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An Obsessive Timeline of Ye Playing Dress-up

From left: Kanye West, Amber Rose, Kim Kardashian West, and Julia Fox.
Photo-Illustration: by The Cut; Photos: Getty Images

This month, just as Yeezy Gap Engineered by Balenciaga was announced as an official thing, Julia Fox was spotted multiple times with Kanye West, aka Ye — first in Miami in a Balenciaga swimsuit with leather pants (at the beach!!!); then in New York in a lot of Balenciaga and Miaou low-rise whale-tail pants; and then, most recently, in a denim jacket by Charlotte Knowles and a Balenciaga Neo Classic City Bag.

The infamous whale-tail look, according to an Interview magazine article by Fox herself, was orchestrated by Ye. He had an entire hotel suite full of clothes waiting for her after dinner at Carbone. As much buzz as the moment got, this isn’t anything new: Ye plays dress-up with the women he dates. It quietly and informally started over a decade ago with Amber Rose. So we did a deep dive into the timeline of Ye’s dolls from him.

Photo: SplashNews.com

“I’m not like his Barbie,” Rose told she in 2009 about her then-boyfriend, West, who urged her to wear a gown for the Metropolitan Opera’s 125th-anniversary gala at Lincoln Center. But she, an independent woman whose audacious style was far from New York’s elite, chose a white knee-length wrap dress by Alexander Wang instead. Sure, they might have worn coordinating fur coats and biker jackets, but Rose always held her own de ella, even if she dabbled in Ye’s minimalist preferences now and then.

In the same interview, when asked about her collaborative process with Ye on their shoot for she, Rose joked that they disagreed on choosing looks. “I’m more electric pink and bright yellow. And Kanye’s more like nude and bone. Like, bone is his favorite color of him. I’m like, Whose favorite color is bone?“It wasn’t until three years later that he finally got his bone-loving Barbie.

From left: Photo: Julien Hekimian/WireImagePhoto: Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage

From left: Photo: Julien Hekimian/WireImagePhoto: Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage

The rapper also got his very own Barbie Dream Closet play set when he overhauled Kim Kardashian West’s closet on an episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians in 2012. Ye’s reactions to all her body-con Hervé Léger, chunky bling, and platform stilettos included an earnest “Babe, you really gotta clean out everything,” a confused “What about this joint right here?,” and simply “Oh , hell no!” But Kardashian West graciously welcomed her mini-makeover moment.

“Kanye’s definitely inspired me to want to, like, be a little bit more of an individual,” she said in the confessional. “I think my style’s just evolving and changing, and I think it should because that’s, you know, what life is about. He’s a fashion designer, and he loves clothes, so I’m excited to, like, collaborate with him to see what his take on fashion is.”

Clockwise from left: Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty ImagesPhoto: Lars Niki/Getty Images for WSJ. Magazine Innovators AwardPhoto: 2016 Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for The Daily Front Row

Clockwise from left: Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty ImagesPhoto: 2016 Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for The Daily Front RowPhoto: Lars Niki/Getty Im…
Clockwise from left: Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty ImagesPhoto: 2016 Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for The Daily Front RowPhoto: Lars Niki/Getty Images for WSJ. Magazine Innovators Award

Over the course of their relationship, Ye also introduced Kardashian West to the innermost fashion circle, first bringing her to the Met Gala in 2013 as his plus-one. From there, she befriended his photographer friends from him, such as Mert and Marcus; Givenchy’s Riccardo Tisci; and Carine Roitfeld of CR Fashion Book, which Ye encouraged Kardashian West to study as a “fashion bible.” Maybe to Ye’s misfortune of him, his wife of him was not actually an inanimate doll that he could put clothes on himself. He had to nudge her in creative ways about wearing the latest trends. “[Kanye] sent me a whole email, like, ‘You cannot wear big glasses anymore. It’s all about tiny little glasses,’” she said on a 2018 episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians while wearing tiny sunglasses. “He felt me, like, millions of ’90s photos with tiny little glasses like this.”

Kardashian West was even a poster woman for Yeezy, and her husband made it easy for her not to think about dressing herself. “I literally just wear all of the Yeezy samples,” she told People in 2018. “They have a team of stylists and they put it all together. I’m totally inspired by Kanye and the Yeezy team — and listen to the advice of everyone over there who is making all the clothes. I basically get this wardrobe and I don’t have to think too much about it.”

Kim Kardashian West in Yeezy Season 6.
Photo: @KimKardashian/Twitter

The couple separated in early 2021, but it didn’t take long for Ye to find new dolls to dress up in his new favorite brand, Balenciaga. During his brief summer fling with Russian model Irina Shayk, she was spotted in Yeezy, including the brand’s collab with Balenciaga on a DMX-tribute sweatshirt. During an even briefer fling in November with 22-year-old model Vinetria, she was dressed in head-to-toe Balenciaga for their courtside date at the Donda Academy’s debut basketball game in Minneapolis.

In Fox’s case, it could be argued that Ye is attempting to create Kim 2.0 with looks (she did wear the exact same dress Kardashian West made famous at the Uncut Gems premiere), but since he has become a more prominent designer, with Yeezy in the 2010s and his current tenure as the “Steve Jobs of the Gap,” perhaps he is just using his partners as walking, talking billboards for his clothes.

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