By Carine Roitfeld and Photographs by: Karl Lagerfeld; Text by: Laura Brown; Creative Director: Stephen Gan
Kim Kardashian West and Kanye West’s house sits atop a steep driveway in a gated community in Los Angeles’s Bel Air neighborhood. Kanye, on the phone, is pacing in front of the house, occasionally obscured by a column or a shiny silver sports car. He waves me in with a publicly infrequent smile and apologizes for his workout gear: Miami Heat shorts and a black T-shirt.
This is not really their house, though. This is a stage home where the family—West, Kardashian, and their children, North, three, and Saint, nine months—are camping (a term used loosely; the place is majestically minimal) for the next few weeks until their new home is finally ready. Prior to this, they’d spent more than a year at the Calabasas home of Kim’s mother, Kris Jenner.
Kim click-clacks in, wearing a long, khaki Lycra dress—”a Yeezy sample”—and full, precise makeup. Kanye perches on a coffee table between two gigantic white couches. On the table are some art books: Annie Leibovitz, the architect Álvaro Siza, and oddly, one titled Great Stud-Farms of the World. “Huh?” Kanye says when I ask if, for any reason, he’s into stud farms.”Nah, that’s not our book.That’s for staging.”
And when it comes to staging, Kim and Kanye know a thing or two…
Kanye West: I think we should get an outdoor shower.
Kim Kardashian West: Well, outside would be freezing, so maybe one inside and one outside. One and one.
KW: But there’s a way that you can open the glass, like a sunroof. I’m thinking about the plaster too, around the bathtub.
KKW: We’ll discuss.
Laura Brown: Okay! So, this is in no particular order. Kanye, your favorite body part—your own or Kim’s.
KW: Is the face a body part? My favourite body part of Kim’s: heart.
KKW: Awww, now I have to say the same. But of my own, I like my upper stomach. I just seem to always have abs.When I’m not really pregnant, I have a great two-pack. [Laughs.] And of Kanye’s? I have to say his heart. And I’ve always loved his legs.
CHANEL: On Kim: Chanel coat, gloves, and necklace: On Kanye: His own clothing.
LB: Favourite song of all time?
KW:“All Along the Watchtower.” The Jimi Hendrix cover.
KKW: I really like the song “Only One” [West with Paul McCartney].
LB: Favourite Taylor Swift song?
KW: For me? I don’t have one.
KKW: I was such a fan of hers.
LB: Favourite book?
KKW: Embraced by the Light. It’s about a woman who passed away during surgery, and she went to heaven, had her experience, and then came back. My dad [Robert Kardashian] would try to get me to read it, and I wouldn’t. Then when he passed away, I was cleaning out my room in his house, and I found it. I read it, and it helped me. I felt like my dad was okay.
KW: Yeah, I don’t have an answer for that.
KKW: Your mom’s book or your book?
KW: Yeah, but that’s like, you know…
KKW: Too self-promotional?
KW: Yeah, too promotional.
CHANEL: On Kim Kardashian West: Chanel coat, necklace, gloves, and bag; Yeezy Season 3 bodysuit; Laura Mercier Matte Radiance Baked Powder in Bronze 02 ($40); On Kanye West: His own clothing; Yeezy Season 2 boots; Apple iPhone 6s phone (throughout).
LB: Celebrity crush when you were young?
KKW: I thought Johnny Depp was so cute when I was younger. Kanye, didn’t you like Pam Anderson?
KW: Yeah! That’s what I would say.
LB: Historical figure you identify with?
KKW: This one is hard.
KW: Us? Muhammad Ali, Marilyn Monroe—all day. Next question.
LB: Hidden talent? I don’t know if you guys hide your talents, but if you do …
KKW: I can smell when someone has a cavity. It’s a very specific smell—not a bad-breath smell—but something that is really strong.
KW: I can analyze people’s intentions. Immediately.That’s just a warning. To everyone.
￼PRADA: On Kim: Prada jacket; Laura Mercier Long Lash Mascara in Black ($26); On Kanye: His own clothing.
