FASHION

Did Kim Kardashian West’s Balenciaga Gimp Suit Have a Deeper Meaning?

Kim Kardashian West and Kanye West may be legally separated, but that won’t stop the pair from bonding over some avant-garde Balenciaga face masks. Kim was in attendance last week for Kanye’s second listening party for DONDA—the album that will allegedly be released this week—and dressed accordingly. Kanye enlisted Balenciaga creative director Demna Gvasalia for creative input for the event, which apparently included designing a special full-body suit for Kim.

Although, interestingly, this isn’t the first time Kim and Kanye have matched in face-covering Balenciaga. Their DONDA fits actually recall the Balenciaga costumes the pair wore for Halloween, 2020. Apparently, Kanye has been thinking about the creative direction for the album for quite some time. In other words, its possible Kim’s choice of attire had a deeper meaning.

Suggesting that Kim can cover her entire face and still be an iconic and instantly recognizable figure, she wore a shiny black gimp mask from Balenciaga with matching black, form-fitting separates and heels. A braided ponytail flowed from the top of her mask and extended past her waist. The look, of course, seemed to recall an avant-garde take on looks found rather frequently in BDSM subculture, but also called to mind Maggie Cheung’s catsuit in the 1996 film Irma Vep and, actually, more than a few looks that have stomped down the runway of RuPaul’s Drag Race over the years (including ones worn by Alaska Thunderfuck and Vanessa “Vanjie” Mateo). West, too, has kept his face covered in recent months, including for both DONDA events. It also almost makes you wonder if the famed club kid Leigh Bowery, known for covering and obscuring his face in the name of a strong look, is on Kanye’s mood board? Kim’s look, too, recalls a particularly iconic Bowery outfit.

As we noted, Kim also wore a full Balenciaga face-covering fantasy back in Hollywood, albeit one in red.

Perhaps intentionally (or perhaps not), the red version also bears something of a passing similarity to artwork Kanye has floated as a possible cover for the album. He’s previously tweeted a cropped version of a drawing from artist Louise Bourgeois’s series Les têtes bleues et les femmes rouges. Like Kim’s Halloween costume, it depicts a woman in monochromatic red with a matching ponytail flowing behind her. It’s still unclear if the artwork will be used for the final product.

Some may be hung up with the fact of Kim and Kanye’s reunion amid news of an ongoing divorce, but we’re more hung up on whether Kanye was dressing the mother of his children like a Louise Bourgeois painting or Leigh Bowery look in an attempt to tell us something deeper.