Kim Kardashian West has recently expanded her beauty empire to include both a shapewear line and a collection of body focused ‘skin perfecting’ make-up.
Kimono is the name of her line of what she calls ‘SOLUTIONWEAR™’. According to the brand’s Twitter account, Kimono ‘celebrates and enhances the shape and curves of women’ and is inspired by Kardashian West’s own experience with shapewear. It will be available in nine different shades, in sizes XXs to 4XL, and includes a ‘solution short’ for all those times you’ve wanted to wear a dress or skirt with a slit but still needed to keep that one bulgy thigh in check.
This is a new approach to shapewear: Offering real solutions in 9 shades and sizes XXS-4XL, @kimonobody celebrates and enhances the shape and curves of women. Each piece is designed with soft yet supportive fabrics for everyone to feel their most confident. #KimonoBody pic.twitter.com/Cr81BqiLT4— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) June 25, 2019
The name ‘Kimono’ does seem to have been chosen almost exclusively because of the pun. I’m curious as to whether anyone explained to Kim what the word itself actually means. The word literally translates to ‘thing to wear on the shoulders’. Then, of course, there’s the cultural appropriation of it all. According to the LA Times, Kardashian West is trying to trademark ‘Kimono’ as well as related terms such as ‘Kimono Body’ and ‘Kimono Intimates’. Bang up job there, trying to trademark and commodify yet another marginalized culture’s history and aesthetic. Twitter responded accordingly with the hashtag #KimOhNo.
These are my grandmother's kimonos. Some of these are dyed and embroidered by herself. When I was child, I loved watching she embroidered on kimono cloth. My grandmother who makes beautiful embroidery is also beautiful and I always felt it magical. #KimOhNo pic.twitter.com/29v3pzCGDn— Ginji_GoldFish (@Ginji_GoldFish) June 26, 2019
This is #kimono I wore to my wedding. I'd like Kim to imagine how she'd feel if someone treated her wedding, prom or baptism dresses as lingerie.— Misako Oi (@misakohi) June 26, 2019
"Kimono" are not just clothes but are a symbol that evokes precious memories and important life events. #KimOhNo pic.twitter.com/gD2KrTzsLR
Japanese immigrants, who brought kimono to the U.S. in the first place, were deemed an “inassimilable race” and denied citizenship before and after WWII because of signifiers of their Nikkei identity—the way they spoke, lived, prayed, ate, and yes, dressed. #KimOhNo pic.twitter.com/UOxL7ygLSw— Densho (@DenshoProject) June 25, 2019
And then there’s the body make-up.
I’ve learned to live with and not be insecure of my psoriasis, but for days when I want to cover it up I use my @kkwbeauty Body Makeup. In this after photo I also used my Body Shimmer in Pearl and Loose Shimmer Powder in Pearl. Launching today at 12pm pst #kkwbeauty pic.twitter.com/GjwuBb06zm— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) June 21, 2019
In a series of videos posted to her social media, Kim shows off shimmer powder on her legs as well as body foundation designed to hide veins, blotchy skin, and in Kim’s particular case, psoriasis. Kardashian West has talked in the past about suffering from the condition, which is an autoimmune disease that results in patches of red, dry, and/or flaky skin. In one video posted to Instagram, she uses the body make-up to conceal her grandmother’s veiny hands. As of the writing of this post, the KKW Beauty skin perfecting body foundation (retailing for $45) had completely sold out.
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My grandma MJ asked me about my Body Makeup and wanted me to come over to help cover her veins. North & I went straight to her house & showed her exactly how to use it & I love how happy she is with the results! Swipe to see how amazing this before and after is on MJ! Let’s talk about the transfer. I’ve been using body makeup for over a decade now and in my experience you either get coverage that doesn’t transfer but it’s super dry and looks fake or its the opposite and really moisturizing but completely transfers. My new @kkwbeauty Body Makeup is in between. If you let it dry before putting your clothes on it transfers way less and if you set it with a translucent powder it hardly transfers at all. It was important to keep the skin looking flawless yet natural. Swipe to the 3rd slide to see. In the transfer video we didn’t have translucent powder but tried one of my pressed powders and that worked pretty good too! My body foundation really evens out and corrects your skin tone and conceals veins and bruises. My formula is super creamy, hydrating and long lasting! I can’t wait for you guys to try the entire Body Collection launching in two days on Friday, 06.21 at 12pm pst at kkwbeauty.com #kkwbeauty
I don’t wear make-up, so I’m keenly aware that I’m not Kim’s desired demographic. If someone were to hand me a tube of this body foundation, I would have absolutely no idea what to do with it. I’m not here to judge or dismiss the women who may find this product desirable and wish to use it to conceal parts of their body they find unsightly. A number of people have responded to Kim on Twitter and Instagram with stories of scars, skin ailments, and various other issues they believe will be greatly eased by make-up that will cover it, and I’m happy they have that option.
I have psoriasis. It’s the one thing I have in common with Kim Kardashian beyond our comparable wealth and sex appeal. And typically, we’re advised not to put heavy make-up on it because it can prove highly irritating and super messy. I’ve written before about having psoriasis and the exhaustion I feel when others see my skin condition as something to mock, conceal, or be ashamed of. People make a lot of assumptions about you when they see psoriasis on your face or body, although I must imagine they come to different conclusions for someone like me compared to Kim Kardashian.
I fully understand if you have a skin condition like psoriasis and just want to cover it up for a bit when you wear a nice dress. You do you. But here’s the thing: When Kim Kardashian describes this body make-up as her ‘beauty secret’ for dealing with her own psoriasis, do you actually believe her? What, you think she doesn’t have access to the best dermatologists in Los Angeles to deal with those breakouts? Her brand has always relied heavily on an image of aesthetic perfection that even she can’t achieve. If she could then she wouldn’t use all the Instagram filters or (allegedly) have had so much work done. She wouldn’t have spent years stealing the beauty ideas and aesthetics of black women for her own personal profit. She wouldn’t be shilling detox tea. When you craft your entire persona around encouraging mostly young women to achieve for something that is literally impossible, it shouldn’t surprise you when everyone ends up feeling crap for failing. This is one of the main reasons the Kardashians prove so infuriating to so many: They expose the cold hard truths of influencer bullsh*t because they sell stuff that everyone knows they never use.
I get that this has been a touchy subject for some. If I wore make-up, I’m sure there’s a part of me that would find some solace in a product to conceal the psoriasis patches that prove the most unsightly to me. I’m not here to knock anyone’s decision to do with their psoriasis or acne or patchy spots as they please, especially since so much rhetoric around make-up is judgmental as all hell and rooted in the same sort of faux ‘but we’re all beautiful’ nonsense that’s just as tough to deal with as the other side. I’ll save that crap for Jameela Jamil. But for me, frankly, I’m just tired that there’s even all this pressure to strive for a kind of ‘perfection’ that is so smothering and literally impossible. It’s bad enough to be derided for the bad skin on my face, so how the f*ck am I supposed to cope with being judged for scabby legs?
Header Image Source: Getty Images.