Karlie Kloss Takes a Low-Key Approach to High Fashion

Photographs by Nigel Shafran
Styled by Katie Grand
Interview by Jenny Comita
Originally Published: 

Karlie Kloss wears a Bottega Veneta coat, tank top, and pants.
Karlie Kloss wears a Bottega Veneta coat, tank top, and pants.

The 50th Anniversary Issue of W is an all-out supermodel celebration featuring 17 cover stars ranging from the world’s most famous names to women who are well on their way to total fashion domination. See every cover model here and read Jenny Comita’s essay about the evolution of the beauty standards that define the industry here.

You walked your first New York Fashion Week runway show 15 years ago this month. What are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen happen in the industry since then?

I started my career at the end of what some people call the “twilight years,” right before social media took hold. And I feel grateful for that timing, that I got those sweet last moments before the industry changed. When I was backstage at that very first show I walked in, for Calvin Klein, nobody had a smartphone. You experienced the show only if you were in the room. There was something so powerful about just being there. I was 15 years old, the same week I started high school. So it was this juxtaposition of worlds. Of being dropped into New York Fashion Week, walking in one of the most important shows, and being exposed to this extraordinary world that I didn’t even know existed. It was profoundly wild and eye-opening.

Bottega Veneta coat, tank top, and pants.

Miu Miu sweater and top; Martine Rose pants; Loro Piana socks.

Martine Rose shirt and jeans; Loro Piana socks.


Overall, do you think that social media has been a positive thing for the industry?

Starting out as a 15-year-old, you didn’t always have power. Social media has created more access to having a voice. It’s enabled a model to not just be a face, but to show who she is and what she cares about. One reason I started Kode with Klossy was because I was probably 20 years old and had this unprecedented experience of having millions of young women following me. I saw the possibility of doing something more meaningful. I had never anticipated that being a part of my career as a model, but I had this realization that with this following, it meant that there was more that I could do.

Brunello Cucinelli top; Aries pants.

Celine by Hedi Slimane jacket and jeans.

Max Mara jacket and pants.

Aries sweatshirt; Palace shorts; Loro Piana leggings; Adidas sneakers.

Pangaia hoodie; Levi’s jeans.

Hermès top and skirt.

Since the 1980s, the English photographer Nigel Shafran has been capturing models and friends alike in his playful, verité style. He shot Karlie Kloss in London, between his darkroom and the local Underground stop.

Karlie Kloss at the Society Management. Casting by Michelle Lee at Michelle Lee Casting.

Produced by DoBeDo Represents; assisted by Stuart McCaffer; fashion assistant: Antoni Janowski

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