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As those who “keep up” with the Kardashians are already aware, the famous family recently parted ways with their stylist of almost a decade, Monica Rose. News of the split broke late last month, with People reporting that Khloé, Kim, and Kourtney had all left Rose “to collaborate with other stylists.”
To be sure, celebrity/stylist switch-ups happen constantly in Hollywood; since image is everything in the entertainment industry, stars will often turn to a new stylist to help them rebrand (or even when they’re simply bored with their current look). But for a stylist of Rose’s ilk to lose five of her most high-profile clients (all three Kardashian sisters plus Kendall Jenner and, allegedly, Gigi Hadid) in the span of one month raises questions.
As if the shocking schism weren’t already dramatic enough, the entire Kardashian/Jenner family also unfollowed Rose on Instagram, the 2017 equivalent of flipping the bird. And last week, Page Six reported that Khloé Kardashian is “furious” with her former stylist and is considering suing Rose, for reasons unknown — and that the situation “is causing heartache” for all involved.
So how did we get here? The first thing to note is that the KarJenner crew’s split with Rose hasn’t been quite as sudden as all those headlines might lead you to believe. Kim Kardashian, who met Rose on the set of her Complex cover shoot in 2007 (Rose dressed her in a black bra and underwear combo), was the first of the family to begin working with the stylist — and also the first to step away from her services. According to Instagram, in fact, the two haven’t teamed up since Rose styled one of Kim’s editorials for her website in August 2015. Since then, the middle Kardashian sister’s collaborated with stylists ranging from Vogue Australia fashion director Christine Centenera to, most recently, Avigail Collins (who used to dress Rihanna).
Kylie Jenner was the second family member to part ways with Rose; last August, she hired Rose’s former assistant, Jill Jacobs, to manage her wardrobe. “I’ve really upped my style game over the past few months,” Jenner wrote in a post on her website last December. “That’s thanks to Jill Jacobs! I feel like she’s really amped up my look and I get SO excited when we do fittings. She always pulls the coolest stuff.”
Next came Kourtney Kardashian, who has been working with Dani Michelle (Bella Thorne’s go-to stylist) for at least the past three months; Michelle also styled Khloé for her Evening Standard magazine shoot in April. And according to People, Kendall Jenner — who notably hadn’t collaborated with Rose on her Coachella wardrobe as usual — tapped Beyoncé favorite Marni Senofonte for fashion help several weeks ago.
Rose still reportedly counts Chrissy Teigen, Cara Delevingne, and Kaia Gerber among her big-name clients, although Page Six reports that Gigi Hadid has also dropped the stylist. Hadid’s last outing in a Rose-styled look appears to have been in early April, but there’s no word yet on whether the supermodel’s hired a new stylist or not.
To add further confusion, though it certainly seems as though the Kardashians voluntarily sought out other stylists, recent coverage of the split suggests that Rose somehow wronged her superstar clientele. “The Kardashians/Jenners are upset because [Rose] was like family to them,” a source tells Page Six; the same site reports that “Rose recently hired a lawyer to keep some of the wilder scuttlebutt out of the headlines.” Regarding the details of that “scuttlebutt,” however, even tabloid speculation is at a minimum.
Neither Rose nor any of her former clients have spoken out regarding the split, although Rose did talk about her work with both Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid in a Teen Vogue interview that ran the day after People’s big scoop. “She's so awesome,” Rose said of Jenner. “She's the coolest chick.” The stylist also mentioned that we could expect “very avant-garde looks” from her clients at the Met Gala the following week; in the end, Rose only styled Teigen for the big event, so make of that what you will.
Over the past few years, Rose has become one of the most influential celebrity dressers in the industry, particularly when it comes to shaping retail trends. She’s the one ultimately responsible for the Kardashian effect, otherwise known as the family’s astounding ability to drive sales of whatever they wear. And in fact, from chokers to crop tops to bodysuits, practically every top-selling fad from the past handful of seasons was spotted on one (or more) of Rose’s clients first.
Unlike many Hollywood stylists who are recognized for their red carpet work first and foremost, it’s in the realm of street style that Rose has truly made her mark. Anyone even remotely interested in the celebrity world can tell a Monica Rose look from a mile away: the nude body-con, the bomber jacket, the thigh-high boots. But in fact, Rose’s habit of dressing her clients in uniform might’ve also been her downfall; it’s not hard to imagine why, after years of constant collaboration, the Kardashians and Jenners would be hankering for something different.
Interestingly, however, none of the family members have dramatically (or even discernibly) altered their aesthetic since parting ways with Rose. Kim certainly hasn’t strayed from her chokers and Wolford body-con, which may explain why so many assumed that Rose was still dressing her up until last month. Meanwhile, Kendall and Kylie still swear by a naked dress for big-deal red carpets and opt for coordinated athleisure in their off-duty hours. And since turning to Dani Michelle for wardrobe advice, neither Kourtney nor Khloé have sacrificed their beloved bodysuits. But will fashion’s first family still be able to command the industry’s attention without the same wardrobe wizard behind their looks?
And, more importantly, will Monica Rose be able to parlay her work with the Kardashians into something greater? We’ve seen this happen once before. Remember when Rachel Zoe, after skyrocketing to fame dressing mid-aughts icons Lindsay Lohan, Mischa Barton, and Nicole Richie (like Rose, incidentally, she also outfitted them in identical looks, to the point where they were dubbed her “Zoebots”), expanded beyond styling to snag a Bravo reality show and launch a clothing line and lifestyle site? It was only after moving on from the clients who made her famous that Zoe was able to build an empire. We wouldn’t be surprised if Rose manages to do the same.
Update 5/28/17: During an interview with Andy Cohen on Watch What Happens Live, Kim Kardashian credited her husband Kanye West — not Monica Rose — with amping up her personal style in the first place. “I read that it was said that she was the reason for my makeover — my makeover when I met Kanye — and I will say that Kanye got me a new team and we kind of documented it,” she explained. “So I think people think that’s the reason, and for me, maybe that is the reason. I needed a new vibe.”
As for why her sisters no longer work with Rose, Kardashian added, “You’d have to ask Khloe and Kendall and Kylie and the girls … I haven’t worked with her in maybe four years, so my reason is not connected to this.”
Update 6/1/17: Khloé Kardashian just tweeted the following, possibly about Rose:
What would you do if you found out a friend was stealing from you?— Khloé (@khloekardashian) June 1, 2017
Would you cut off the friendship and let God handle it? Or would you go the legal route?— Khloé (@khloekardashian) June 1, 2017