Two years later, she’s not only lived up to that promise but she’s launched a beauty empire, KKW Beauty, complete with a full range of cosmetics and fragrances including her latest scent which is encased in a bust of her naked form. She’s also collaborated with the top designers in the industry ranging from her husband Kanye West (she was the star of his Yeezy Season 6 campaign) and most recently Donatella Versace, who created the ultimate Kim K dress at this year’s Met Gala, a gold chain mail design perfectly tailored to the star’s famous curves.
So when the Council of Fashion Designers of America were reviewing candidates for the inaugural Influencer Award at this year’s CFDA Awards, it’s no surprise that Kardashian West was top choice for the accolade. And her acceptance speech was just as memorable as the “nude selfies” line she delivered at the Webby Awards.
“I am kind of shocked that I am winning a fashion award when I am naked most of the time,” Kardashian West quipped when she took the stage to accept her award, adding, “But this is seriously such an honor, so thank you to the CFDA for this award.”
Kardashian West was surprised at the ceremony with a video message from husband Kanye West and their two-year-old son Saint. “We’re doing this video for the most influential person on the planet. Want to say hi?” West said. Sister Kendall Jenner also praised Kim for her influence saying, that she helped introduce a “body type in fashion that is not only accepted but is desired.”
Actress Busy Philipps presented Kardashian West with the award with a heartfelt introduction. “Kim, you’re obviously very beautiful but what is so unique about you is your willingness to take risks. One of the reasons that you captivate hundreds of millions of people with every red carpet appearance or even you know because people want to see who and what you’re wearing and how you’re wearing it,” she said. “You changed the way the rest of the world looks at fashion in so many ways, not only because I personally didn’t know you could wear high heels with bike shorts. You made me want to try and it did not work for me. But you are the influencer’s influencer. Your impact on how women dress and what they want has had real cultural significance.”
Philipps continued, “There is a direct line between posting a photo and then hundreds of millions of people around the world wanting the color of your hair, your makeup look, the top you’re wearing, the bag you’re using. Your openness with your femininity, your sexuality is truly empowering and the ultimate feminist statement.”
For the 37-year-old mogul, the award holds an extra special meaning, because of those in her past who doubted her career aspirations.
“It was maybe seven years ago when I had a publicist and she asked, what where my goals, what were my dreams, and I said I just want to be on the cover of a fashion magazine and she said to me, “Let’s get some realistic goals, because that will never happen.”
She continued: “And so of course I sent her my Vogue cover when it came out — an autographed copy. So it’s really a trip to me that I’m here getting an award for fashion, when it’s something I’ve always loved.”
And true to her signature skin-baring ways, Kardashian West hit the carpet at the Brooklyn Museum on Monday night wearing a crop top (with an open back!) and matching spandex maxi skirt custom designed by Rick Owens. The look celebrated West’s love of laid-back athleisure, but still had a formal twist.
“Lately my style has been really chill and my mom would kill me if I wore sweatpants and heels to a red carpet like this,” she told model Candice Huffine on the CFDA’s Facebook live. “So we wanted to do comfy and sexy.”
She added gold super-hero like cuff bracelets and a matching ring to her off-white two-piece. Plus a textured high pony-tail and a smoky copper eye.
Kardashian West added that she was “so humbled” and “excited” to be receiving the first-ever Influencer Award and credited her husband Kanye West (who she just supported at his album release in Wyoming last week) for overhauling her style.
“I’m super inspired by my husband fashion wise,” she shared. “He really helps me with all my looks and my makeover if you want to call it that. He is my best stylist.”
And just like the rest of us, the star admitted, “My mom does influence my choice for sure.”
As for social media, the influence loves to “follow fitness pages that inspire me to get up everyday and workout.”
In an interview with the CFDA’s Editorial and Communications Director Marc Karimzadeh last month, the 37-year-old mogul opened up about what having influence means to her.
“You can really tell someone’s influence when they wear a makeup look or clothes, and they start trends and inspire people,” she shared. “Since everything is so digital and on social media these days, many people can become amazing influencers. To get the Influencer Award is such an honor because it speaks to everyday people that you can influence and inspire. It’s a really special award to me.”
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She shared that being an influencer in the digital age has challenges compared to what it was like 10 years ago before social media.
“It takes a lot more work to think about something fresh and new,” she explains. “When you’re doing a photo-shoot, how can it be innovative when you’ve already seen someone a million times over and in so many different ways? I think it’s actually harder in the social media age. You really have to grab people’s attention since there is so much more out there to look at.”
KKW said she seeks fashion inspiration from her family, parents and grandmother.
“One of my grandmothers only wore Chanel and Ferragamo,” she shared. “She was super-conservative and chic, yet very strong. She either wore tracksuits or Chanel suits. My grandmother who still living – my mom’s mom – is a total Jackie O type. She just loves fashion. She has all of her stuff from back in the day, like vintage Gucci. I also remember my mom having every Alaïa and Versace gown in the ’80s and ’90s….these crazy, classic Gianni dresses and just everything Alaïa.”
While Kim used to dip into her moms closet at the beginning of her career, she’s now dressed by every top designer. She also seeks style inspiration from her idol Cher (she’s channeled the pop icon on many occasions) and Naomi Campbell, who is receiving this year’s CFDA Fashion Icon Award.
“Cher is everything to me. Cher and Naomi [Campbell] are my ultimate references. When I look at things, it’s like…Naomi glam, Naomi hair, Naomi clothes, and then Cher.”
She added that she was texting with Campbell before the Met Gala and made sure to tell her, “I hope you know you’re my reference for literally everything!”
Kardashian West also credits husband Kanye West for shaping her outlook on fahsion.
“I learned a lot from my husband. I remember how, maybe in 2011, he handed me a Carine [Roitfeld] book and said, ‘Study these books. You should know these people, because one day they’ll style you.’ I was like, ‘Yeah right, that’ll never happen.’ Now I can say that she’s styled me! It’s very surreal to see these things and these dreams come true, and I’ve loved learning so much along the way. The fun part is really learning the history behind so many designers and their journeys.”
When it comes to her dressing motto, KKW said she has two sides: “super glam or super chill.”
“There’s really nothing in between for me. I’m either in sweats or a gown,” she shared. “That’s how I’ve always been. I’ve always been in a Juicy sweat suit or a dress!”