Yeezy Come, Yeezy Go

Balenciaga is fleeing from Kanye West

We thought we have given enough juice to the rambling disturbance known as Kanye West. Frankly, we are quite bored with his BS (ostensible mental condition aside) and his desperate need to be taken seriously in fashion, and the destructive path he has created in order to secure some recognition. And the people he will hurt—even the dead—to do all that. We have enough of how every little thing could disquiet him, how everyone else has done him wrong, how he cannot be blamed, tamed, and managed. Some people say that we cannot deny that he has talent. So, we won’t: His is to overstate his own.

Disastrously for him, his talent has turned the brand Mr West deeply admires away from him. By now, the news is raging like bush fire, but it still merits sharing. Balenciaga, whose designer Mr West deems the greatest and who was instrumental in the early conception of the Yeezy clothing line, has announced that they want nothing to do with the raving rapper. According to WWD, Kering has issued a statement (after the media wondered why the parent company has remained audibly mum?) to announce their position: “Balenciaga has no longer any relationship nor any plans for future projects related to this artist”. The New York Times reported last month that Yeezy Gap Engineered by Balenciaga would go no further than what was completed.

Balenciaga has no longer any relationship nor any plans for future projects related to this artist”


This dramatic end, or what Mr West might call being cancelled, is perhaps not surprising after it was reported last week that Balenciaga has edited the video of their spring/summer 2023 PFW presentation shared online in which Mr West opened the show, tromping through the muddiest runway Paris ever saw by trimming his part off. The brand has also removed images on their social media showing Mr West in the said show as model, even on the widely-viewed Vogue Runway. And then on the Yeezy Gap website, you no longer find the “Engineered by Balenciaga” selling catchphrase spelled out at any point or corner. Balenciaga is getting serious about the break, even if, at first, surreptitiously.

The brand distancing themselves from Kanye West, however, is no indication that Demna Gvasalia needs to do the same. Mr West and Mr Gvasalia are thought to be “very close”. Their “bromance” is well documented. Last Week, The New York Times, citing “one insider”, reported that the Donda artiste “has been known to refer to himself as Demna’s straight husband”. Both men wanted to be called by their mononym at about the same time. After Mr West opened the Balenciaga show last month, Mr Gvasalia attended the YZY SZN 9 presentation in Paris. The Georgian designer told Vanity Fair last year following his first couture outing for Balenciaga, “There are very few people that I know, especially of that caliber, who really understand what I do.” The relationship between those two, although not entirely clear beyond the professional, is probably harder to untangle.

Update (22 October 2022, 15:00):

Anna Wintour And Vogue’s Turn

Looks like the world’s most powerful editor and her just-as-mighty magazine are taking a stand too: away from Kanye West. According to the New York Post’s Page Six, a Vogue spokesperson told the gossip site “exclusively” that Anna Wintour and her almost-synonymous title do not “intend to work with Kanye West again after his anti-Semitic rants and support for the White Lives Matter cause”. A “source” quoted by Page Six said, “Anna has had enough. She has made it very clear inside Vogue that Kanye is no longer part of the inner circle.” As of now, Vogue online has removed the review of the YZY SZN 9 show. A search on the website turned up the message: “Oops. The page you’re looking for cannot be found”. Writer Luke Leitch’s feature on Mr West seems to have been extirpated too. Ms Wintour has yet to state her position with regards to Mr West’s controversial comments and rants. She was last seen with John Galliano and Demna Gvasalia at the YZY SZN 9 show, but had reportedly left early. It is not known if she was in touch with Mr West after that.

Illustration: Just So, based on Line characters

Dilemma: Black Tie Or National Dress?

Can one take the place of the other? And is black tie “semi-formal attire”?

A week before the annual design competition Singapore Stories reveals the winner at the Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM), Singapore Fashion Council (SFC, or the former Textile and Fashion Federation), sent out (still under TaFF) a follow-up to the invitation (received one week earlier). The accompanying digital handout was a photo-aplenty explainer to the dress code spelled out in the invitation: “Singapore Glamour (Black Tie or National Dress)”. SFC assumes the invitees would not know what the dress code demands, so they sent out this curious guide, explaining what they meant by the oxymoron ”Singapore Glamour”, although they did also say: “Feel free to bring your own interpretation of Singapore Glamour to the celebration.”

According to SFC, Singapore Glamour is either black tie or national dress. As it turned out, we do learn something new every day. And black tie, in case you have not already grasp, is “a semi-formal attire convention typically represented by a dinner suit or dinner jacket (tuxedo)…”. In the latest issue of British GQ, the magazine states that “first of all, the dress code suggests a formality that transcends the standard suit and tie of the business/lounge/wedding suit”. Transcends, GQ says, which means it rises above the semi-formality of the suit guys wear to a high-powered bank meeting, to the opening of an art exhibition, or your best friend’s nuptials. Sure, black tie isn’t as lofty as white tie, but it is not “semi-formal”. SFC has clearly their own (Singaporean) ideas.

And the national dress? Many of us assume that no one is concerned with the national dress any more since the attempt in the ’90s to establish one—the Singapore Dress, morphing to the Orchid Dress, both met with an unfortunate demise in 2002—yielded no definite results. National dress is now mostly taken to mean traditional ethnic dress as those listed in But, as SFC puts it, the “national dress is an alternative to black tie and entails formal attire from different cultures”! Could they be saying that, for the guys, you can substitute a “formal” batik shirt for a “semi-formal” black-tie suit? Or are we too daft to comprehend this Singlish of fashion? When a dress code is so unclear and boldly flippant, why bother with one?

Images: Singapore Fashion Council