LB: Biggest insecurity?
KKW: I would say looking fat sometimes. I really do take it seriously. I try to do what I can and diet and stay in shape, and it does make me insecure when I’m heavy.
KW: I used to have insecurity about my finances, then I announced that I had debt, and now I don’t have any insecurities.
KKW: Then you didn’t have any debt; it seemed to all figure it out.
LB: You just put it out there, like The Secret.
MAX MARA & ROBERTO CAVALLI: On Lara: Max Mara coat; Fendi bag, socks, and shoes; On Natasha: Roberto Cavalli coat; Fendi bag, socks, and shoes.
KKW: I rented an island for his birthday. A far, far away place where no one can find us.
KW: You see, those are the type of statements that make people not like us, more so than the “I’m the best” statement. It’s more the “Oh, yeah, I just rented an island for his birthday …” You know in Meet the Parents, Owen Wilson’s character? All of our shit is like Owen Wilson’s character; he’s like, “This is when we jumped off Mount Everest, and we wore turtle flight suits or whatever.”
LB: Is there anything you wish the world didn’t know about you?
KKW: Definitely. I was going to say some ugly looks and stuff.
KW: Some pregnancy stuff. You killed this second pregnancy, though.Your body slammed that crap. You made that second pregnancy your bitch.
CÉLINE: On Lindsey: Céline coat, bags, and shoes; Laura Mercier Matte Eye Colour in Coffee Ground ($25).
KKW: I wish I had a little bit more privacy.
LB: Okay, TV shows you binge-watch?
LB: What would you do if you were invisible?
KW: Women’s locker room.
KKW: I would probably creepily follow my kids around, see how they act, see what they talk about. I record my daughter just talking because the things she says are so funny. I could watch her talk all day.
KW: Yeah, maybe. See, Kim? Yours is so much nicer than mine.
LB: What makes you both laugh?
KKW: Kanye just says the funniest analogies that are so random. I should start keeping a book—in 20 years, I’ll have a big book of analogies.They always make me laugh.
KW: Kim’s just a funny person in general.
KKW: But I don’t get credit for being funny; it’s, like, not a thing.
KW: I think my sense of humor is really dark and super twisted and stuff like that. It’s like, “Is this a funny joke for real? Or am I just rich?” See? That was funny.
CALVIN KLEIN COLLECTION: On Natasha: Calvin Klein Collection coat, choker, and bag; Loewe shoes; L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro Contour Palette.
LB: What would you bring to a desert island?
KKW: My kids. My phone.
KW: Not me. [Laughs.] I would bring my laptop and the Internet.
LB: How would you like to be remembered?
KKW: I’d like to be remembered as someone who was smart in business, works hard, and can be sexy and a mom. A powerful but still sexy, nonconforming woman. And I would hope that Kanye would be remembered for being smart and sticking to what he believes.
KW: Determined. I would say my determination is way higher than my smartness.
KKW: A lot of people have strong beliefs, but they don’t have the confidence to really stick to them. I really respect Kanye for that.
LB: I personally really enjoy your use of capital letters.
KW: Yeah, all caps. Next time I’m doing all raps in all caps.
KKW: Kanye, what do you want to be remembered for?
KW: Your answer was so much better. I was going to say the whole thing about global warming and we’re all going to be gone.
MIU MIU: On Lara: Miu Miu jacket, bag, and shoes.
Lead photo, DIOR: On Kim: Dior coat, bag, and shoes; Yeezy Season 3 bodysuit; Laura Mercier Tea Menthe Citron Gel Body Moisture ($45); On Kanye: His own clothing; Yeezy Adidas boots.
Sittings editor: Ben Perreira; sittings assistant: Ron Hartleben; hair: Eugene Souleiman; makeup: Tom Pecheux; manicures: Anny Errandonea; casting and production: Evelien Joos; production assistant: Laura Hinman; on-set production: V+E Production; set design: Louis Benzoni; retouching: Lutz + Schmitt; art direction: Jim Kaemmerling and Jeremy Kaye; design: Lina Wahlgren.