Editor’s Note: Featuring the good, the bad and the ugly, ‘Look of the Week’ is a regular series dedicated to unpacking the most talked about outfit of the last seven days.
What comes to mind when one thinks of Kim Kardashian? Flowing dark locks, flawless skin or maybe her exaggerated curves wrapped in earth-toned spandex. A shorn head and a pair of reading glasses from 2003? Probably not.
Yet that was the image CR Fashion Book released into the world on Monday for the magazine’s 10th anniversary edition. Shot by American photographer and fashion favorite Nadia Lee Cohen, Kardashian (who was the publication’s first cover star in 2013) is almost unrecognizable in black and white — her thick hair seemingly buzzed short, manicured eyebrows thinned down to slivers. In the cover image, she wears a smudged white DSQUARED2 tank top and specs from Old Focals.
It’s a far cry from the reality star’s typical style, which is perhaps why the hashtag “Kim Kardashian” is trending on X (formerly Twitter) — where the image has been viewed over 22 million times already. However despite numerous online comparisons to the “Chucky” horror film franchise, there could be a method to her madness.
While the outfit is surprising, it’s not necessarily unstylish. The term “librarian chic” was coined within fashion circles on social media earlier this year after Miu Miu’s Autumn-Winter 2023 collection featured slim oval eyeglasses worn with pencil skirts and round neck button-up cardigans. Glasses chains — the practical solution for those regularly misplacing their reading specs — are currently stocked at Fendi for $620; while Bella Hadid, Doja Cat and influencer Gabbriette have all been spotted in thin-rimmed lenses. Kardashian’s buzz cut, too, offers an instant injection of cool — lately, the close crop has been sported by everyone from Emma Corrin to Florence Pugh.
“Ugly is attractive, ugly is exciting,” Miuccia Prada (Miu Miu’s founder and creative director since 1993) told British newspaper The Telegraph back in 2013. “(Finding ugly exciting) might have been a scandal in fashion but in other fields of art (in painting and in movies) it is common.”
And to survive in the fickle, ever-changing entertainment industry, excitement — as well as evolution — is key. Over the last decade, there have been many iterations of Kim Kardashian: Paris Hilton’s assistant dressed in hot pink Juicy Couture tracksuits, Ye’s muse dressed head-to-toe in Yeezy athleisure, and law student in oversized power suits for White House engagements. But all have aligned with her personal brand, which touts a contrived perfection. In a 2015 Vogue España cover shoot, she toyed with the idea of stripping back by appearing sans makeup. Until now, however, Kardashian never truly committed to such a subversion of expectations — timed just after her first major acting debut in the TV series “American Horror Story.”
Her image, once Kardashian’s prized possession, has been flipped on its head by stylist Carine Roitfeld and Cohen. Is it to help usher in a new era of her career? Time will tell.