Tuesday, May 30, 2023

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    Another Day, Another Pair of Big Honkin’ Kanye West Boots

    Ye—née Kanye West—is deep in the weeds of the promotional cycle for his latest album, Donda 2. Though we’re technically still in the purview of the not-so-distant Donda rollout, Mr. West has some new tricks up his Yeezy Gap-branded sleeve… and a new pair of hefty boots on his feet.

    When he’s not releasing deeply upsetting music videos, he’s releasing relatively less upsetting music videos that tie in with his ongoing partnerships with Gap and Balenciaga. His “Heaven and Hell” video, which dropped in January, doubled as a TV commercial for his Yeezy Gap line that aired on ESPN during the College Football Playoff national championship game. Set in a dystopian cityscape populated by identically dressed figures—each outfitted in a black Yeezy Gap hoodie, a Demna-coded full-face covering, and tread-sole combat boots—the video follows as these masked citizens form a sort of surreal army. It also hinted at what would soon be announced as its new subset, Yeezy Gap Engineered by Balenciaga, officially introducing Balenciaga creative director and frequent Ye collaborator Demna into the fold. The same figures appear in Ye’s new “Hurricane” video but this time, the figures and the world they inhabit are now entirely digital. They ascend into the air and trudge through waist-high waters, their outfits rendered in CGI.


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    But back to the boots. Since last fall, enormous, industrial-grade boots have become a stalwart feature of Ye’s everyday uniform. His boot du jour has oscillated at a steady clip, running the gamut from those Balenciaga Crocs, to a discontinued model of Red Wing work boots, to Realtree-camo-printed Dryshod hunting boots, to Black Diamond X2 boots made for firefighters, to Italian-made Cofra all-purpose boots, and back again. And the two music videos debuted a yet another new pair altogether: the aforementioned combat boots are a style called the 1992 Black Apple boots, by the French vegan footwear brand Virón. (They are named as such because they are made of so-called apple leather, a textile created entirely from apple skin waste, sourced from apples grown in northern Italy for use in the food industry. The more you know!)

    Seems safe to say this won’t be the last pair of heavy-duty boots we’ll see in the Ye Extended Universe, and though comparatively the Virón boots’ silhouette is pretty low-profile, they seem stompable nonetheless. What or where exactly those shadow figures are stomping towards, however, remains a mystery.

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