A vibe shift is coming. Just look at the latest issue of Vogue.
We all have a hill that we’ll gladly die on. My roommate routinely goes on tirades about how no movie should run longer than 90 minutes (sorry, Scorcese). A lot of people on the internet are currently committed to the "hill" (read: conspiracy theory) that Kylie Jenner and Timothee Chalamet are a PR stunt engineered by Kris.
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it over and over for the rest of my life: mine is that the Kim and Kanye Vogue cover of September 2014 caused a major vibe shift.
This, to me, is the first cultural domino to fall and we’re still living in its aftermath. It’s the hill I hope they bury me on. So let me explain.
Traditionally, the September issue of Vogue is a huge deal. It’s an extra thick, extra coveted issue because it’s usually the highest circulation month and advertisers literally fight — and bribe — for their spots. So do models, celebrities, and brands. Therefore, the unveiling of the September cover is always earth-shattering. In 2014, Vogue took a giant gamble: plastering Kim and Kanye on the cover to celebrate their wedding.
These days, a Kim K cover would be a no-brainer — she was just GQ’s Man of the Year, for instance, and posed on the cover with a bag of Cheetos — and a Kanye cover would be unfathomable — he’s in Wyoming somewhere, canceled. But in 2014, Kanye was a certified rap royalty and Kim Kardashian was only known for her reality show and penchant for bandage dresses.
Almost a decade ago now (do you feel old yet?), the cultural landscape was completely different. Rap music, for example, had been popular for years but was only just moving from a fringe genre to a celebrated part of the mainstream. So, although Kanye was a household name, he was a surprising choice for the cover. His foray into fashion, Yeezy, was still getting its sea legs and not yet the giant it would become. And as for Kim? She was pretty much a joke.
But this Vogue cover changed it all. People were outraged— saying Vogue had lost the plot and that it was going downhill — but Anna Wintour stuck to her guns. She took a risk, made a bet that KimYe would be fashion’s next hottest couple, and, against all odds, she was right.
After that cover, fashion changed. So did culture itself. Slowly but surely, we entered the streetwear and hypebeast epoch. Ruled by sneakers and sweatsuits, this era embraced a hip-hop-inspired take on fashion that contrasted with late-2000s business-casual attire and the millennial hipster chic of the early 2010s. Supreme was the hottest brand on the market. Sweatpants were acceptable club attire. And, meanwhile, KimYe was proving Anna Wintour right one Yeezy ensemble at a time.
Anna’s gamble also foreshadowed how enmeshed fashion and celebrity culture would become. These days, front rows of fashion shows are packed with actors, singers, and internet personalities instead of editors and industry vets. Budding industry darlings partner with brands like Loewe, Schiaparelli, and Jacquemus and make names for themselves as “fashion girls”. Even Kylie Jenner just launched a fashion line — perhaps she'll grace the cover of Vogue next.
But now, Anna has taken yet another risk.
Just days ago, out of nowhere, Vogue Magazine posted a very surprising pair on social media: Amazon billionaire CEO Jeff Bezos and his latest wife Lauren Sanchez.
The write-up was even weirder. From comparing Bezos to Iron Man (he wishes) to revealing that Lauren once outbid Kim Kardashian on a dress for $200,000… this Vogue spread felt like a paid advertisement for Jeff Bezos’s mid-life crisis. Don’t get me wrong, I love it when hot girls have post-divorce revenge eras — like Em Rata or even Jeremy Allen White — but Jeff Bezos? We can not give him the validation.
And I’m not alone in thinking this. Vogue readers were fuming. Just check the comment section or the TikTok video essays. In the court of public opinion, billionaire Bezos is not winning. Some readers asked how much Bezos was shelling out for this profile, while others pointed out that Mackenzie Scott, his ex-wife who has committed to donating her fortune, would have been a better feature.
But I can’t help but wonder: what does Anna Wintour know? Could another vibe shift be imminent? Now that we’re used to seeing celebrities leverage fashion in service of their fashion brand, will we be seeing tech moguls and billionaires do the same? Next thing you know, Elon Musk will be the face of Balenciaga and all the tech kingpins will stop trying to go to space and instead try to score invites to the Met Gala and Vogue World.
If that’s where all this is headed, it’s looking pretty bleak. Not to undermine Anna’s judgment, but with this scenario, I hope she’s wrong.
