In 2014, Karl Lagerfeld said he wanted to “bring couture back to reality.”
In 2015, Kendall Jenner walked the runway in Paris for Chanel (again).
Call it “The Secret,” call it a fluke or call it a publicity stunt, but Karl is making good on his promise by putting a literal reality star in his show. Does Kendall look good? Yes. Is she a model? Yes. Should we take her seriously? As seriously as you would take anyone who is doing a job they are paid to do.
Whether her success is rooted in reality television or her family’s “pedigree” is irrelevant. Fashion is a business and Kendall is a business, and together, they’re the couture equivalent of a corporate merger. Kendall is huge right now, and people are paying attention (for good reasons and bad), so she’s helping Karl as much as Karl is helping her. Sure, Chanel was valued at $7 billion last year, but in order to stay a multi-billion-dollar company, Chanel needs to stay as relevant as Kendall currently is. It’s the nature of an industry that’s fueled by good press, and currently, marketers want that good press from millennials. Who’s one of the most-recognized millennials of today? Simply “Kendall.”
Okay, so it’s hard to believe that Coco Chanel‘s legacy has bowed to the pressures of marketing “best practices,” but the world has changed a lot since Chanel was founded in 1909. And the reality, whether we like it or not, is that “bringing couture back to reality” can mean targeting a generation who boosted “normcore” over quilted Chanel handbags. Legacy wearers won’t wear couture forever. Like trends, they die, and someone needs to step in their place.
Chanel has kept up with the Kardashians, sure, but it’s not the only brand that has. Here are 19 times Kendall has literally walked her way into the zeitgeist:
Is it time to take Kendall Jenner seriously?
Abbey Dawn by Avril Lavigne, 2013Starting small, Kendall walked for Avril Lavigne.Photo credit: Getty Images
Marc Jacobs, 2013Then she hit the big time with Marc Jacobs.Photo credit: Getty Images
Giles, 2014After Marc Jacobs, Giles had to have her. Photo credit: Getty Images
Givenchy, 2014And then Givenchy. Photo credit: Getty Images
Chanel, 2014And then Karl Lagerfeld. Photo credit: Getty Images
Chanel, 2014And Karl Lagerfeld (again).Photo credit: Getty Images
Diane Von Furstenberg, 2014Then came Diane Von Furstenberg.Photo credit: Getty Images
Tommy Hilfiger, 2014And then another American brand, Tommy Hilfiger.Photo credit: Getty Images
Donna Karan, 2014But wait, then Donna Karan wanted in on the action.Photo credit: Getty Images
Marc Jacobs, 2014And then Marc Jacobs wanted his muse back.Photo credit: Getty Images
Fendi, 2014Over the pond, Fendi landed Kendall.Photo credit: Getty Images
Ports1961, 2014And so did Ports1961.Photo credit: Getty Images
Pucci, 2014And the print-master, Pucci.Photo credit: Getty Images
Dolce and Gabbana, 2014Then it started to snowball. Dolce and Gabbana wanted Kendall.Photo credit: Getty Images
Balmain, 2014Then Balmain wanted Kendall.Photo credit: Getty Images
Givenchy, 2014And then Givenchy wanted Kendall back.Photo credit: Getty Images
Sonia Rykiel, 2014Followed by Sonia Rykiel.Photo credit: Getty Images
Chanel, 2014And back to Chanel (again). Photo credit: Getty Images
Chanel, 2015And finally, as if it wasn't obvious that Karl Lagerfeld is into the partnership, Kendall walks in Chanel (again). Photo credit: Getty Images