Rousteing from the sideline, doing her day-to-day job as manager, which is often misrepresented on her reality show where she sometimes plays to the character of the 'fourth sister': that fame-hungry mother. In that sense, you would kind of wish for Kris that 2015 will be the year she finally gets the recognition she deserves—and she wouldn't make half a bad fashion star in her own right, either. As for the rest of the Jenners, we obviously haven't forgotten about a certain fabulous Olympic gold medallist, who could easily outdo any of his female Jenner and Kardashian counterparts in luscious locks and personal grooming. 2015 is yours, Bruce Jenner!
Text Anders Christian Madsen