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For more than a decade, Kim Kardashian West has cemented herself as a pop culture icon, beauty entrepreneur and fashion industry force. She’s also curated an aesthetic that millions try to emulate, and her ongoing style evolution always leaves fans — and critics — talking.
So it’s no surprise the 41-year-old mogul was recognized for her mass influence at the 2021 People’s Choice Awards, where she was presented with The Fashion Icon award.
“To receive the award from the fashion icon herself,” Kardashian West said, “I am so honored. Thank you.”
Ross wasn’t the only subject of the superstar’s gratitude. She also praised her ex-husband, Kanye West.
“To Kanye,” she said, “for really introducing me to the fashion world. I fell in love with fashion and I’m so inspired by so may people but again, this is like a dream that I get to wake up and wear these amazing clothes and try new things and take a risk. I’m so humbled.”
Kardashian West has brought her savvy sense of style to the masses with the launch of her hugely successful Skims shapewear brand in 2019. The company was recently valued at over $1 billion, alongside her beauty brands KKW BEAUTY and KKW Fragrance, which she debuted in 2017.
“For nearly two decades, Kim Kardashian West’s style evolution has disrupted and influenced trends on a global level and cemented herself as a force to be reckoned with within the fashion industry,” Jen Neal, Executive Vice President, Entertainment Live Events, Specials & E! News, NBCUniversal Entertainment Television and Streaming, said in a statement when announcing Kardashian West’s Fashion Icon honor. “For being a cultural inspiration, trailblazer and so much more, we can’t wait to honor Kim with this year’s ‘People’s Fashion Icon’ award.”
The pop culture superstar is constantly reinventing herself, starting new trends and navigating new style phases, like her latest looks in collaboration with Balenciaga, featuring second-skin catsuits and full-length gloves.
She had the globe talking when she hit the red carpet at the 2021 Met Gala covered from head-to-toe (with only her long ponytail visible).
The black Balenciaga featured a long-sleeve turtleneck bodysuit worn under an oversize T-shirt dress with long pleated train. The edgy outfit was complete with jersey boots, jersey gloves and a mask that covered her face and head.
A source told PEOPLE at the time that Kim is still closely collaborating and getting advisement from ex Kanye when it comes to her outfit choices.
“Even though Kanye is not attending tonight, his presence will be felt on the carpet,” the source told PEOPLE. “It was Kanye who introduced Kim to Demna [Gvasalia, creative director of Balenciaga] and was instrumental in the newly formed relationship between her and Balenciaga.”
He also supported his ex-wife in embracing her new approach to dressing.
“This look on Kim is like a new subculture and fashion statement,” the source added. “No logo, no face, but everyone knows it’s her. Kanye gave her the courage to push creativity and people’s imagination through art. It’s the ultimate confidence.”
Longtime Keeping Up with the Kardashian fans will know Kardashian West stores all of her old outfits in an expansive fashion archive, which she showed off during the final season of her hit reality show.
In addition to Kim’s memorable outfits, like the lavender bridesmaid gown she wore to sister Khloé’s wedding to Lamar Odom and all of her Met Gala looks, the star stores boxes filled with all her magazine covers, old fragrance launches and other business projects she’s worked on over the years. “Oh my god guys, I have the best archive,” Kim said on the show.
Kim’s fashion archive has grown significantly since she first showed a glimpse of it to fans back in 2017 via Snapchat.
“Remember all this stuff?” she asked at the time, before listing some of the looks. “Prince concert… look at this gown from the cover of Vogue from Alber Lanvin… my Met dress… I wore this to the Balmain show…”
“It’s all labelled,” she added, talking through more racks. “I wore this in Paris once… Vegas on my birthday… Art Basel…. Jay Leno… Do you remember this Grammy dress I wore? This Elton John Oscar party dress? Golden Globes party…”
The star concluded: “The fun part is I kept everything — all for memories. Even when Kanye thought he cleaned out my closet, I kept it all secretly for my daughter one day.”
The 2021 People’s Choice Awards — hosted by Kenan Thompson — are airing simultaneously on NBC and E!.