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Fashion November, 3 2011

Yeezy’s Dw Moves in Reverse – What If Fashion’s Elite Started Rapping

I was speaking to a friend the other day, quite a well-known designer, who felt that their latest collection wasn’t as well-received as had been expected. They joked that perhaps, since Kanye West was attempting a sort of couture d’etat on the fashion world, perhaps they should go the other way, and launch a music career.

It’s not uncommon for designers to change disciplines. Hedi Slimane has published fantastic photography books, and Tom Ford managed to shut everyone the hell up when ‘A Single Man’ was released. Still, these shifts don’t seem quite analogous to switching from mic-rocking to the catwalks of Paris.

To be fair, we all know that in the studio Kanye for damn sure doesn’t lack the minerals, vitamins, irons, or the niacins. This month, though, as we all know, Yeezy left the runaways in favour of the runway, with the debut collection of his new label, Dw, at Paris Fashion Week.

Unsurprisingly, reviews were mixed. Cathy Horyn questioned its presque prêt-à-porter tailoring, and Suzy Menkes called it uninspiring; while Tim Blanks threw about backhanded compliments like ‘contextually impeccable’, ‘unprecedented’, and ‘Baby Balmain’ (though B$lmain might be more appropriate).

To me, the collection’s cashmere & cleavage vibe came off largely as a wifey fantasy. Unapologetically luxe, indisputably evocative of a certain lifestyle, the clothes seem to be right in step with the ‘bubbles on the terrace in Southampton’ future that’s surely in store for the lady that out-Roses Amber.

What the Dw collection really got me thinking about, though, was that with Kanye neatly side-stepping from rapper to design wunderkind, what would happen if some of the other fashion designers made the inverse career switch.

A surprising number of designers were on hand to lend their support, from Olivier Theyskens to Azzedine Alaïa, Dean and Dan Caten (D Squared) to Jeremy Scott.

Read the rest of the article after the jump.

There’s a grand tradition of rappers playing make believe and subverting their life stories for the purpose of their music, from drug dealing fever dreams to The Coup’s cocktail party cypher Takin’ These (“Now if you’re blind as Helen Keller you can see I’m David Rockefeller/So much cash, up in my bathroom there’s a ready teller”). So there’s really no reason that the odd couturier couldn’t grab a little street cred on the mic.

Below, a few of our most anticipated upcoming fash-raps:

Karl Lagerfeld:
Style: Flexing his trademark pan-German elocution and ferocious intelligence in Das Racist-esque stream of consciousness couplets (“extra large fashion is aesthetic sophistry, less than 15 collections a year upper class lethargy….”)

Christopher Bailey:
Video aesthetic: Throwback to Robert Palmer’s ‘Simply Irresistible’, featuring Coco Rocha et al dressed in Burberry Macintoshes paired with torn fishnets.
Go-to lyrical influence: Slick Rick’s Mona Lisa (“B: Blue-Blooded, U: Unctous, R: Rakish, B…”)

Sarah Burton:
Lead-off single: Baroqoco (video directed by that other Burton).
Crew: In a daring move, that Cambridge sociologists say might quell some of the recent rioting, the album will feature guest performances from both the House of Windsor and the So-Solid Crew (remember them?).

John Galliano:
Lead-off single: Misunderstood (chorus by Crystal Kay, spoken word interpolations by Michel Houellebecq)
Influences: Leni Riefenstahl biography (audiobook), Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five (due to love of their wardrobe subtlety), Ezra Pound (for his facial hair strategy and edits of The Wasteland, equally), absolutely everyone in Shibuya.

Text by @quentincrispy

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