This article was published on October 17, 2022 and updated on October 21, 2022
Over the past couple weeks, Kanye West revealed his power level, as the kids say. For starters, there was Ye's White Lives Matter T-shirt, which basically rendered everything else at his last-minute YZY SZN 9 fashion show irrelevant, the anti-Semitic tweets that got Ye booted off Twitter, and Ye's very public embrace of bigots like Candace Owens and Tucker Carlson.
As a result, a wider swath of the population has vocally repudiated the YEEZY founder while Ye's entrenched sycophants only double down.
Peers like Tremaine Emory and Diddy rejected Ye's transgressions (they were swiftly met with disproportionate reciprocation from Ye) while adidas, the maker of YEEZY sneakers, has ended contract with YEEZY and Def Jam is reportedly disinterested in signing Ye to another record deal.
However, Balenciaga, helmed by Ye's good friend Demna, remained curiously mum on, well, everything that Ye's done over the past few weeks until October 21.
Few companies have actually been willing to embrace Ye since he began iterating hateful anti-Semitic talking points, the exceptions being the Daily Wire — the far-right conspiracy-friendly "media" platform that employs Owens — and Zellerfeld, the 3D printing company that produced the thigh-high boots debuted during the YZY SZN 9 show.
Instead, far more companies are taking pains to distance themselves from him.
Another of Ye's seeming supporters is Revolt TV, the media company owned by Diddy. On October 15, its Drink Champs program platformed Ye for the second time within a year, though it eventually took the video down.
Perhaps Ye and Diddy made up after the previous week's outbursts, though you wouldn't know it from the occasional shots that Ye took at Diddy throughout the Drink Champs conversation.
Anyways, though Ye and Demna are pretty quiet about their friendship — Demna barely uses his personal Instagram account for anything — they appear to still be on good terms: during the Drink Champs interview, Ye described Demna as "the greatest designer on the planet, the Ye of clothing, the Drake of clothing."
Immediately after, Ye was seen wearing a Balenciaga mouthguard, only the most recent time that he's repped the house of Demna.
The Balenciaga creative director and Ye have gotten especially tight over the past few years, wherein Demna offered creative direction for Ye's DONDA listening parties, dressed Ye's various model girlfriends and, of course, partnered on the since-ended YEEZY GAP collection.
Demna was even in-person at Ye's YZY SZN 9 presentation on October 3, chatting with Anna Wintour and John Galliano before the show began.
That was the last time Demna publicly co-signed anything Kanye.
During his Instagram rants in the ensuing days, Ye mostly kept to abrasive self-defense for his White Lives Matter T-shirt.
However, in one since-deleted Instagram post, Ye called out several Balenciaga employees that "Liked" Tremaine Emory's retort to a particularly distasteful claim that Ye made about Virgil Abloh.
Ye described the "Likes" from the Balenciaga staff as betrayal (far less comprehensively and with far more CAPS LOCK) and reiterated his deep bond with Demna.
The man who just sold the company to Ye? Candace Owens' husband. What a coincidence.
“In a world where conservative opinions are considered to be controversial we have to make sure we have the right to freely express ourselves,” Ye said in a statement about the Parler acquisition, apparently ignoring the fact that conservative commenters are incredibly successful across Twitter and (especially) Facebook.
This is "a groundbreaking move into the free speech media space and [Ye] will never have to fear being removed from social media again," Parler's parent company continued.
Take that cancel culture: soon Ye will be able to wish "DEATH CON 3" upon Jews without fear of repercussion.
Demna, who seemingly changed his name to follow in Ye's footsteps, doesn't publicly say much, aside from his support for Ukraine in its fight against Russian invasion, so it seems unlikely that he'd issue a statement about Ye's behavior, even though it seems to fly directly in the face of his inclinations toward inclusivity.
On top of that, Demna and Balenciaga are so intertwined with Ye that extrication wouldn't just be difficult from a business sense but also because Ye would undoubtedly view the reaction as pure treachery and reciprocate in kind.
This is the man who has so much free Balenciaga that he gives it away to friends, to say nothing of Ye and Demna's intimate friendship: in the past, it was reported that the duo constantly text and WhatsApp ideas and inspirations.
Highsnobiety has reached out to a Balenciaga representative for comment. Instead of replying, the luxury house issued a public statement on October 21 that confirmed Balenciaga and Ye are over.
Even before the announcement, though, some clickbait headlines were already claiming that by removing links to YEEZY GAP product from its website and deleting similar imagery from its Instagram page, Balenciaga was quietly keeping its relationship with Ye at arm's length. Balenciaga has long had a habit of clearing house, though, so that was hardly out of the ordinary.
That being said, Balenciaga quickly committed to one clear revision by subtly removing the beginning of its Summer 2023 livestream, entirely editing Ye out of the video and its subsequent Summer 2023 runway photos.
Where does Ye go from here? Is the loss of his best friend in the fashion industry and its powerful backers enough to make him reconsider his vile sentiments?
Or will Ye simply double down as usual, using this public drubbing as evidence that he's actually over the target? Given his recent bullheaded tirades, it's pretty clear which one is more likely.