As the Kanye West x
How did your collaboration with Louis Vuitton come about?
I already knew and looked up to Marc Jacobs. Then Louis Vuitton called me and said they had this idea for me to do shoes. I was really excited about the opportunity. I don’t know if they quite knew what they were getting into asking me to help create something!
How did you work with the teams from Louis Vuitton?
We’d fly out there. They’d have ideas. I’d have ideas and I’d start sketching. I just sketched every idea in my head, women’s, men’s, everything. In the end Louis Vuitton had to narrow it down because I had SO many ideas that I wanted to get out.
What was your image of Louis Vuitton before you became so closely involved with the company, and have your impressions evolved in any way as a result of the collaboration?
They’ve always been my favourite aspirational brand from the day I bought my first wallet. Actually I used to dream of being able to buy their trunks and put them round my house.
Why sneakers? (I know you are supposed to own at least 400 pairs)
Because they’re a great entry point for people who can’t afford the trunk, you know. Also, sneakers, I think, are a way of displaying where you are mentally.
What was your inspiration for this collection?
I was inspired a lot by the movie Dune—remember those big padded collars they wore? Well I did that padded look as a flap at the back.….
And what socks would you wear with those?
Well, that’s interesting. I wanted to make a tube sock with an LV patch on the side to go with them.
STYLE AND FASHION
Who is an exception to that rule?
The singer, Rihanna, who is 21. She’s kind of like a genius because regardless of how many stylists she has, I know she does it on her own. That’s an innate talent, having style like that. It’s kind of like the way people play sport, some people just hit the shoots into the net better. Yeah. Fashion is a sport in a way.
Are you a fashion genius?
I don’t think I’ve reached genius level yet. It’s good. But its not good enough for me. I want to be better.
Who are your fashion icons?
Michael Jackson is the best dressed person of all time. Not today, I can’t say that, but in his hey day. When he was wearing all those jackets covered in Swarovski crystals. And then all those leather jackets and Mickey Mouse t-shirts and those tailored pants and penny loafers. Michael Jackson, he was for real.
What is your favourite item in your wardrobe?
My vintage Levi’s jeans jacket. It’s the perfect, perfect jacket. Someone told me it was really, really good because it’s got the big ‘E’ on the label, which means it’s from a certain year.
What do you think is different about French and American attitudes to fashion?
Well, I notice if you’re in the ‘hood’ in Paris, you dress in a hoodie like they do back home. I love that, that the look is straight out of America. Because it wasn’t always thatway.
How do you find the ideas for your music?
I get inspired by concepts, theories, philosophies.
Give me an example.
The saying ‘What Does Not Kill Me Makes Me Stronger’ was an inspiration for the song
If you hadn’t been a successful Music artist, what would you have liked to be?
An author, maybe. Although I have already written a book.
Who has been the biggest influence on your career?
Me! Meaning my mistakes, I’ve learnt so much from them!
How would you describe the experience of Paris / France?
Y’know, when I first went to Paris I used to HATE it. Now it’s one of my favourite cities in the world. I compare Paris to a girl that you meet at a bar who is very rude to you, who you end up falling in love with.
What do you like most about the city?
I like the heritage, the attitude. The vibe I get from Parisiens is highly educated, highly cultured and very impatient. And I’m into that. Paris forces you to step up your game. It forces you NOT to be ignorant about things.
How do you take criticism? There are plenty of people, I notice, who like to criticize you on your blog, kanyewestunivercity.com.
Well, you have to figure out why people say those things. Like, were they having a bad day or something? Actually, I think it’s kind of fabulous, people saying stuff like Kanye, you’re a faggot, or Kanye, he doesn’t take himself too seriously. That’s a great blog comment! Because of course I’m taking myself WAY too seriously.
Still. What’s it like being such a fashion icon? Kids of eleven want to dress like you…
Well, you do have this ability, when you are famous, to set trends just by being photographed and that’s really not fair. I shouldn’t get any more credit than the next person for, say, bringing back those Linda Farrow flying shades, I just happened to be wearing the aviators that to me were the most ‘normal’. That doesn’t make me a fashion icon though. People who have TERRIBLE style have the ability to set trends.
How do you deal with your fame?
I deal with it by realizing I’m kind of confined in my walking TV show. Sometimes I feel like I’m an animal at the zoo, with everybody the other side of the glass wanting to see the monkey overreact. It’s a little like being in a cell, but what’s good about living in a cell is I have cellmates. Jay-Z, he’s definitely in my cellblock.
What are your goals, then?
If it’s the last thing I do, I want to drop all the bravado that most urban rap artists carry. I want to make new good stuff and not brag about it. Just to do it. One of the other things I’m going to do is to take my next fee—I charge at least $100,000 a verse—and donate it to my charity (the Dr Donda West foundation he started up with his late mother to combat high school drop out rates).
In what aspect do you consider yourself Number One?
Actually, I don’t think I’m number one at anything…except for learning.
So the ability to learn is excellence for you?
I think so. You can never stop learning. Like my grandfather who is 90 and just took a painting class.