Kanye West has pulled out all the stops for the promotion of his highly-anticipated 10th album, Donda. Currently previewing the record via a series of live-streamed events, West has given his fans multi-media experiences informed by his love of fine art and high fashion. Last night at Chicago’s Soldier Field stadium, West hosted his third and arguably most personal listening session. On stage was a to-scale replica of his childhood; his hometown serves as the backdrop as he reenacted his wedding vows to ex-wife Kim Kardashian. It all made for a highly intimate and autobiographical performance. Still, West’s stylized reimagining of his past reflects fashion’s present.
Balenciaga’s creative director, Demna Gvasalia, has served as art director for West’s recent appearances, and his influence was all over the Soldier Field performance, particularly its finale. When Kardashian emerged in her veiled bridal finery, she wore the closing look of Gvasalia’s acclaimed haute couture debut. Originally presented on model Awar Odhiang during July’s show, which marked the Balenciaga brand’s first couture collection since 1968, the gown was striking in its simplicity. Backstage, Gvasalia told Vogue’s Sarah Mower that his aim was elevation, to bring “couture allure, posture, and attitude” to the streetwise aesthetic for which he’d become known.
West, who was in the audience of the Balenciaga show, attempts something similar with his Donda experience. Billed as a creative rebirth—West wraps the concert by setting himself ablaze phoenix style—he’s picking apart his persona. When he and Kardashian tied the knot in 2014, their wedding came with a media blitz (and a joint Vogue cover). Now that they’re friendly exes, Kimye can repurpose their most significant moments to enrich their current projects. Reimagining your nuptials with the season’s most talked-about couture collection is one way to get people talking. The whole collaboration acts as a signifier for the next chapter of Kimye. Till death do them part, indeed.