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Ye brings new looks, new music, new controversy at YZY SZN 9

Just a day after opening for Balenciaga’s SS23 showcase for his good friend and Donda creative director Demna Gvasalia, Ye delivered even more headlines during Paris Fashion Week.

Taking place at an undisclosed location in the fashion capital of the world — with icons like Anna Wintour, Demna and Naomi Campbell in attendance — Ye hosted a near hour-long show to display his latest YZY line on Oct. 3. “YZY SZN 9” was meant to start at 12:45 ET, but began purposely late as Ye greeted the audience with a video presentation and a commanding speech.

After the visual played, which featured audio clips from Steve Jobs, his ex-wife Kim Kardashian, James Turrell, himself and more, Ye’s speech touched upon the inspiration for his collection, his hindsight in reference to his position in the fashion industry and how he views the Louis Vuitton captain Bernard Arnault as his competition.

But, taking away from his message to an extent, the controversial “White Lives Matter” T-shirt he donned, as part of this YZY SZN 9 collection, set the internet ablaze. Along with causing Jaden Smith to exit the showcase before it even began, the entire fashion and music community expressed discomfort, concern or bewilderment due to this politically divisive statement. The next morning (Oct. 4) after the fallout from this, Ye took to Instagram as he has been doing all year to double-down on his shirt’s phrase, attacking the “fraudulent” Black Lives Matter Movement: “Everyone knows that Black Lives Matter was a scam.”

But, as much as this snatched the internet’s attention for the rest of the day, the YZY SZN 9 show continued as planned. Before the models strutted down the runway, the children’s Sunday Service choir — accompanied by his daughter North West — emerged in the middle of the circular runway to sing acapella versions of tracks like the 2022 Ye-XXXTENTACION collaboration “True Love” (reimagined as “God’s Love”) and the College Dropout hit “All Falls Down.”

As the models began to file in, walking in a roundabout to surround the choir, the new looks in the collections began to confirm Ye’s vision of everything being “pull on or pull over.” Whether it be bodysuits, puffer jackets, hoodies, sweatshirts, pants, tank tops or handbags, the YZY SZN 9 collection delivered on Ye’s mission.

As the models all found their places in the circle, Ye then began to play an unreleased, unfinished track by him and James Blake, who he was seen working with alongside No I.D. last week. While it is unclear if this song — tentatively titled “Always” — will be released as part of a finalized Donda 2 or any other upcoming project, the piano intro by Blake that bled into an extensive Ye verse and outro inspires more hope for music on the way.

These YZY looks will usher in a more independent era for the YZY brand. Published just hours before the showcase, Vogue‘s latest interview with Ye documents his mindset regarding his latest disagreements with Adidas and Gap, who he had before entrusted with the YZY brand. Seeing himself as a true visionary, Ye wants YZY to be unconfined to the whims of executives like those at Gap who charged $200 for YZY T-shirts and at Adidas who made their own colorways for YZY shoes without Ye’s approval.

In this conversation, Ye broke down the evolution of YZY into a three-step process, where the first phase was him having to break into the fashion industry and earn respect, the second phase was him delivering fashion lines and the third is independence, where he now aims “to clean up the companies.”

“Our point, our idea, is that there is no one who is not welcome at YZY, at Donda. And that’s why I went to Gap. And why I brought Demna with me. To say ‘OK, Demna’s cut is at the top of what Paris has to offer. And Paris is at the top of what fashion has to offer. So let’s bring Paris to the people.’”

Ye via Vogue

Likening his struggle for fashion acceptance to the Civil Rights Movement, Ye hopes to bring about a marriage of individual freedom and education with his YZY SZN 9 era. With the loose-fitting apparel, unconstrained business moves and a plan to open up “Donda Academy” vocational schools and “Dondasteries,” Ye is ready to put ideas to life.

“It’s leaning into the shape of how I see this future world… this alternate world. But in high school. It’s focused on curriculum because both my parents are educators,” he continued. “The most important resource we can have is knowledge.”

It is currently unclear when the YZY SZN 9 merchandise will be made available to the public, but as motivated as Ye sounds to materialize these plans, it could be any day now.

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