If there’s one advantage to wearing a face mask, it’s that we can go about our business in public with a greater degree of relative peace and anonymity. That is, of course, unless you are Kanye West, who made a splash when he wore a mask covering his entire face at today’s Balenciaga couture show. Call it a version of the Streisand Effect: the more West tries to stop us from perceiving him, the more attention he draws to himself — and his new Yeezy Gap line, coming this fall.
At the runway show, West was seated with Formula 1 racing driver Lewis Hamilton, Bella Hadid, and Brooklyn Nets shooting guard James Harden, who is apparently healed from his recent grade 2 hamstring strain. West’s full mask is a customized vintage Harley Davidson shirt, and features a print of the brand’s legendary roaring black cat; he was previously photographed wearing the mask earlier in March. In WWD’s video below, an array of small holes are visible on the mask, allowing West to breathe and see Demna Gvasalia’s triumphant couture return.
West was also wearing a jacket from his Yeezy Gap line, reported the New York Times’ Vanessa Friedman. The jacket was previously released for pre-order in cobalt blue, and sold out within hours; this black jacket is a new colorway that has not yet been announced, and it is unknown when eager customers can get their hands on the cozy puffer piece.
Meanwhile, he also wore his white foam H.R. Giger-esque Yeezy Foam Runner sneakers, affectionately known as the “Yeezy Crocs,” from his longtime collaboration with Adidas. Puzzlingly, West is also sporting black Nike socks, which are clearly contrasted against the white sci-fi shoe. Is this a form of shade being directed at Adidas, or did the famously fashion-obsessed West simply get dressed while wearing the mask that morning? Whatever the answer, he did allow his children to embellish them with colored drawings. Somewhere, a sneaker collector is crying at the thought of West’s besmirched shoes.
This isn’t the first time that West has covered his entire face. He wore Maison Martin Margiela’s crystal-encrusted masks during his Yeezus tour in 2013, and was recently seen wearing a Jesus-themed mask similar to his Harley Davidson situation above; it also has unobtrusive holes poked in the center. As mask mandates are lifted, it’s a sure bet that West, who famously hates smiling in public (one of his more relatable quality, to be sure) will continue to mask up. Wonder if he was inspired by French harsh noise musician Vomir, who’s been performing wearing a black plastic bag over his head since the early 2000s.