Demna Gvasalia, the creative director of the high-end fashion house, chose Ye to represent their Spring/Summer 2023 collection at Paris Fashion Week on Saturday night (October 1).
The rapper opened the show by strolling down a runway covered in mud at the Parc des Expositions wearing a look that was relatively similar to his most recent go-to ensemble for public appearances.
The all-black, motocross-meets-military separates that West wore with a pair of normcore boots were, according to Vogue, a representation of Balenciaga’s dedication to doing away with traditional fashion industry labels.
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“I’ve decided to no longer explain my collections and verbalize my designs, but to express a state of mind,” said Demna of the new collection in his press notes. “Fashion is a visual art and all we need is for it to be seen through someone’s eyes. You either like it or not.”
Kanye shared a still of him modeling the Balenciaga ensemble on Instagram along with a simple yet menacing caption that read: “WAR,” likely aimed at Adidas and Gap.
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Ye’s runway look also has similarities to his most recent project with Demna, the Yeezy Gap Engineered by Balenciaga connection, which was unveiled earlier this year. The second lineup drop under West’s ten-year contract with Gap was the 25-look lineup.
Although Demna was the first significant collaborator Yeezy brought into his situation with the retailer, they had previously collaborated. In the past, they have also worked together on merch for his Donda and Donda 2 projects, among other things.
Ye has since ended his partnership with Gap, but his relationships with Demna and Balenciaga are still going strong. The artist claimed that the business was copying his collection’s designs and selling them alongside other items at a lower price, alongside the brand’s traditional offerings.
“[They] priced my stuff at $200 and above their whole price point normally and then did the exact shirt for $20,” Ye told CNBC. “Also, they did pop-ups and I signed on with them because in the contract they said they were gonna do stores and they just ignored us about building stores constantly.
“It was very frustrating,” he continued. “It was very disheartening because I just put everything I had [into it]… Everyone knows I’m the leader, I’m the king. So a king can’t live in someone else’s castle. A king has to make his own castle.”
Ye has become more outspoken about the end of his previous partnership with adidas since separating from Gap. Ye accused Torben Schumacher, senior vice president, and global general manager of Adidas Originals, of stealing his designs and thwarting future business efforts on Instagram.
“Who are the real decision makers at Adidas?” he wrote. “Torben is a fucking idiot. Torben stole my designs. adidas stole my designs. They did the Balenciaga collaboration without my knowledge and then stopped my Balenciaga Gap shoes from going to market. Nobody calls me and asks me if I’m sleeping. It’s war. We deaded Gap now it’s Adidas time.”
He added in the caption: “WAR TIME MY FAVORITE TIME.”
He was spotted in London earlier this week, where he attended the Burberry Spring/Summer 2023 show with Naomi Campbell and UK rapper Stormzy, in advance of his unexpected runway walk during Paris Fashion Week. He shared three new songs with British singer/producer James Blake later that night at the fashion show’s afterparty.