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Kanye West x Balenciaga: Ye’s True Love Is Hiding in Plain Sight


Kanye West x Balenciaga: Ye’s True Love Is Hiding in Plain Sight

Before he actually began trying to sell us something, there were suspicions that Ye was, well, trying to sell us something. The Twitter and TikTok commentariat struggled to make sense of why someone would wear so much Balenciaga, as he’s spent the last few months doing. Rumors abound: that Ye has one of every piece from every one of Demna’s collections sitting in a warehouse-cum-studio in Southern California; that he has every shoe in every size and hands them out to visitors; that he cleaned out Dover Street Market’s Balenciaga section and they had to call the brand’s headquarters to get more ASAP. None of that can be confirmed (though on Monday afternoon, he was captured by paparazzi holding up a T-shirt with a reworked logo for the specialty store reading “DONDA STREET MARKET.”) But to think that Ye–or Demna, for that matter—is orchestrating a series of paid-for celebrity outfits in order to get us to…buy more Balenciaga?, is to misunderstand the purpose of this bizarre and unprecedented creative collaboration. In a world of proclamations and speaking one’s truth, Ye is declaring he can fully find himself by relying on, or exchanging with, someone else. It’s about total and complete devotion to an uncompromising aesthetic—a visual reset with no seams. This is part of why Ye keeps shopping at all the Balenciaga stores, too: the acquisition is a part of the artwork.

(Who knows how or why Ye and Fox really connected, but what I love about the relationship is how classical 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 playing a character based on herself in an arty-controversial movie. It’s a very mid-century, Marilyn Monroe-ish, slightly-seedy-to-cerebral-to-middlebrow pipeline compared to the influencer pathway of today, and it was fun to watch the TikTok set, who have spent the past few years cultivating celebrities for whom fame is platform-exclusive, having to scramble to figure out who someone was.)

Perhaps no fashion brand has ever been as in tune with its time…

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