Kim Kardashian's quest for (fashion) world domination continues apace. The erstwhile Vogue cover model and Paris Fashion Week fixture took to Instagram to unveil her first high-fashion campaign (co-starring Kanye) — for historic French house Balmain's menswear line.
The ad features a close-up of the couple about to kiss in what looks like a swank limo. They both look beautiful, and the image has a sort of swoony, sexy glamour that has become Balmain's M.O. since the young Olivier Rousteing took over the brand in 2011. Still, we can't help but feel a little...disappointed. Not because Kim Kardashian is starring in a fashion ad (really, we're surprised it has taken so long!), but because the result is just a little too predictable. Cliché, even.
Compare this ad to, say, Marc Jacobs's truly surreal 2008 campaign starring Victoria Beckham popping out of shopping bags wearing wacky hats. Jacobs plucked the ex-Spice Girl long before she was considered a bona fide designer, and the casting shocked the fashion guard — a paparazzi fixture starring in a Marc Jacobs campaign? Quelle horreur! But, the images also brilliantly subverted Beckham's stone-faced, pop-star image at the time, which really made them feel surprising, new, and like a work of art.
How about when Miuccia Prada recruited troubled celeb Lindsay Lohan for Miu Miu in 2007? While the ads didn't necessarily de-glamorize Lohan, they did dress her up as a sort of quirky fashion doll, which, knowing Prada's intellectual tendencies, was likely a message about the way the public manipulates the young women it idolizes and then casts aside.
Even recent Balmain campaigns took on a more editorial spin, like this one for spring 2015 which showed supermodels feasting on fast food, and was conspicuously missing Rousteing buddy Kendall Jenner.
So, the latest Balmain ad feels a bit late. Kim and Kanye have become — at least for now — fashion royalty. They sit front row at Paris Fashion Week, are BFFs with Rousteing and Givenchy's Riccardo Tisci (who is baby North's "fairy godfather"), and have landed a Vogue cover. Their presence in an ad alone isn't enough to really make an impact. It would have, if the ad starred Kim Kardashian in a role other than Kanye's Wife (especially if it still managed to not be about her butt). As for which designer could craft such an ad: Marc Jacobs, are you listening?