From bandage dresses to Balenciaga: Kim Kardashian’s style evolution

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 (Getty/The Independent)
(Getty/The Independent)

When Kim Kardashian filed for divorce from Kanye West in February 2021, it didn’t curtail one of the most important aspects of their relationship: Kim acting as Kanye’s muse.

In the first episode of The Kardashians, which drops on Hulu and Disney+ this week, Kim revealed that Kanye told her he wanted to “just quit everything and dedicate his life to being my stylist”. “Kanye and I remain friends,” Kim explained in the episode, which was filmed in October last year. “Kanye’s always dressed me, Kanye’s always styled me.”

Kim added that Kanye would send her “random emails” in the early 2000s with looks of what her style should be. “He would send me so many reference pictures, so that’s always really been our thing. But there’s also a side of me that really wants total independence too,” she added.

Kim and Kanye finalised their divorce in March this year, and through Kim's subsequent red carpet appearances, it seems clear that she has started to claim back her own style. She started out as a celebrity stylist after all.

Pre-Kanye, Kim was venturing towards skin-tight clothing, which would eventually become her signature look, along with her peak mid-2000s on-trend aesthetic. Think: wide waist belts, boot cut jeans, and colour coordinated accessories.

Read on to see Kim’s style evolution.

2006: The celebrity stylist

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(Getty)

Back in 2006, when she was better known as a “celebrity stylist” to the likes of Paris Hilton, Kim began making multiple red carpet appearances.

The then-25-year-old attended the likes of the ​​Rock & Republic Spring Collection Party in jeans with matching white boots, a white bag and a white waist belt. Her dress choices were very on trend for the era, with knee-high boots, glittery eyeshadow, and dropped waistlines.

2007: The reality star

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(Getty)

Keeping Up With The Kardashians first premiered in October 2007, and Kim spent the year gracing fashion shows and store openings in Los Angeles.

It was also the year that Gossip Girl first aired, and it seems Kim drew inspiration from the headband-pioneering characters with her thick Alice band and bracelets she wore to the opening of the Melrose Place Diesel store in May 2007.

We also got a glimpse of what would soon be her trademark style, when she wore a figure-hugging dress to the Badgley Mischka swimwear fashion show in July that year.

2008: Peak Y2K fashion

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(Getty)

Kim brought back her penchant for all-white accessories during the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, with her white handbag matching her white knee-high boots.

She also donned an incredibly of-the-era outfit to an MTV gig in March that year, with boot-leg jeans, a long white singlet, and black button-up vest.

2009: The Grammys

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(Getty)

Kim attended the Grammy Awards for the first time in 2009, where she played red carpet host for E!

Reflecting on the look in a 2016 blog post, Kim wrote: “This was such a fun night! For the 2009 Grammys, I had the chance to act as an E! news host on the red carpet.

“My silver-white organza dress was by Toni Maticevski and I paired it with Christian Louboutin silver heels. Mario Dedivanovic did my makeup—soft pink lips and lush lashes. I love how the entire look came together.”

2010: Dating Kris Humphries

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(Getty)

In October 2010, Kim began dating basketballer Kris Humphries. But, before that ill-fated meeting, Kim attended the Emmy Awards in August, wearing a Grecian-style gown.

Later in September, Kim visited London during a press junket and gave us some iconic pictures of her walking past phone booths in a bubble skirt, wide waist belt, and a beret.

2011: Second marriage, second divorce

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(Getty)

Kim was, famously, married for 72 days in 2011. Humphries proposed in May that year and the pair wed in August - an event that was filmed as part of a four-hour E! special. However, Kim filed for divorce on 31 October citing irreconcilable differences.

Pre-wedding drama, Kim wore a chic white jumpsuit in some of the first pictures of the pair after they announced their engagement. In February, she donned a blazer, skirt and tights to attend the Charlotte Ronson Fall 2011 fashion show.

2012: The Kanye era begins

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(Getty)

Kim and Kanye West actually began dating in late 2011, but didn’t go public with their relationship until 2012.

It’s clear to see the shift in Kim’s style following the pair’s union: jeans and flowy dresses are out, bodycon is in.

2013: First Met Gala

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(Getty)

2013 was a big year for Kim - she was pregnant with her first child, she got engaged to Kanye and she attended her first Met Gala, the latter of which she’s been a firm fixture at ever since.

Kim highlighted her baby bump in an all-over floral Givenchy dress for her first walk up the Met steps. She gave birth to North West just over a month later on 15 June.