GQ’s Man of the Year Isn’t Who You Think
They’d say I hustled, put in the work
They wouldn't shake their heads and question how much of this I deserve
What I was wearing, if I was rude
Could all be separated from my good ideas and power moves
Taylor Swift, “The Man”
When Barbie premiered in July, women felt seen in the cinema — perhaps for the first time in forever. Greta Gerwig’s Barbie was more than a beginner’s feminist manifesto, but also a meditation on what it means to be both a woman and mother in today’s world. It was a gentle reminder that maybe we’re all simply trying our best — and that our best is enough.
It also encourages women to celebrate each other more. The Barbie effect had us all wearing pink, emulating Margot Robbie’s cowboy-chic style, and referring to men as our “Kens.” And with help from Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour, her friendship bracelets, and her sense of community, women were winning. It’s the first year in history that women dominated the Billboard Hot 100 — twice (thanks to Swift and her Midnights and 1989 (Taylor’s Version) album). Like I said, it’s a good year to be a woman.
This celebration of women and our successes is long overdue, but the promising news is that it isn’t slowing down. Barbie’s feminist wave has shifted how we accept ourselves (and others) as women.
So it’s no surprise that women are raking in awards this year too, dominating the Grammy nominations and more. We hail celebrities for all sorts of achievements: Patrick Dempsey is People’s Sexiest Man Alive (deserved), Taylor Swift is the world leader (they literally projected her welcome onto Christ the Redeemer), and Austin Butler is Best Elvis (because somehow we have multiple).
And one of the buzziest celeb awards is run by GQ (short for Gentlemen’s Quarterly), whose “Men Of The Year” award is a highlight of every fall/winter. Similar to TIME’s 100 list, GQ likes to celebrate those who have taken the world by storm annually.
This year, the recipient of the Man of the Year award is none other than Kim Kardashian…and they’re not wrong.
Kim has been taking her empire to new heights in 2023: building on the 2022 launch of her SKKN-care line, breaking ground with Skims’ Men’s campaign, the Nipple Bra, and becoming the official partner of the NBA/WNBA, working on prison reform, filming The Kardashians on Hulu, starring alongside Emma Roberts in Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story as Siobhan Corbyn, I could go on.
Calling someone “the man” has now become synonymous with “a winner.” Saying “you’re the man” is a sign of their success. And though this might have problematic roots, women are reclaiming the term — like the Taylor Swift song. And in the grand scheme of things: Kim Kardashian is the man.
Some hard-working men get the title alongside Kim in the GQ issue. The other MOTY honorees include Jacob Elordi (AKA Elvis #2, who’s starring in blockbusters like Sofia Coppola’s Priscilla and Saltburn alongside Barry Keoghan), Buffalo Bills’ safety Damar Hamlin, designer-turned-filmmaker Tom Ford, and Travis Scott. But you have to admit that Kim hasn’t come up for air this year.
It’s right there for us to see in episodes of The Kardashians: Kim flying from country to country for another event on her booked and busy schedule. She’s literally everywhere at once, officiating recently divorced Chris Appleton and Lukas Gage’s wedding, shooting countless magazine covers and promo shoots for her growing enterprise, opening a Skims pop up here, and shooting an episode of AHS there.
Is there anything she can’t do?
Meet The Previous Recipients Of GQ’s Men of the Year
Kim Kardashian is one of the few women to grace the cover of GQ’s Man of the Year edition. Technically dubbed “Tycoon of the Year”, acknowledging her business successes over the past few years (and for the gender neutrality of it all)- Kardashian joins a host of some of the most famous men in the world. Let’s take a look at the past five years:
2022: Brendan Fraser, Andrew Garfield
2021: Lil Nas X, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Tom Holland
2020: Megan Thee Stallion, George Clooney, Trevor Noah
2019: Jennifer Lopez, Tyler, The Creator, Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino
2018: Michael B. Jordan, Henry Golding, Jonah Hill
Women are normally recognized during the Men of the Year ceremonies, as it is a celebration of all people who emulated pop culture that year…however, no year has celebrated women quite like 2023.
The Men of the Year Awards 2023 were held on November 15 at London’s Royal Opera House where cover stars like Jeremy Allen White, boygenius, and Kardashian were in attendance.
Other female recipients included Megan Thee Stallion and Rihanna, who have paved their own paths in both the music and fashion industry. Rihanna with her Savage x Fenty inclusive lingerie line and Fenty Beauty has been changing the makeup and underwear game for a while now. Megan Thee Stallion is coming off a high-profile trial that she won against Tory Lanez, under immense public scrutiny, has become a figure for mental health and domestic violence while still creating hit records.
