The snippet of a brand new Kanye West tune featured in a Beats by Dre industrial starring American sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson, which aired throughout Sport 6 of the NBA Finals final evening, was the newest addition to a mound of clues about his apparently imminent new album. However might Kanye even be leaving clues in his outfit selections? He’s been sporting what quantities to a full-on uniform currently, and now he’s dropping uncharacteristic model choices on Instagram. What might Ye’s new look imply for the DONDA period, and for the subsequent persona within the unending succession of New Kanyes?
First, the uniform: West has been favoring his upcoming Hole x Yeezy amorphous puffer jacket—in each its OG blue and new black colorways—and customized balaclava-style full-face coverings, together with one emblazoned with a crucified Jesus Christ. (Travis Scott, Ye’s sort-of-former-brother-in-law, later Instagrammed a selfie sporting the identical one.) Certain, he’s worn full-face masks earlier than, even throughout his 2014 Yeezus tour, however he’s by no means with out one in all late.
He wore a masks to DMX’s memorial service again in April, seemingly customary from a classic Harley Davidson panther T-shirt. Two weeks in the past, it seems he wore the identical one once more to attend the Balenciaga Fall 2021 Couture present in Paris, and he saved it on whereas posing for a photograph with CEOs Cédric Charbit of Balenciaga and François-Henri Pinault of the French luxurious conglomerate Kering. And one in all his associates could be seen sporting a masks alongside Kanye in a brand new video snippet that simply appeared displaying him engaged on the album. Perhaps masks are a crew mandate now.
Maybe that is all some type of commentary on the Covid masks period. At any price, for West, there’s at all times been energy in symbolic anonymity, notably as he departs a profoundly public marriage.
And talking of Kering… After a characteristically lengthy hiatus, Kanye returned to Instagram final evening to share a match pic carousel together with a flat-lay shot of the all-black outfit, which featured a Bottega Veneta bomber and Bottega boots, plus a pair of Saint Laurent leather-based pants—two style homes that, as GQ employees author Rachel Tashjian pointed out, additionally fall beneath the Kering umbrella. He posted the pics simply hours after Kering’s rival luxurious group LVMH introduced they’d acquired a serious stake within the model Off-White based by Ye’s buddy and longtime collaborator Virgil Abloh, who additionally heads up menswear at LVMH’s crown jewel Louis Vuitton.
Kanye has a storied historical past with each conglomerates — and, extra broadly, the gatekeepers of luxurious and capital generally. It’s additionally not like West to share outfit secrets and techniques or shout out manufacturers immediately (as he as soon as stated, “I do not put on branding. Once I see branding, I see insecurity”) so this feels prefer it means one thing. And as per common, Kanye’s making a whole lot of statements without delay right here: the outfit breakdown additionally featured a pair of Nike socks, a nod to a different firm he has a difficult historical past with, on condition that he left an early sneaker collaboration with Nike to launch his mega-successful Yeezy model with Adidas. Within the clip that West additionally posted of the Beats industrial, the digicam opens on Nike-endorsed Richardson’s swoosh’d-up spikes.
What does all of it imply? Perhaps the whole lot, perhaps nothing. Maybe Ye is able to hyperlink and construct with some former adversaries, on or off the album. Like all issues Kanye, solely time will inform.