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Paris, France – Kanye West has added a new dimension to his ever-growing connection to fashion by making his debut on the runway as model for Balenciaga model.
Ye was selected by designer of the high-end fashion house Demna Gvasalia as their representative for their Spring/Summer 2023 collection during Paris Fashion Week on Saturday night (October 1).
The rapper began the show by taking a walk down a mud-strewn track at Parc des Expositions in an look that was not too far from his latest style of public appearances.
According to Vogue, the all-black motocross-meets-military separates which West rocked with a pair of normcore boots were a symbol of Balenciaga’s dedication to do away with traditional fashion industry labels.
“I’ve decided to no longer explain my collections and verbalise my designs, but to express a state of mind,” stated Demna of the brand’s new collection in the press notes. “Fashion is an art that is visual and all that is required is to be looked at through the eyes of someone else. It’s either your style or you don’t.”
Kanye posted a photo of him wearing the Balenciaga outfit on Instagram alongside a brief but threatening caption: “WAR,” likely targeted toward adidas as well as Gap.
The look on the runway also has the same lines as his latest collaborative work alongside Demna for his Yeezy Gap Engineered by Balenciaga collection which was launched earlier in the year. The 25-look collection was the second release under West’s 10-year partnership with Gap.
Although Demna has been the initial major collaboration Yeezy has brought into his position at the store, this wasn’t the first time they worked together. They’ve also collaborated on merchandise in previously, including merchandise that he released around the Donda and Donda 2 projects.
While his relationships between Demna and Balenciaga is still in place, Ye has since terminated his relationship together with Gap. The break-up came about due to claims by the artist that Gap was copying designs from his line, and selling the items at a lower cost than the brand’s more traditional offerings.
“[They] priced my stuff at $200 and above their whole price point normally and then did the exact shirt for $20,” Ye stated to CNBC. “Also they had pop-ups and I signed with them as per the contract, they stated that they would build stores, but they did not bother to build stores continuously.
“It was very frustrating,” he added. “It was very depressing since I had put everything I owned into it]. ]… It’s clear that I’m the leader. I’m the King. Therefore, a king cannot reside in a castle of someone else’s. A king needs to build himself a castle.”
After the breakup with Gap, Ye has also been outspoken about the ending of his previous relationship with adidas. On Instagram, Ye called out adidas Originals executive vice president, senior and general manager Torben Schumacher who is accused of stealing his designs and preventing the development of future business plans.
“Who are the real decision makers at adidas?” He stated. “Torben is a complete liar. Torben stole my designs. adidas stole my designs. They created their Balenciaga Collaboration without knowing about it, and later put a stop to the Balenciaga Gap shoes from going to the market. I have never had anyone call me and inquire if I’m asleep. It’s war. We dreaded Gap but now is adidas the time to go.”
He also wrote in the caption: “WAR TIME MY FAVORITE TIME.”
Before his surprise runway show in Paris Fashion Week, Ye was seen in London earlier in the week, which is where he attended Burberry Summer/Spring 2023 show along with Naomi Campbell and UK rapper Stormzy. In the evening Ye presented three brand new tracks together with British producer/singer James Blake during the fashion evening’s afterparty.
Watch Balenciaga’s summer 2023 collection show — which features Kanye West’s appearance — in full below.
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