Later that year, she took her first foray into blonde hair with a dip-dye look, which she complemented with a mustard yellow satin dress and coat to The Hollywood Reporter‘s 22nd Annual Women In Entertainment Breakfast in December.

2014: Kim and Kanye wed

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(Getty)

Kim played it safe with her fashion choices this year, but ventured into latex dresses for the first time - something that would soon become a staple.

She and Kanye got married in Florence, Italy in May 2014. For her third wedding, Kim wore a stunning long-sleeve lace Givenchy gown.

2015: Kim goes blonde

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(Getty)

Kim broke the internet when she dyed her dark locks blonde for Paris Fashion Week at the beginning of 2015. On 11 March, she was seen attending the Louis Vuitton show with Kanye wearing an all-black ensemble to place emphasis on her bleach-blonde locks.

By the end of the year, Kim had returned to her darker roots just in time for the birth of her second child, son Saint, who was born on 5 December.

2016: Kim is burgled

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(Getty)

While it was a relatively uneventful year for Kim style-wise (although the bleached eyebrows at this year’s Met Gala were a fun look), 2016 was the year that Kim was robbed at gunpoint in a hotel room in Paris.

Speaking to David Letterman in 2020, Kim said the robbery was “seven or eight minutes of torture”.

“They brought in the concierge from downstairs, handcuffed, with a gun up to him. They were yelling at me in French, and I just sat up,” she said. She added that she mentally prepared herself for her death and thought one of the intruders might sexually assualt her. Kim was not injured or abused during the attack, but has since said that she has endured anxiety attacks as a result.

In November 2021, 12 people were arrested in connection to the theft of the £9m worth of jewellery believed to have been stolen during the attack.

2017: Blonde Kim returns

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(Getty)

Blonde Kim made a comeback in 2017, with her white-blonde locks making an appearance at both the Tom Ford Spring/Summer 2018 show in September and the the 2017 LACMA Art + Film Gala in November.

She kept things simple with her outfit choices this year, opting for black attire that oozed sex appeal.

2018: Kim welcomes baby number three

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(Getty)

Kim and Kanye’s third child, Chicago West, was born via surrogate on 15 January, 2018.

Kim stuck to her Kanye-influenced signature style, with two figure-hugging outfits this year. For the 2018 Met Gala she wore a gold Versace dress. At the MTV Movie And TV Awards she wore a white crop top and sequined skirt - but it was her braided hair that saw backlash from social media users, who accused her of cultural appropriation.

2019: Kim welcomes baby number four

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(Getty)

Kim’s waist seemed to defy the laws of physics when she turned up to the Met Gala wearing a skin-tight Theirry Mugler dress. The dress took the designer eight months to make and was embellished with “dripping” crystals to give Kim a just-stepped-out-of-the-ocean look.

Kim and Kanye’s fourth child, son Psalm West, was born just three days after the Met Gala, on 9 May, again via surrogate.

Later that year, Kim attended the WSJ. Magazine 2019 Innovator Awards in a look similar to one Julia Fox would wear during her and Kanye’s month-long courtship in 2022.

2020: Kim turns 40

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(Getty)

While the rest of us were in various pandemic-enforced lockdowns, Kim flew her closest friends and family to a private island in Tahiti to bring in a new decade.

Her red carpet looks were limited in 2020, but she gave us a fashion throwback at the Vanity Fair Oscars after party by wearing Alexander McQueen’s “oyster dress” which first appeared on the late designer’s runway for his Spring/Summer 2003 collection.

2021: Kim files for divorce, is officially named a billionaire by Forbes

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(Getty)

Kim shocked the internet by filing for divorce from Kanye West in February 2021. Only two months later, in April, Forbes welcomed her to its list of the world’s billionaires for the first time. It cited the success of her shapewear brand SKIMS and her beauty business KKW Beauty as the lucrative outlets that saw her net worth reach the impressive milestone.

Fashion-wise, Kim’s Met Gala look in 2021 spawned a million memes as the mogul turned up to the exhibition opening in September in an all-black Balenciaga gown. One month later, in October, Kardashian hosted Saturday Night Live where she met (and kissed!) current beau Pete Davidson.

2022: Kim comes into her own

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(Getty)

Kim’s divorce from Kanye was finalised in March this year after months of social media drama - and the two red carpet looks she’s given us since then show that she is stepping into her own style.

While she is retaining that figure-hugging look she is so famous for, she’s experimenting more with colours and beauty looks, but has stayed loyal to her go-to designers. For the premiere of The Kardashians, she wore a silver Theirry Mugler dress, and for this year’s Vanity Fair Oscars after party, she was draped in blue Balenciaga.