Why Kanye West’s Paris show is problematic

Kanye West at the Givenchy Spring/Summer 2023 show. (Paris, October 2, 2022.) JULIAN DE ROSA / AFP

During a surprise show at Paris Fashion Week, the rapper and designer used the presentation of his Yeezy Season 9 collection to voice his many grievances.

The Yeezy specter has been hovering over Paris Fashion Week for a few days. Rapper Kanye West, 45, was rumored to be giving a surprise fashion show, the first since 2020. On Sunday, October 2, the magazine business of fashion confirmed the message. The next day, 50 handpicked people were able to attend the Yeezy Season 9 presentation, which was also broadcast online, at a secret location in the 8th arrondissement of Paris. An intimate but resounding show that brings together all the ingredients of controversy. An art that the rapper is particularly proficient with controversial statements, clearly determined to regain control of his artistic production.

sound intro

The day before, Kanye West opened the Balenciaga fashion show designed by Artistic Director Demna. Unlike the latter, who declared that he would remain silent henceforth, the creator of Yeezy made his parade a platform. In a lengthy pre-show tirade, he goes back to the episodes that earned him the label of lunatic: the 2016 Yeezy fashion show that made the models pass out, Kim Kardashian’s robbery in Paris, his stay in a psychiatric ward Clinic. .. So here it is: this Monday, October 3, Ye wants to settle his score by embarking on the path to rehabilitation, but gets stuck on the way.

Handling at Fashion Week

Before the audience, made up in particular of Demna, John Galliano and Antoine Arnault, he ended his speech by recalling his failed collaboration with the American brand Gap. It all boils down to the same theme: Kanye West claims he knows how to translate the wishes of the street, but unfortunately has to face the hostilities of the fashion industry. Which forces him to go to war. He concludes: “Bernard Arnault is my new Drake,” a reference to the row between the two singers, but also a potential partnership with the man at the helm of LVMH, who was called off during a general meeting of the luxury group. That’s how Ye’s brand new beginning sounds, more provocative than ever. As proven, beyond speech, the designer’s t-shirt.

White lives matter

“White lives matter” reads on the back of the t-shirt Kanye West wore to his event, which also features a flocked portrait of Pope John Paul II on the front. Curiously, Candace Owens, an American political commentator close to Donald Trump, also wore this piece, which hijacked the slogan of the American anti-racist movement Black Lives Matter. This did not fail to attract violent reactions. In particular, Kanye West’s ex-wife, Kim Kardashian, “disgusted” by this choice but not surprised by this desire to attract attention, reports the media Hollywood Life.

As the parade (finally) begins, Yeezy Season 9 unveils silhouettes with an obscure urban register, exacerbated by overlays of sweatshirts, jackets, oversized down jackets, worrying balaclavas and leggings. Designed in collaboration with Shayne Oliver (Founder of Hood by Air), the looks are accompanied by 3D printed boots. A visual language that doesn’t really differ from previous collections.

Naomi and North in chorus

The day before appeared on Kanye West’s Instagram account the snapshot of a grandiose cast consisting of BeyoncĂ©, Gisele Bundchen, Lauryn Hill or Rihanna. Finally, none of these famous faces except for Naomi Campbell, along with unexpected models like Rick Owens’ partner Michèle Lamy and Givenchy’s artistic director Matthew M. Williams. Accompanying the children of the rapper choir Donda sing his hits. Armed with the remix device marketed (and offered to guests) by his father, the Stem Player, North West, 9, adds to this chorus. Neither headliners nor childish voices soften Yes’s martial rhetoric. Music doesn’t soften all manners.

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