Fashion is weird, and when you combine that with rappers’ vast bank accounts and eagerness to out-stunt each other, you’re bound to come up with some weird looks every now and then.
At the beginning of the year, A$AP Rocky was spotted on the streets of Milan wearing a bright yellow, inflatable puffer jacket. Said jacket was from Balenciaga’s SS17 womenswear collection, and riffed on the bright red puffer that sent fashionistas crazy when Demna Gvasalia made his debut for the house. Whereas the winter must-have was stuffed with insulating goose down, Demna’s comical spring version was inflatable — it even came with a valves for adjusting the jacket’s volume.
Rocky paired the jacket-slash-life-vest with some matching yellow track pants, a Gucci hoodie and some Nikes covered in irreverent doodlings. Not exactly Rocky’s finest steez moment, and unsurprisingly, Twitter was quick to mock him and his latest ’fit.
The Balenciaga piece is still available via the house’s USA webstore, if you have a spare $2,500 lying around to spend on blow-up outerwear novelties.
I’d think twice before jumping into choppy waters with it though — Balenciaga advises that the piece is for “urban use only.” Two-and-a-half grand for a life vest that won’t even keep you afloat in the freezing cold atlantic? Fashion is hell.
More recently, Rocky’s fellow rap diety Drake stepped onto the Coachella stage sporting a similarly yellow puffer vest. Less SOS vibes, more Big-Bird-in-Aspen vibes, the piece was from Moncler’s “O” collaboration with Off-White. Drizzy’s vest was padded, not inflatable, and came with zip-off lower panelling.
Dying to throw all your cash at Drake’s latest getup? Good news, the jacket’s still available via Saks Fifth Avenue.
Balenciaga and Off-White are by no means the first designers to dabble in pseudo-inflatable gear. The “REMADE” section of Christopher Raeburn’s FW15 “Raft/Immerse” collection featured parkas, bombers, backpacks and holdalls crafted from repurposed life rafts.
Raeburn’s mainline also included huge inflatable jackets, which, much like Rocky’s SOS ensemble, came with blow-up nozzles just like those armbands you used when you were learning to swim. Unfortunately, these ones are long gone — you’ll have to settle for regular inflatables at the pool like the rest of us.
The ultimate in blow-up wearables, though, comes from weirdo Italian tech-menswear label CP Company, founded by Stone Island OG Massimo Osti. While mere mortals might be stunting with blow-up jackets and bags, CP Company actually designed outerwear that transformed into inflatable chairs (!!!).
“The insane inflatable chair/jacket hybrid was part of range of ‘Transformables’ that CP Company made to celebrate the new millennium in 2000” explains Stone Island/CP Company mega-fan, Ollie Evans of Too Hot Limited.
“It was series of experimental conceptual show pieces designed Moreno Ferrari, who was CP’s creative director at the time. The previous season he’d designed the renowned ‘Urban Protection’ range of jackets which incorporated accessories into them such as smog masks, torches and in one case an entire micro scooter. The transformable range took this ideology even further to create garments that become fully functioning lifestyle accessories — as well as the chair there were jackets that transformed into a tent, a backpack, a sleeping bag and even a kite.”
Stick that up your blow-up jacket, Demna.
Still dying to dive into the burgeoning life vest wave? This bright-yellow vest from life jacket OGs Stearns comes with some pretty sick reflective panelling, utility pockets and cross-body straps. It’d actually look pretty sick so long as you don’t inflate it and/or jump into the sea with it.
For more style news, here’s how globe-trotting street style photographers dress for the airport.
- Cover Image: Kevin Winter / Getty Images