Kim Kardashian West and Balenciaga have serious chemistry. In a short period, the reality TV star has built a reasonably dense history with the fashion brand, opting to wear it for the Met Gala, major life events (Happy Belated, Kim), and performances, like Kanye’s Donda listening party and SNL. In turn, Balenciaga has been broadcast consistently to her 260 million followers. The relationship is a win-win for both Kardashian West and Balenciaga. The former maintaining her status as a fashion icon and the latter pulling the number one spot in fashion this year per the Lyst Index Q3 report, as opposed to their fifth-place ranking last year. From the headlines to the search engine results, the sparks between these two are setting the world on fire.
The relationship between a designer and their muse can reshape the direction of a brand and inspire the designer so profoundly that they create something that outlives them. Take the Birkin bag or Audrey Hepburn’s Givenchy dress in Breakfast at Tiffany’s as examples. Both emerged from designer-to-muse relationships, the Birkin from an interaction between Jean Louis Dumas and Jane Birkin, and the Breakfast at Tiffany’s dress from the lifelong friendship between Hubert de Givenchy and Audrey Hepburn. Balenciaga’s creative director, Demna Gvasalia, and Kim Kardashian West have an electric relationship with one another that breeds similarly striking moments in fashion, like Kim Kardashian’s Met Gala outfit. After the event, searches for Balenciaga skyrocketed by 505%.
This isn’t Kim Kardashian West’s first time being a designer’s muse, but it might be her most successful shot at it. That’s because the DNA of the Kardashian brand pairs well with Balenciaga’s. They’ve both mastered the art of being a chameleon in the digital age, shifting between high glamour and memeability. From Kim K.’s diamond earring to Balenciaga’s French fry footwear, the two were a match made in meme heaven. Hence the online aftermath of their Met Gala collaboration. Most people and brands are unprepared for their viral moment, as, more often than not, it happens spontaneously. To channel virality and manufacture it is real power in the digital age – one that Kardashian West and Balenciaga know all too well.
Balenciaga is well-known for dramatic silhouettes and has more recently become known for its take on athleisure. Both of these elements pair well with Kardashian West’s existing style and branding. The reality TV star is no stranger to elevated comfort and structural silhouettes, from her Skims collection and to her Yeezy modelling. Together, Kardashian West and Balenciaga pull-off incredible head-to-toe spandex looks, like the hot pink bodysuit Kim wore on SNL. Her appearance on the television show underscores the power she yields with her influence. The show’s ratings significantly increased from their pilot episode for their target demographic and in viewership overall. The headlines that spurred after her performance included praise for her performance and for the hot pink Balenciaga looks she wore throughout the show. Kim and Balenciaga’s relationship status: conversation-starting power couple. We can’t wait to see what they do next.