Even if PAPER magazine's new "Kim Kardashian Break the Internet" cover hasn't caused the interwebs to completely shut down yet, it has broken the concentration of anyone using social media. Now that there are hundreds of additional memes making fun of the cover, it's safe to say that Kim owns a significant portion of the Internet's attention today. And maybe that's the real point, since it's getting harder and harder for celebrities to shock the public or get our attention, even when they're completely naked.
It's worth noting that both PAPER covers are done in the iconic style of photographer and illustrator Jean-Paul Goude—a humorous, illusory style he has perfected since the '60s when he was as an art director at Esquire. Later becoming Grace Jones' partner and image consultant, Goude was an innovator in image retouching before computers made it possible. For example, he put Jones' body in an impossible pose for her iconic Island Life album cover, which has since been re-enacted by multiple models and muses (including Amber Rose for Complex's August/September 2009 issue).
Kim Kardashian re-enacts Carolina Beaumont, New York, 1976, one of many images that are immortalized in Jean-Paul Goude's 1982 book, Jungle Fever. Goude worked on the book "to keep sane" after he and Jones had a child and became unhappy in their relationship. It contains not only the editorial and commercial photographs he's now known for, many which are of Grace, but also the sketches he made beforehand to art direct the photo shoots.
Kim Kardashian acts as the muse that Grace Jones was for many years—to Goude in the '70s and '80s and to many people still today. In a People magazine article from 1979, Goude said, "Men think she's sexy. Women think she's a little masculine, so they're not jealous. Gays think she's a drag queen...She's the manifestation of all my fantasies. She's the face of the '80s." While maybe not all of the same things can be said about Kim, it's true that her image and figure have captivated men and women over the past decade. Whether coating her naked body in silver paint (as she did in W magazine in 2010), wearing nothing but heels for British GQ in October, sporting various lingerie on her first-ever magazine cover (Complex February/March 2007), or re-enacting Goude's Carolina Beaumont, New York, 1976, Kim might just be the face of the 2010s and the manifestation of many other people's fantasies.