As a multi-platinum selling artist, his musical credentials are undeniable, and yet his style over the years has often been far from record breaking. However, having just unveiled a new surprisingly stylish collection for APC at Paris Fashion Week, as well as landing a Vogue front cover with his baby mama (a certain Ms. Kimmy K), it seems that Mr. West has finally found his fashion groove.
Just as his now distinctive sound has evolved over the years, so has his style. His debut album College Dropout was an instant hit and although his preppy paraphernalia set him apart from the identikit bling-bling rappers of the early noughties, his Ralph Lauren knits and pastel chinos were definitely more Carlton Banks than Karl Lagerfeld.
West himself admits that he was a fashion victim during the early years, often the walking talking embodiment of more money than fashion sense. His style statements were often erratic, and even cartoonish and yet his influence on the mainstream was still undeniable. Who can forget the shutter shades worn in his Stronger video and subsequently by almost every package-holiday raver in 2008.
However, there is no question that behind the many fashion faux-pas there was and is an undeniable talent for fashion and a unique sense of style. It may have taken him some time to hone and refine it but when he gets it right, the output is astounding. Kanye has lent his skills to brands such as Louise Vuitton and Nike with incredible success. The all red ˜Louis Vuitton Donâ sneaker has become a cult classic, and his Nike Yeezy sneakers sold out in 11 minutes with one pair being listed for an incredible £10 million on e-bay.
Like Pharrell, another featured GD style icon, Kanye is not afraid to take risks and make bold statements in his style. How many other rappers do you know who could pull off a womans blouse (as Kanye did in Celine by Phoebe Philo in 2011).
But it is minimal rather than outlandish Kanye who has gained kudos from the cliquey fashion cognoscenti of late.
His new APC collection is like stepping into his 2014 wardrobe. It features long, military-style jackets with utilitarian details, tunic-style shirts, skinny pants and even some double denim. The models at the show all wore his now signature 6 inch Timberlands just to rubber-stamp his personal influence.
This million-dollar minimalism is now Kanye signature style. It’s a look that has been adopted by pretty much every Premiership footballer, as well as a host of other hip-hop stars. Muted colour palettes of black, white or grey. Basic silhouettes in modern premium materials finished with a dash of urban flavor, such as a fur trim.
Thankfully Kanye has eschewed his schizophrenic style of the past and seems to have found a signature style that is authentic. He continues to influence the mainstream and is certainly inspiration all over the globe. Like all good style icons, people want to see what he is wearing, and whether his latest outfit makes us cackle or covert, well that’s half the fun.