Kanye West x Balenciaga: Ye’s true love hides in plain sight
Before he started trying to sell us something, there was suspicion that Ye was trying, well, to sell us something. Twitter and TikTok comment struggled to understand why would anyone wear so many Balenciaga, as he has spent the last few months doing. Rumors abound: that Ye has a piece from every Demna collection in a warehouse-studio in Southern California; that he has all the shoes of all sizes and distributes them to visitors; that he cleaned up the Balenciaga section of Dover Street Market and that they had to call the brand’s headquarters to get more as soon as possible. None of this can be confirmed (although on Monday afternoon, he was captured by paparazzi to keep a T-shirt with a reworked logo for the specialty store titled “DONDA STREET MARKET. But to think that Ye – or Demna, for that matter – is orchestrating a series of paid celebrity outfits in order to get us to… buy more Balenciaga? is to ignore the goal of this bizarre and unprecedented creative collaboration. In a world of proclamation and truth, Ye states that he can fully find himself by relying on or interacting with someone else. This is total and utter dedication to uncompromising aesthetics – a seamless visual reset. That’s part of why Ye continues to shop at all Balenciaga stores: the acquisition is part of the work of art.
(Who knows how or why Ye and Fox really hooked up, but what I love about the relationship is how classic she is compared to the contemporary definition of a female come-upper. She worked as a dominatrix in high school, made art, created a fashion line, and then won a role as a character based on herself in a controversial arty film. It’s a very mid-century, Marilyn Monroe-ish pipeline that’s slightly seedy to medium cerebral compared to today’s influencer path, and it was fun watching the TikTok set, which passed the last few years cultivating celebrities for whom fame is exclusive to the platform, having to scramble to find out who someone was.)
Perhaps no fashion brand has ever been more in tune with its time as Balenciaga is with it – both diagnosing and exacerbating our fascination with the mediocre, the boring and the ugly, and create a cottage industry of pseudo-academics on Substack and TikTok that callously calls “the hyperrealist” and Marshall McLuhan quotes into the mini-microphone, clutching his clip between acrylic fingernails. One of Demna’s ambitions over the past year has been to propel her fashion brand and vision to places where haute couture usually struggles to connect. That’s Ye’s tenure as well, albeit from a more populist perspective, an $ 80 hoodie. So it’s only natural that seeing all these clothes on all of these actors involved in this dramatic celebrity divorce leads people to see some sort of “conspiracy.”
Of course, the catch is that nothing at Balenciaga is “natural” – not its materials, its marketing, its fashion shows – and of course, it is also the brand that has dabbled the most successfully. metaverse. He delights in the artificial; he considers authenticity as impossible, even irrelevant. Coco Chanel once said that Cristobal Balenciaga, the singular Spanish couturier who founded the house that Demna now runs, was “the master of all of us”, explaining that his designs, which were puzzles in fabric of volume and minimalist tailoring. , were simply in their own echelon beyond other couturiers of the Golden Age. Late last year, I watched a theater filled with hundreds of fashion editors – jaded and fickle people who pride themselves on pretending to be intellectuals – give Demna a standing ovation after watching her episode of The simpsons, and now I see him dressing Kim and Kanye (and Julia Fox!) Demna is also the master of we.
Ultimately, there is no plot, only wild and sprawling ambition. As the video “Heaven and Hell” is only the last project to be demonstrated, the dynamic between Demna and Ye is based on painting with the broadest and most obvious features: God, light, redemption, sin, love, marriage , Putin (?!). As much as social media and Gen Z have made style a central part of popular culture, fashion isn’t as important or essential as any of those things, and the project Ye seems to have in mind is: eh well, what if it is? Ye’s mission, and Demna’s too, has been to push the boundaries of what is close to our hearts and how well we listen to what things should look like. Bring the avant-garde, whatever it still is today, into popular culture. Or rather to make popular culture strange, to make people think– or more importantly, feel something – where their eyes are most likely to be.