Over the weekend, Ye – the artist formally known as Kanye West – announced a collaboration between his Yeezy Gap and Balenciaga.
Going by the rather un-catchy name of Yeezy Gap Engineered by Balenciaga, the collaboration looks set for a June launch, and is – in fashion terms – positively seismic. For the first time, it will bring the ultra-desirability of Balenciaga to the high street.
As the first collaboration for Yeezy Gap, a deal Ye signed in 2020 that looks set to earn him $1 billion, bringing Balenciaga on board proves what a major fashion player he has become. In typically cryptic Ye manner, the star took to social media to announce the deal, posting part of the legal paperwork on Instagram on Friday.
However, other than the signatures of Ye, Gap and the chief executive of Balenciaga, details are scant, with no indication of what the collection will look like, how big it will be, or even if it will be available in every country.
When this collection does finally hit stores, it is safe to assume that the hype surrounding it will be at a fever pitch, considering Ye and Balenciaga creative director Demna Gvasalia – who now goes by just his first name – are masters at grabbing headlines.
Case in point: to flag his first design for Yeezy Gap, Ye wore the $200 Round Jacket on stage, attracting so much attention that when it finally went on sale last summer, it sold out in minutes and crashed the Gap website. A red version is now available on resale for $7,800 at Goat.com. For his Yeezy trainer line, Ye has a tendency to announce a new design on his social media at midnight, which usually results in it being sold out by morning.
At Balenciaga, meanwhile, Demna has spurred plenty of headlines of his own, most recently by using an episode of The Simpson to launch Balenciaga's autumn/winter 2021 collection.
Over the coming months we can expect a skilfully managed guerrilla marketing campaign to ensure fans of the brands are ready and waiting with their credit cards in hand come June.
A long-time fan of Balenciaga, Ye has been telegraphing his appreciation for months, even calling on Demna to art direct his recent Donda album listening parties. He's also regularly spotted in the label, and has frequently dressed his ex-wife, Kim Kardashian, in its outlandish looks.
Bringing the indefinable "cool" of Balenciaga to the high street overshadows recent high-end tie-ups such as Fendi x Versace, and even Gucci x Balenciaga, with fashion app Lyst naming Balenciaga the most in-demand brand in the third quarter of 2021, with searches rising by 500 per cent.
With news of this collaboration, those searches are only going to increase, making it undoubtedly one of the biggest fashion tie-ups of 2022.