Rapper Kanye West has officially ventured into modeling. The school owner and businessman recently opened for Balenciaga during their 2023 Paris Fashion Week show. He was supported by his four kids, Kylie Jenner, and several other stars, including Doja Cat and Alexa Demie.
Demna Gvasalia, Balenciaga’s creative director and brain behind the collection, explained why the looks were paraded on a mud-filled runway. The rapper later shared a reaction message from designer Betsey Johnson on his Instagram story. Photos of West on the runway also went viral on Twitter.
West and Demna have been friends for years and even collaborated earlier this year on a utilitarian capsule line for Balenciaga. The line’s release statement explained that the clothes are timeless silhouettes that share the friend’s vision of utilitarian design.
Read on to find out more.
Kanye West Made His Runway Debut
West made his modeling debut by opening Balenciaga’s recent 2023 Paris Fashion Week show. The Yeezy founder wore an all-black, combat-style look with a baseball cap and utility vest, which featured the word “Security.”
The Balenciaga show was held at the Parc des Expositions and had a mud theme. The entire runway featured an ankle-deep spread of mud and dirt. West’s four kids- North, Saint, Chicago, and Psalm were in attendance to support their Dad alongside Kylie Jenner.
Other stars present included singer Doja Cat and actress Alexa Demie. According to Elle, the show also featured supermodels, including Bella Hadid, who had bruise-themed makeup and wore long dresses trailed in the mud. Some models had baby carriers strapped to them, carrying Balenciaga dolls.
The Collection And Runway Portrayed A Battlefield
Gvasalia, Balenciaga’s creative director, released a statement explaining that the collection has a personal identity of being a “battlefield.”
His statement, which he posted on Instagram, read, “I hate boxes and I hate labels and I hate being labeled and placed in a box. Society, the internet and the world in general loves doing that, because it feels safe this way. One needs to have courage and persistence to truly assume their identity and who they really are. Every day becomes a battlefield to defend this unique identity.”
He continued, “And the more you try to be yourself the more you get punched in your face … The challenge is to get up and keep walking towards your true self after you have been beaten up and knocked down.” Gvasalia explained in his statement that the set is “a metaphor for digging for truth and being down earth.” Adding that, we should “let everyone be anyone” and “make love not war.”
Kanye West’s Runway Debut Made Betsey Johnson ‘Emotional’
Shortly after the show, West shared a reaction to his modeling debut from iconic designer Betsey Johnson. He posted a screenshot of his texts with Johnson on his Instagram stories. Johnson wrote (per Page Six), “I felt a little bit emotional when you walked. It felt really special.”
West replied to the 80-year-old fashion icon, “After all the battles Even this year Pretty amazing I’m emotional too.” Photos from West’s debut also went viral on Twitter, with many fans tweeting about it and some criticizing his outfit and walk.
A fan wrote, “Okay, so guys, Kanye West is a musician, producer, fashion designer, businessman and now we can add runway model to that list. We love it!” One tweet criticizing West read, “Was he going for the end of the world chic?? Absolutely horrendous.”
Kanye West Collaborated With Balenciaga
The “All of the Lights” rapper and Gvasalia have been friends for years, with West publicly supporting the designer since his early days at Vetements. Since Gvasalia took over at Balenciaga, West has almost exclusively worn clothing from the brand. The friends even collaborated on a utilitarian capsule line earlier this year.
According to the release statement, the line, titled “Yeezy Gap Engineered by Balenciaga,” are “timeless silhouettes translated through the lens of Ye and Demna’s shared vision of utilitarian design.”
Upon its release, West shared several images of the clothes on his Instagram. They featured wader boots, a silver cinch-waist jumpsuit, a gray anorak, matching pants, leathery pants, gloves, boots, and a big black puffer jacket. The line echoed the clothing West himself has worn for most of the year.