Can Balenciaga Break With Kanye?
It’s been more than a year since we first published an editorial by Balenciaga about the rapper’s “stiff-necked” attitude, and we’ve since seen it go from a minor nuisance to a major obstacle in the brand’s climb to reclaiming its former glory. At this point, with Balenciaga struggling to compete with the likes of Raf Simons, Alexander Wang and Michael Kors, the company should just say good-bye to this one-time trendsetting label. Or at least start listening to Kanye West and make sure he’s not the one who pulls the plug.
Balenciaga is no stranger to controversy, but its response to the rapper’s comments was both puzzling and unnecessary. Yes, the label has issued statements, but it was only in response to questions from the New York Times and Elle.com this week that the company decided to respond to West’s comments after a year of silence. And that comes as a surprise, because the company would have been smart to simply ignore the comments if it didn’t expect them to have an effect on sales. Of course, that’s hindsight speaking. Had the company responded to West’s comments a year ago, it might not have been as visible, but people would still be speculating about what happened and wondering when the “stiff-necked” designer would finally release his own line.
The comments became a major issue when reports of an alleged rift between West and his former manager, Andre Soriano, surfaced. But for the past year, the company and Kanye have been at work on a very different project. A new line of clothing called “The Life of Pablo,” which Kanye described as an extension of his “Yeezy Season 1,” was just released.
And while the rapper’s comments about Balenciaga were a major blow to the company (the line, which was inspired by the designer’s “The Life of Alexander McQueen,” comes out in time for Christmas), the timing might mean