The Fashion Marketing Machine Behind Kim Kardashian and Kanye West's Wedding

The Kimye wedding has come and gone, but for all of the fashion brands involved in the world’s most talked-about wedding, the wave of opportunity is likely just beginning to rise.
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Alyssa Vingan Klein
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The Kimye wedding has come and gone, but for all of the fashion brands involved in the world’s most talked-about wedding, the wave of opportunity is likely just beginning to rise.
West and Kardashian in leather jackets by Schott and BLK DNM, respectively. Photo: Courtesy BLK DNM

West and Kardashian in leather jackets by Schott and BLK DNM, respectively. Photo: Courtesy BLK DNM

Details of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West's wedding are slowly leaking out — there was fish filet on the menu, guys — but there is one thing that the couple was very transparent about all along: the fashion. 

The celebration started with a bachelorette party, naturally, where Kardashian wore a Balmain dress from the label's fall 2012 collection. In the weeks leading up to the wedding, the bride shared a number of pictures with the French house's designer, Olivier Rousteing, on her social media accounts, fueling the speculation that he would have a hand in creating her wardrobe for the weekend. Rousteing didn't shy away from the self-promotion, either: He posted a handful of photos from Kardashian's fitting for her bachelorette dress the day of the party, and later, even more of the two posing together at the reception, where the bride wore another embroidered Balmain number.

The weekend's events continued with a luncheon on Friday, hosted by Valentino Garavani and his partner Giancarlo Giammetti at Garavani's home just outside of Paris. Nearly the entire Kardashian clan was decked out in the designer's wares: The brides sisters, Khloe and Kourtney, both opted for intricate dresses by the designer, and her mother, Kris Jenner, wore Valentino twice that day — a red crochet minidress paired with a cape for the luncheon, and a white gown for the evening's rehearsal dinner at Versailles. All of this was widely documented on Instagram and Twitter — by the brand and by the family — as well as in an André Leon Talley-penned dispatch on Vogue.com. (Valentino's name is dropped in the article more than 20 times.)

Kimye with Valentino and Giammeti. Photo: Instagram @privategg

Kimye with Valentino and Giammeti. Photo: Instagram @privategg

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the dress. While the world did have to wait until the ceremony ended to find out what Kardashian wore, a Givenchy rep confirmed to US Weekly almost immediately — even before photos were released — that the bride, groom and baby North all wore designs by Riccardo Tisci. On Tuesday, the French house tweeted one of the first photos of the couple from inside the ceremony, which at press time, has almost a thousand retweets. 

On Tuesday, BLK DNM sent out a press release about Kardashian's customized leather jacket by the brand (see above), while outerwear label Schott NYC proudly tweeted that West wore one its leather pieces during the reception. (Both jackets were painted by artist Wes Lang, who also designed the t-shirts for West's recent "Yeezus" tour.) As more photos and information become available, we're sure that even more brands will come forward, because what's better than publicity from the world's most talked about couple?

If we've learned anything from working in the online world, we know that product placement on social media or in a blog post is one of most valued forms of marketing. Top-tier bloggers can make thousands of dollars (if they have a million or more followers, it can be up to $5,000) for a single sponsored Instagram post, and recent reports reveal that designers will pay upwards of $50,ooo to have a celebrity endorse their brands by sitting front row at their shows during Fashion Month.

We may never find out if there was some sort of deal brokered between the Kardashians and Valentino (or Balmain, or Givenchy) for all of the exposure, but seeing as social media followers are a modern form of currency, the designers got a pretty sweet deal. The bride alone has over 21 million Twitter followers, and she gave all brands involved in her big day plenty of digital love. If Rousteing and Tisci weren't household names before, they are that much closer now. 

We're also willing to bet that the couple will sell the official wedding photos to a fashion magazine with lots of industry clout, perhaps Vogue or V, and considering how much cash it takes to buy advertising pages in books like that, the designers featured are coming out of the wedding with plenty of added value. 

So, we have to wonder: Are the relationships the Kardashians have built with these elite fashion powerhouses genuine, or are they simply a means to an end — a mutually beneficial transaction? In his rehearsal dinner speech, West called his new family "an industry," and while you might not be a fan of reality TV's most famous tribe, you can't say it isn't brilliant at branding.