By: Alex Germain
Over this past week, Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, has been in a creative frenzy. With the release of Donda 2 on February 24th on his stem player platform and his (somewhat) successful album event on February 22nd, his latest musical creation is out for the world to enjoy if they pay the admission price of 200 dollars. However, if there’s one thing Ye is known for besides his music, it’s his fashion. Forever evolving, Ye’s latest fashion obsession has been Balenciaga. Seen almost 24/7 in the brand’s distinctive Croc boots, Ye has been enthralled with the recent collections designed by Demna Gvasalia, as he was with Gvasalia’s work at Vetements. This past Wednesday, their relationship culminated in the release of a collaborative collection, which was facilitated through Ye’s ongoing partnership with American mainstay Gap. Presented as being “Yeezy Gap engineered by Balenciaga”, this is the largest collection yet to come out of the partnership between Ye and Gap. With 25 looks total, 8 released now and the rest on sale later this year, there’s a lot to unpack, so let’s have a quick look at some of the collection and see what Ye, Demna, and Gap have to offer.
This first look consists of a black puffer jacket layered overtop of a Gap branded hoodie, which is also layered over a longline t-shirt. The look is completed with baggy leather pants and knee-high rain boots. One consistent theme with this collection is that it’s almost entirely monochromatic, except for a couple denim pieces. This goes along with the visual aesthetic Ye has been cultivating recently with his various other projects, and I think it does a great job at creating an overall atmosphere for the collection. It would be nice to see pops of colors, like some white for contrast or different shades of blue and green, but I understand what they’re going for here. However, the boots feel awkward going along with the already baggy top, as they make the pants scrunch up too much. If they wore shorter boots or a chunky sneaker, the outfit would feel more cohesive. Additionally, this feels almost reminiscent of the era of Ye where he wore leather kilts, as it’s very dark and sleek.
This next look consists of a windbreaker layered overtop a hoodie and a longline t-shirt, paired with a crossbody and thigh high leather heels. The consistent use of puffer jackets and rain jackets in this collection is an interesting choice, as after a while the looks tend to blend into one another. These heels work much better than the rainboots in my opinion, as they don’t break up the outfit as much. There’s an almost post-apocalyptic vibe to this collection, with dark figures wearing gear meant to protect you against the elements. This is in stark contrast to some of Ye’s earlier work, which consisted of more form fitting bodysuits colored in earth tones. The minimal branding on the front with the very small Yeezy Gap logo is a nice touch, and the different shades of black with the hoodie and the windbreaker create a nice contrast.
The final look we’ll be reviewing today is probably the most unique out of the collection, as it features a color other than black or grey. We again see the grey Gap hoodie, but this time it’s layered with a distressed, padded light wash denim jacket, and paired with light wash distressed jeans. We again see those rain boots, along with the model holding some kind of blanket. This look is one of my favorites, as I love the padding seen on the jacket. It reminds me of a motorcycle jacket, and the distressed detailing on the sleeves and shoulders helps contribute to the post apocalyptic vibe. The shoulders are a bit boxy, and the jeans feel a little too slim in comparison to the rest of the clothes in the look, but overall, I’m a fan. However, those rain boots once again bring down the whole thing for me. They’re an awkward length and feel out of place with the rest of the outfit, and they cut off the pant legs too short. I’d rather see a Timberland boot or a combat boot with this look, so we can really see those jeans and the outfit can feel more cohesive.
Overall, this collection is very distinct, and falls right in line with what Ye has been doing as of late. The various coats, cloaks, jackets, and ponchos are an interesting look, as is the choice to use almost exclusively black. This feels like outfits for a group of wanderers in a post-apocalyptic world or something, which is nice to see from such a major brand like Gap. Rain boots non withstanding, I am excited to see what else this partnership brings, and how Ye further utilizes the resources of Gap.