How a carefully curated at-home aesthetic is more an extension of ourselves than ever
Words: Cayleigh Bright
There’s not much that the Kardashians’ influence hasn’t infiltrated in pop culture today, and the boundaries of what defines pop culture continue to blur. As the Yeezy colour palette – neutrals on neutrals on neutrals – seeps into the world of interiors it’s worth wondering whether Kanye’s designs in particular responsible for this. Has the Kardashians’ and Jenners’ shared love of bandage dresses and body con in beige, cream and caramel contributed to the mainstream appeal of ditching colour for something subtler? It’s up for debate, but one way or another, the beauty of one colour’s various tones layered on top of each other has made it indoors.
That’s easy enough to understand – after all, outfits of the day need backgrounds, and so much the better if there’s no need to venture out of doors to find them. For a blogger or influencer-in-the-making, a carefully curated at-home aesthetic adds to any image being presented to the world, whether it’s the delicious-monster-and-white-on-white look of the generic mid-twenties Instagrammer or the Eames chair replica that completes any freelancer’s ‘new work’ post from the home studio. It’s safe to say that our interior styling is more of an extension of ourselves than ever, because even those who aren’t in the habit of inviting their social circle over for the evening are now likely to give at least a glimpse of their space in the background of an Instagram story or two. Even if the Kardashians' reality TV fame didn't allow us a level of access to their living space that a fandom had never enjoyed before, their prolific social media activity would have set the scene.
In lyrics like No More Parties in LA’s boast, “I feel like Pablo/When I’m working on my house” and the more down-to-earth “Couches, couches, couches which one should I pick?” from Facts, Kanye hints at his interior-inclined thoughts. In his personal style and Yeezy Season creations, West has shied away from the ostentatious, to the extent that his looks have received criticism for looking somewhat shabby, especially considering their price. Bringing aboard acclaimed interior designer Axel Vervoordt, he’s created a space comprised of neutral colours and rough linen textures (easy to clean, of course, because the house is also home to the pair’s three young children). Their shared love of a natural, neutral colour palette isn’t all they have in common: both are unafraid to live large (Verwoodt lives in a Belgian castle alongside stables that house his prize horses), and their attention to detail has helped to establish each of their careers. Kanye famously art directs his wife’s wardrobe, giving instructions about which so-last-season styles to ditch, and he’s also had an active role in perfecting the family home.
As much as No More Parties in LA is a cautionary tale about the lure of fame that lies in bright lights and a big city, it’s also a litany of Kanye’s decidedly domestic concerns. He texts his psychiatrist even as he’s worrying about his wife and daughter’s safety on the road, he thinks about his cars, he takes his Xanax – to sleep, not for the recreational purposes that younger rappers often mention – before learning of plans for the evening that he’ll now have to skip because of his drowsiness. No matter how much enthusiasm he shows for his home, it would be a stretch to suggest that Kanye West is the reason that so many of us are embracing the sentiment that staying in is the new going out. With everyone on the internet calling themselves an introvert lately, it’s no surprise that the love of staying in that we all possessed anyway is now more likely to be put on show. Wanting to get away from the world, after all, is a relatable feeling considering its current political state.
West’s choice of Vervoodt as the creative talent to transform his own home could certainly be about working with those whose design sensibilities match his own and whose taste is unquestionably up-to-the-minute – plus, previous work on homes like that of Calvin Klein mean that West remains aligned with the fashion talent whose work leads the field he hopes to follow and revolutionise. But it seems more likely that Vervoodt simply speaks to Kanye’s evolving values: with his emphasis on natural textures and salvaged wood, pale shades, and a generally tranquil feel, the designer creates sanctuaries – and a refuge from a fast-paced world might be just what a rapper and a reality TV star need as they raise a family. In fact, it might be what we all need. Our homes are more likely to be shown off than ever before, but in a media-saturated and overworked world, they also need to be the place to hide when showing off is the last thing on our minds.