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Kardashians: The Way They Were

An aesthetic made of velour tracksuits, flip flops and belly button rings

Kardashians: The Way They Were An aesthetic made of velour tracksuits, flip flops and belly button rings

At the beginning of June, Netflix released the first two seasons of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, the “funny, glam and addictive show”, as one can read on the platform, in which “sisters Kim, Kourtney and Khloé, with tough-loving support from mom Kris, became international celebrities.” 

Famous for being famous, the Kardashians are today among the most followed A-list celebrities in the world, also because of the influence of international artists like Kanye West and Travis Scott and the friendship of worldwide famous designers as Virgil Abloh, Kim Jones, Olivier Rousteing and Donatella Versace. It is no coincidence that they have been entitled "America's royal family". Still, there was a time when the Kardashians were absolutely no one. Everything changed in 2007 when the amateur sex tape Kim Kardashian Superstar starring Kim Kardashian and her boyfriend at the time Ray J (who?) was leaked online, but most of all when the first episode of Keeping up with the Kardashians aired on E! Entertainment. The reality show about their every-day life was immediately a hit and it has recently come to its 18th season

Through the years the Kardashians have become real style icons, but when the show started their fashion choices were a bit questionable. Born and raised in the West Coast and wearing flip-flops, the Kardashians were a concentration of provincialism and stereotypes of the Valley girls from the 2000s: belly button rings, velour tracksuits, giant and shining sunglasses, and a very expensive collection of it-bags with logos in view (their favourite were from Yves Sant Laurent, Balenciaga and Chanel). The best signature look at the time was the red sole by Christian Louboutin and the girls represented all that generation of millennials that sold their christening golds to buy the Louis Vuitton Speedy bag.

What did the Kardashians look like before they actually became the world-wide famous Kardashians, approved by Anna Wintour herself? nss magazine selected some of the most curious details straight from the show's first two seasons.


Kim Kardashian West

It seems impossible, but the Kimberly Kardashian who is starring in the first season is the same Kim Kardashian West that broke the Internet wearing Thierry Mugler at the 2019 MET Gala. Haunted by the ghost of her sex tape, in the first seasons Kim makes her first steps in the show-biz as a B-list celebrity, taking gigs that today would make you smile: hosting motor shows and club nights, modeling for cheap charity events in Los Angeles and even posing for the Celebrity Issue of Playboy


Kris Jenner

The woman who actually invented the word “mom-ager”: basically a monster wearing Dior sunglasses and managing her own daughters' success and humiliations in order to make money. Her ferocity knows no limits, as Kim, Kourtney and Khloé never stop to keep in mind that her affection is due to the 10% that she holds from the incomes of every gig.


Once Bruce Jenner

Before she became the most talked-about trans woman in the US, Caytlin Jenner was Bruce: winner of the men's decathlon event at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, husband of Kris Jenner, step-father of Kim, Kourtney, Khloé and Rob Kardashian and Kendall & Kylie Jenner's biological father. It looks insane, but Bruce was portrayed as the most conservative father, so conservative that the girls had to hide from him the gig for a sexy swimsuits brand's campaign. No one would have ever imagined that, only a few years later, she would have posed in a bodysuit on the cover of Vanity Fair to present herself to the world as Caitlyn.


This has never been a men's world

As for today, they have completely gone from the show, but the Kardashian/Jenner clan was also populated by men: Bruce Jenner with his sons from a first marriage, as Brandon & Brodie Jenner, the memory of Kardashian's father Robert Kardashian, but most of all Rob Kardashian, the little brother. Following a bad relationship with rapper Blac Chyna, a daughter named Dream, one unsuccessful spin-off (Rob & Chyna) and some diabetes problems, Rob is now missing from the show; he only survives in some birthday posts from the Instagram accounts of his sisters.


Kendall & Kylie Jenner

Kendall Jenner is now the most-payed model in the world, while Kylie Jenner is the youngest billionaire of her generation (or maybe not). Though, in the first season they were just two perky kids: in every episode they plan a trick to the damage of their sisters or parents. Still, looking at them in hindsight, their presence is melancholic: after all, they were just two middle school girls suddenly put in the public eye, victims of a media system that often made them feel clearly uncomfortable.


Architectural In-digest

It was not the time yet for Kim & Kanye's minimalist mansion and the crazy houses bought by Kris and Kylie Jenner (who recently moved in a mansion worth more than $30 million). The entire family happily lived under the same roof in Calabasas: a big house made out of wood, enriched by a giant porch with many wicker seating areas and the American flag. On the inside, the house showed off a very kitsch decor: everything was simply too much. Fun fact: Bruce Jenner was in charge of the garden. As he was completely useless in the economy of the family, his favorite hobby was to water the plants at the entrance.



Before they were famous, the Kardashian sisters actually had a more traditional job: they owned a boutique named DASH, a few meters away from their mother's children store, Smooch. Starting from Calabasas, over the years they opened two more stores: one in Manhattan (where Kim first met her husband-to-be Kanye West, but they were just good friends) and one in Miami. Their opening gave birth to two spin-offs: Kourtney & Khloé Take Miami and Kim & Kourtney Take New York. The chain was definitely closed in 2018, after 11 years of activity.


Shout out to their exes!

Before Kanye West, Travis Scott, Tristan Thompson and Younes Bendjima, there's always been Scott Disick, Kourtney's former boyfriend and father of her three kids. Starring as a regular since the beginning, in the very first episode, he is just an annoying little boy wearing Gucci sneakers and giant sunglasses. In the first season, Kris is already suspicious of his faithfulness: after 18 full seasons, one can say that she had a point.

But Scott was not the only ex: by his side, there were Reggie Bush, the football player who dated Kim for a while; the shadow of Ray J, Kim's ex with whom she made the infamous sex tape (lately remembered by Kanye himself in a line from Highlights, from the album The Life of Pablo: “I bet me and Ray J would be friends / If we ain't love the same bitch / Yeah, he might have hit it first / Only problem is I'm rich”); and also the shadow of Kim's first husband, musical producer Damon Thomas, who she married in 2000 in Vegas (under the effect of ecstasy, as she recently told) and with whom she's been married until 2004. Finally, there was Adrienne Bailon, star of the Disney Channel's cult movie Cheetah Girls, Rob Kardashian's girlfriend. 



Now they are tremendously famous and almost "post-humans", but at the time the Kardashians were just simple rich girls that didn't go to university and worked at their family's store. Their strength was that they were actually relatable, almost normal: Bruce was a prude father, Kris was the insensitive mother, Kendall and Kylie were always fighting in the car, Kourtney was the black sheep, Khloé spent a night in jail for drunk driving and Kim was always yawning. Seriously, she yawned all the time. As the Kardashian would say it: "Bible".