Balenciaga Cuts Partnership with Rapper Kenya West

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Following a recent run of antisemitic and racist comments made by rapper Kanye West, luxury clothing brand Balenciaga has formally severed its relationship with the longtime partner.

Following Kanye West’s contentious participation on the podcast Drink Champs, which was broadcast last week and in which he erroneously asserted that George Floyd wasn’t murdered but rather was killed by fentanyl, Balenciaga started to distance itself from him. He then made harsh remarks directed towards the Jewish community.

West’s runway appearance during the Balenciaga Spring 2023 show during Paris Fashion Week was reportedly removed from both the Balenciaga website and Vogue Runway on October 17.

A section on its website devoted to the three Yeezy Gap Engineered by Balenciaga collaborations, which debuted earlier this year, has also been removed, according to Balenciaga. Additionally, other internet stores no longer carried such things.

Following its third-quarter earnings report Thursday,  October 20,2022, the fashion label’s parent company Kering said in a statement to WWD, “Balenciaga has no longer any relationship nor any plans for future projects related to this artist.”

With Balenciaga severing ties, West has lost one of his closest and oldest partners in the luxury fashion world. The two have been entwined for years, largely thanks to West’s long-standing relationship with the fashion house’s creative director Demna Gvasalia, which dates back to around 2014, when Vestments — the label Demna founded with his brother, Guram Gvasalia broke through in the fashion world.

In 2015, the Gvaslia brothers consulted West on his Yeezy Season 1 line, and by the end of the year, Demna was signed to head up Balenciaga.

West and Demna’s relationship really solidified in 2019. The two texted constantly and eventually started working together again, with Demna serving as the creative director on West’s Donda listening parties in 2021.

“With Ye, I have something that I don’t really have with other people, where anything is possible,” Demna told The Times last year. “For me, talking with him is like going back in time to the 8-year-old me who doesn’t have all these barriers and filters.”

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