Two creative minds from very different worlds, Michèle Lamy and Kim Kardashian have formed a supportive relationship since meeting in 2013. Here, the pair are photographed wearing each other’s designs in a shoot guided by the photographer Paul Kooiker. A project conceived during lockdown – Lamy in France, Kardashian in the US, Kooiker in the Netherlands – the result is a celebration of an unexpected kinship.
Kim Kardashian and Michèle Lamy’s friendship seems, on the face of it, to be an unlikely one. In June this year, the Dutch photographer Paul Kooiker gave precise instructions to both about how to shoot these portraits while they were in lockdown in their homes in Wyoming and Paris respectively. Two women in isolation, two portraits of women that could not be more different. One in a restless fit, the other pensive and venerable. Both are located in a photographic past: Kardashian’s portraits reminiscent of filmmaker Robert Bresson, Lamy’s of the photographers Bernhard and Anna Blume, all located in a time less gruesome, at a time of greatest uncertainty.
Kardashian and Lamy met in Paris seven years ago. Lamy is 11 years older than Kris Jenner, Kardashian’s mother. Lamy and Kardashian are both iconic women, albeit for very different reasons and to very different people – people who we’d assume don’t have much in common, let alone share a common sense of reality, which is what makes this relationship so interesting.
But how do we even start comprehending the complex notion of contemporary reality? My reality is very likely different to your reality – Kardashian’s different to Lamy’s, the US’s different to Europe’s, the UK’s different to Germany’s. At times, it seems we are simultaneously dealing with 7.8 billion separate realities, a world fragmented into the debris of its old order, individuals thrown back onto themselves, questioning everything that has structured and conditioned our thinking, our behaviour, everything that we thought we knew. Whatever the financial crisis of 2008 didn’t manage, Covid-19 has: it unmasked some of the ugly structures that order our world – a world that appears as a naturalised state of permanent crises. In other words, hope, hopelessness and iPhones – innovation, wealth and poverty – are all created by the very same economic conditions.