Kanye West models incognito at the Balenciaga fashion week show in Paris

It took the Paris fashion week audience several minutes to realize that they had just witnessed Kanye West make his first appearance as a runway model.

With his black hoodie pulled up over a Balenciaga baseball cap, there was something familiar about the man in an oversized flak jacket and baggy leather jeans (the beard, the wobbly swagger) and after zooming in on his phone videos , the penny dropped: One of the most influential musicians of his generation had just added runway modeling to an eclectic resume spanning 21 Grammy Awards, fashion collections and collaborations from Paris to New York, a full-length guest cameo on the Kardashian celebrity circus and a near miss in a race for the White House.

Balenciaga has become the most attractive luxury brand in the world by taking the most vacuous and ridiculous elements of fashion week and turning them inside out to say something interesting.

Putting a celebrity on the runway to make a show stand out is an old trick; Putting one of the world’s most famous men incognito in his show was, said Balenciaga creative director Demna, who, like Ye, as West now prefers to be known, has only one name, a message that people should value individualism. and not fawn over the celebrity.

In a statement accompanying the show, he said that “individualism in fashion degrades into pseudo-trends dictated by a post on some celebrity’s stories of the moment… fashion at its best shouldn’t need a story to sell to people.” someone… let us all be anyone.”

If you assume fashion is all about glamor and escapism, you’ll have some catching up to do at Balenciaga. Demna, who has declared polish and perfection “pretty old-school,” rocked Paris fashion week with a gritty, dystopian aesthetic.

The show invitation was a dented wallet, crammed with cards, coins and receipts as if they had returned from a lost and found, complete with an ID card, in the name of a former Balenciaga employee, and a faded cat click. hidden. behind the bag of coins.

The catwalk was a muddy track that spattered black dirt onto catwalk clothes and front-row bags, soundtracked by a roar of techno gunshots. Aspirational lifestyle moment, this was not to be.

Balenciaga has become the most attractive luxury brand in the world by taking the most vacuous and ridiculous elements of fashion week and turning them inside out to say something interesting.

Putting a celebrity on the runway to make a show stand out is an old trick; Putting one of the world’s most famous men incognito in his show was, said Balenciaga creative director Demna, who, like Ye, as West now prefers to be known, has only one name, a message that people should value individualism. and not fawn over the celebrity.

In a statement accompanying the show, he said that “individualism in fashion degrades into pseudo-trends dictated by a post on some celebrity’s stories of the moment… fashion at its best shouldn’t need a story to sell to people.” someone… let us all be anyone.”

If you assume fashion is all about glamor and escapism, you’ll have some catching up to do at Balenciaga. Demna, who has declared polish and perfection “pretty old-school,” rocked Paris fashion week with a gritty, dystopian aesthetic.

The show invitation was a dented wallet, crammed with cards, coins and receipts as if they had returned from a lost and found, complete with an ID card, in the name of a former Balenciaga employee, and a faded cat click. hidden. behind the bag of coins.

The catwalk was a muddy track that spattered black dirt onto catwalk clothes and front-row bags, soundtracked by a roar of techno gunshots. Aspirational lifestyle moment, this was not to be.

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