Another of the pleasures of attending the Chopard party at Cannes this year was the opportunity to meet Kris Jenner. You will of course know – as I, to my shame, did not – that she is the materfamilias of the biggest televisual phenomenon since the invention of the cathode ray tube.
I had been peripherally aware of the Jenners’ prominence in the fields of gender reassignment and supermodelling, but never really taken the time to study the subject with the closeness it deserves. Rather like Game of Thrones, the whole Kardashian thing seems to have transfixed so many people that I can let others get on with it, safe in the knowledge that their antics will not go unwatched, while I get down to reading Ruskin’s observations on painting and gothic architecture.
Ruskin’s private life, unconsummated marriage, wife’s elopement with Millais and all would have made for a gripping reality TV show, and the merchandising opportunities would have been sensational (sideburn maintenance kits, instant art-appreciation packs etc), but I fear that his elliptical literary style is a little out of tune with our haiku-type, Twitter-shortened use of the language of Shakespeare – a man whose name is now surely written with an emoji of a hand wobbling a pilum or, if you prefer, shaking a spear.
Anyway, as for Mrs Jenner, I was not prepared for the highly capable and rather splendid-looking woman who combined a strong family ethos and pride in her children with a steely business brain (from what I can recall of our conversation, her youngest daughter sells something called a lip kit, 400,000 of which are dispatched every week – or was that twice a week?). If I had to choose between Insead, Harvard Business School or the Kris Jenner Academy of Family Monetisation, without hesitation I would choose the last, as it would probably be more instructive and certainly more entertaining.