It’s one of the most female-dominated GQ events we’ve seen, which is a pattern. The GRAMMY Award nominations just rolled out with so many female artists nominated, you’d think it’s a record. In the top three categories, female acts make up seven out of eight nominees.
This year, women are the man. It’s an exciting, uplifting time when we get to celebrate with each other instead of tearing one another down. Kim K is just one more example of the Barbie effect.
The holidays have arrived...
It's a week before Thanksgiving, which means we have been thrust into the holiday season whether we were ready or not. While you're gearing up to see your family and friends for your obligatory annual catch-up conversations, we need new music now more than ever. Because there are travels to be completed, and soothing is needed.
And as I previously mentioned, it's holiday season- which means many artists will be releasing holiday tracks to get you in the spirit. Compiling songs from Spotify's New Music Friday playlist, the countless press releases flooding my email, and doing my own investigations, we have yet another week's worth of new music ready!
That's right, I've got a fresh playlist of songs you didn't know you needed in your life. Whether you have Friendsgivings to attend, clubs to dance in, or are just staying in on this lovely November Friday, there's always a good time to find new tunes.
We've got no time to spare, so let's get listening!
Lauren Spencer Smith- "Santa Baby"
Lauren Spencer Smith is one of the most exciting rising stars in pop music right now. She can spin any track into gold, whether it be a ballad, or a rock-inspired pop dance tune. Now, she's here with a taste of the holidays for us with a rendition of "Santa Baby"- her clear, concise vocals are flawless, haunting, and flirty.
She's fully in holiday season...releasing a cover of "Hallelujah" earlier this month and releasing "Broke Christmas" alongside her "Santa Baby" cover. It begs the question: is there anything she can't do?
Sabrina Carpenter- fruitcake
Another woman in the music industry having a massive year is Sabrina Carpenter, who went viral on TikTok for her "Nonsense" outros on tour, both her own and opening for Taylor Swift. Coming off her fifth studio album with emails i can't send in 2022, Carpenter is establishing herself as the "next big popstar."
She's here with her holiday EP, fruitcake, with six festive songs that are uniquely Carpenter. You can get tired of the same old holiday cheer songs over and over, but Sabrina Carpenter's fruitcake proves there's still ground to be broken in the holiday song category.
Jimmy Fallon, Meghan Trainor- "Wrap Me Up"
Jimmy Fallon and Meghan Trainor team up for a light-hearted track during the gifting season. Begging for you to "wrap me up" because she's the "whole damn package", you get the classic Meghan Trainor sound and vibe. Plus, any track adding Jimmy Fallon is guaranteed to be instantaneously exciting.
What I love about Meghan Trainor's music is that it truly is all about having fun and feeling your best. It's an infectious, often viral method that gets everyone dancing whether they wanted to or not. "Wrap Me Up" is no exception , which is no surprise.
Chloe Stroll, "Homesick"
Chloe Stroll is one of Popdust's favorites for a good reason: she has an honest approach to making quality music that is both relatable and easy to listen to. Her new single, "Homesick", is proof that she is willing to work hard to create these borderline perfect tracks and shows her growth as a new artist in the industry. She sings about yearning for someone's love, being homesick for them.
It's a pop sound with synths and, of course, a hint of piano. It exhibits her vocal range and you can hear the emotion through each chorus as she launches in. If you need an introduction to Chloe Stroll, this is the song for you.
Elle Darlington- "christmas is you"
Elle Darlington has a soulful, ethereal tone that is reminiscent of pop divas we know and love. You wonder if there is a note she can't hit as she effortlessly glides through "christmas is you". She delivers a dreamy bedroom pop Christmas song that makes you want to go out in the snow and romanticize your holiday season. Darlington says,
“Christmas has always been my favorite time of year. This songreflects the thing I love most about Christmas - being with my family and friends. So many of my idols including Mariah & Ariana have been the soundtrack to my favorite festive memories; so it’s super exciting that ‘christmas is you’ could play a part in making those memories for other people.”
DRAMA- "As I Am"
"As I Am" is the latest single off of DRAMA's Til We Die EP that offers high energy and otherworldly sound, sending you straight to the club dance floor. Til We Die is one of DRAMA's best bodies of work to date, and "As I Am" perfectly encapsulates all the album has to offer. It's like stepping into a haze in the best way possible, listening feels like the ultimate escape.
DRAMA delivers electronic R&B that includes thought-provoking lyrics and refreshing beats...melding into catchy club tracks that make you want to go out all night long. "As I Am" is a peek into a tortured love affair, masked by a celestial, entrancing sound.