Entertainment Style The 10 phases of Kanye West’s fashion evolution
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The 10 phases of Kanye West’s fashion evolution

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In the past few weeks, we have seen Kanye West make a fool of himself at the Grammy Awards once again, when he accosted Album of Year winner Beck onstage, unable to hide his distaste that the singer-songwriter had been given the award ahead of his friend Beyonce.

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This came six years after he hijacked Taylor Swift’s win at the VMA’s for MTV, when the young, then country, singer was just 19.

He just loves putting his mouth where his money is and making a goddamn fool of himself.

Unlike Swift, West has now publicly apologised to Beck for being a dill.

“I would like to publicly apologise to Beck. I’m sorry Beck,” West wrote on Twitter on Thursday.

While he was on a roll, West also apologised to funk-driven young star Bruno Mars, writing: “I used to hate on him but I really respect what he does as an artist.”

West said he finally heard Beck’s Grammy winning album Morning Phase while at a restaurant with none other than Taylor Swift. Tell me if you can figure that one out?

The hip-hop star has a chequered history of fame and glory – and it’s often mirrored in what he chooses to wear on and off stage.

When he’s in good form, you can see him dressed in preppy, svelte or haute couture style, when his music is lacklustre, his ostentatious street-style side shines.

From Louis Vuitton backpacks and leather kilts, to the clean minimalism of his debut Adidas range, Kanye’s sartorial transformation has mirrored the evolution of his celebrity status.

The College Dropout (2004)

Kanye emerges from behind the production boards with a preppy combination of Ralph Lauren polos and rugby sweaters paired with a Louis Vuitton backpack. While conservative by today’s standards, most rappers were still sporting baggy jeans and football jerseys back in 2004.

Kanye-2004

A Taste of Success (2005)

Drunk on the success of his debut album (4 million sold, 10 Grammy nominations), Kanye shows up at awards nights looking like he just mainlined Saturday Night Fever with a selection of gaudy white diner jackets, oversized sunglasses (at night), and gold medallions. Even he was willing to admit: “The tuxedo may have been a little Guido.”

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West nails the ‘Uptown Funk’ look, years before it would be a hit song for former hate-mate Bruno Mars. Photo: Getty
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Pink velvet and a matching skivvy. There’s nothing else to say really. Photo: Getty

A Streetwear Love Supreme (2006)

Kanye is in Japan rubbing shoulders with Nigo (the founder of A Bathing Ape) and Pharrell (who’s just launched Billionaire Boys club in collaboration with Nigo). Everyone is rocking brash, oversized streetwear with an edge. Inspired by their success, Kanye launches his own label, Pastelle, and spends the next couple of years teasing a series of half-formed concepts.

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West with Pharrell Williams in their matchy-matchy phase. Photo: Getty

Future so Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades (2007)

Kanye introduces his third studio album with the Daft Punk sampling Stronger and a pair of shutter shades designed by French eyewear specialist Alain Mikli. Within weeks a flood of bootleg glasses hit the market. Behind the scenes he’s secretly working with Australian label Ksubi on a range of sunglasses that was later scrapped.

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All Falls Down (2008)

The death of his mother in 2007, and the end of his six-year relationship with Alexis Phifer hits Kanye hard. The streetwear is ditched in favour of somber grey suits, nerd glasses, a mullet and divisive album of autotune navel gazing. While his own fashion label stalls, he finds an outlet via for that creative frustration with his Nike Air Yeezy collaboration.

Kanye-2008

A Dope Chick (2009)

Former stripper Amber Rose suddenly appears on Kanye’s arm. The couple’s co-ordinated mix of fur, snake skin, leather, and designer labels is like the nouveau riche warm-up to his later appearances alongside Kim Kardashian.

That heady mix of money and power manifests itself on stage when Kanye grabs the mic from Taylor Swift mid acceptance speech. He retreats to Europe amidst the public furor and starts an internship with Fendi.

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West and Amber Rose in 2009. Photo: Getty
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Attempting to grab Taylor Swift’s VMA award off her in 2009. The pair have since kissed and made up. Photo: Getty

Mad Man (2010)

Fetching coffee for European fashion houses has an obvious impact on Kanye’s sartorial choices. He spends most of 2010 in slim Dior Homme suits, solid black ties, and velvet slippers. He refers to it as the Rosewood movement, because reasons …

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West at a fashion show, looking schmick, in 2010. Photo: Getty

The Comeback (2011)

Kanye’s triumphant comeback shines as bright as the red Phillip Lim suit he wears onstage for his VMA performance of ‘Runaway’ in 2010. The accompanying album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, gets rave reviews, and everything from the videos to the album cover is dripping in red. Over in Paris, Kanye finally makes the leap from obsessive fan to actual designer with the premiere of his debut women’s line. It’s not great.

Performing in his new siganature red colour at Splendour in the Grass in 2011. Photo: Getty
Performing in his new siganature red colour at Splendour in the Grass in 2011. Photo: Getty
One of his "creations" at his first fashion show as designer in Paris, 2011.
One of his “creations” at his first fashion show as designer in Paris, 2011. Photo: Getty

All Givenchy Everything (2012)

If you’re going to make an album with Jay-Z celebrating your money/power/success, who better to conceptualise the aesthetic than Givenchy’s Creative Director Riccardo Tisci. Just don’t complain when you find yourself on stage wearing a black leather kilt … Kanye toned it down for his Fashion Week appearances, but it wasn’t enough to save his second women’s collection from industry wide ‘meh’.

Bedazzled and front row at Givenchy in 2012. Photo: Getty
Bedazzled and front row at Givenchy in 2012. Photo: Getty
West's 2012 fashion show: Kim Kardashian arrives on the scene. We think she's either trying to be a model or auditioning to be an extra in Star Wars.  Either way, things are getting real for West. Photo: Getty
West’s 2012 fashion show: Kim Kardashian arrives on the scene. We think she got lost on her way to audition to be an extra in Star Wars. Things are getting real for West. Photo: Getty

Kimye (2013-14)

Say what you will about the pair, but Kanye and Kim look good side by side. It’s like Empire of the Sun reimagined by Balmain. Away from the red carpet, Kanye introduces his first collaboration with French label APC, and talks about the appeal of minimalist $120 white tees.

A heavily pregnant Kardashian somehow loses her hand in the floral arrangement she is wearing at the Met Gala Ball in 2013. Photo: Getty
A heavily pregnant Kardashian somehow loses her hand in the floral arrangement she is wearing at the Met Gala Ball in 2013. West looks proud. Photo: Getty
The couple arriving at the Balmain Spring/Summer 2015 ready-to-wear fashion collection, in Paris, France, 2014. Photo: AAP
The couple arriving at the Balmain Spring/Summer 2015 ready-to-wear fashion collection, in Paris, France, 2014. Photo: AAP

The Hunger Games (2015)

Ten years since he proclaimed himself the “Louis Vuitton Don”, Kanye shocks the fashion industry with his first unisex show for Adidas. Eschewing the elitism of luxury fashion, the stripped back, utilitarian look reflects Kanye’s newfound desire to, “Make beautiful products available to as many people as possible”. He presents the show wearing a hooded top, black jeans, and his own signature shoes.

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Models wearing designs from the West for Adidas collection at New York Fashion Week in 2015. Photo: AAP
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Kanye with his sartorial soul mama, Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, before his Adidas show in New York, February 2015. Photo: AAP

With AAP

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