There’s a new fashion critic on the scene, and nobody is safe.
Is there anything more terrifying than a tween with a taste for brutal honesty? Yes, actually — one who is also a celebrity. I am of course talking about North West.
Kim Kardashian’s unfathomably famous 10-year-old daughter nearly broke the internet this week after ruthlessly roasting her mother’s Met Gala outfit in a recent episode of The Kardashians. For those in need of a refresher, the Skims founder wore a custom pearl-draped Schiaparelli dress to fashion’s biggest night, which honoured the late designer Karl Lagerfeld.
The day before the 2023 Met Gala, North West — who has a well-documented love for fashion — came along to her mother’s fitting with Schiaparelli creative director Daniel Roseberry. What did this plain-spoken preteen have to say of his couture creation comprising 50,000 freshwater pearls, 16,000 crystals and over 1,000 hours of labour? For starters, “The pearls look fake.” (!!!)
Now, if it were I who received this review, I would simply spontaneously combust. But Daniel Roseberry — who is widely regarded as the internet’s favourite fashion designer — is surely immune to unfavourable opinions of his work. And yet… “This is my worst nightmare come to life,” he nervously laughed as West went on to list her hyper-specific notes. (“There’s way too [many] gaps in the pearls.” “It’s looking, like, beachy.” “The diamonds ruin it.”)
Of course, Roseberry is not new to criticism. This is a man who, back in January, was nearly cancelled after debuting life-like animal heads on evening gowns at Paris haute couture week. Still, it seems the intimately humbling experience of hearing Ms. West compare his bejewelled labour of love to an item from “the dollar store” seems to nearly break him. “It’s like I’m being punk’d,” he later says to the cameras in a conspiratorial voice. “The night before the Met, getting read for filth by a nine-year-old.”
But it was not just Roseberry’s design that garnered an unsavoury review. Viewers were then treated to West’s equally outspoken takes on other A-list looks as they hit the Met steps. “It is cringe,” she chuckled at Jared Leto’s life-size cat costume. (We were all thinking it.) She didn’t mince words about her mom’s ex Pete Davidson, who wore a bucket hat and trenchcoat. “You’re going to the Met Gala, Pete. Not the gas station.” “What the heck is he wearing?!” she demanded of another attendee (who was, by the grace of God, granted anonymity).
Yes, her delivery stings. I sure wouldn’t want to cross paths with her on laundry day. But she’s not afraid to be honest, ask questions, and clearly communicate where an outfit is falling short for her. And because of that, many are Team North on this issue. “She ate it up. She had very valid critiques,” said fashion critic HauteLeMode on TikTok. “She genuinely has a great eye,” commented writer Rian Phin. “I’ve never disagreed with North,” wrote another.
After all, throughout her decade of life, North West has received an undeniably in-depth fashion education. She recently graced the cover of i-D magazine. She has rubbed shoulders with Anna Wintour at the front row of Couture Week. She inexplicably owns more than one piece of Michael Jackson’s world-famous wardrobe. With this much access, how could she not know her stuff?
As the episode continued, Kim Kardashian went on to note that this scrutiny is pretty par for the course for her eldest child, who is also her harshest critic. (“I mean, I had John Galliano fitting me for a dress, and North was giving notes.”) And perhaps — hear me out — that’s not a bad thing. Kim Kardashian is someone who famously takes herself very seriously. But North West, with her biting bluntness, brings some levity to her mom’s constant quest to go viral.
Last year, after the reality star controversially wore (and reportedly damaged) Marilyn Monroe’s historic 1962 gown, FASHION posed the question: Can anyone say no to Kim Kardashian? It appears that one person on this earth can, and her name is North West.
Her irreverence, her frankness, her downright disapproval is, dare I say, a little refreshing. She’s here to say that just because something is worn by a famous person and photographed on a red carpet, doesn’t make it good. Watching her do this — through a screen, from the comfort of my own home where she cannot see my clothes — I feel, somehow, inspired to think a little more critically about fashion in general.
Celebrities (I know you’re reading), I leave you with this: Be ready to bring it to the 2024 Met Gala, because North West is watching.