Lately, however, West’s biggest impact on the fashion world has come not through his designs but through his personal wardrobe choices and those of his equally camera-ready girlfriend, Kim Kardashian. Having evolved beyond his earlier signature looks—the pink polos, the shutter shades—West now favors streetwear crossed with Parisian edge, confidently pairing the right Air Jordanswith tuxedo jackets or Givenchy leather pants. And when Kardashian began surprising everyone last winter by stepping out in high-end European labels, she made it known she was dressing to please her man. For some people, that would mean more Victoria’s Secret, but pleasing Kanye West these days means more monochromatic and structured looks, more Dries Van Noten. West tells me he hasn’t been masterminding Kardashian’s makeover to the degree that everyone assumes. “Nobody can tell my girl what to do,” he says. “She just needed to be given some platforms of information to work from.” Since virtually everything Kardashian wears is instantly broadcast around the globe, West adds, “one beautiful thing is that as she discovers it, the world discovers it.” This includes Kardashian’s inevitable stumbles. “For her to take that risk in front of the world, it just shows you how much she loves me. And how much she actually loves the opportunity to learn. You got, like, a million companies saying, ‘This is impacting your brand! This is impacting your fans! And blah blah blah.’ But she still sees this light of beauty.”
One night when I’m scheduled to meet West at his apartment around 10 p.m., I walk in to find some Kardashians in the house. Kim has just headed back to Los Angeles after one of her brief Paris visits, but her brother, Rob, is sprawled on West’s gigantic Living Divani sofa with his girlfriend, the English model Naza Jafarian. They both offer friendly handshakes, then return to their smartphones. Next, Kim’s mother, Kris Jenner, drops by and looks around the apartment, which she’s seeing for the first time. “This is amazing!” she says as West shows her some of his favorite objects, including a new set of ceramic cups by Frances Palmer. Jenner’s rapport with West evinces equal parts jokey affection and in-law awkwardness. He plays her some of his unfinished songs, including “Awesome,” which is clearly about Kim. When she exclaims, “Great job!” West doesn’t find it as flattering as Jenner evidently intended. He raises his eyebrows. “Great job?” he says and sets off on a comic riff that cracks up everyone in the room. Toasting with his champagne glass, he says, “Great job, Baccarat, for making a glass that can hold liquid!” He looks down at his waist. “Great job, belt loops, for keeping my pants up!” Jenner laughs off the mockery but soon is ready to leave. Hugging West goodbye, she tells him, “I love you. You know where to find us, at the George V. Call us tomorrow, if you want.” It seems apparent to everyone, including Jenner, that West will not call.
Much has been written about the celeb mega merger known as Kimye and about whether the match was made in heaven, or hell, or some unknown strange place. Undoubtedly, the West-Kardashian union further validates and indulges both stars’ unerring knack for making headlines. But given West’s current thirst for refined Euro cool, one might expect him to fall for some chicly cerebral French artist rather than a trash-TV queen who epitomizes the kind of branded mass culture he’s rebelling against. West dodges several of my questions about Kardashian and their future child. But when I ask him if he has any qualms about making appearances on shows like Keeping Up With the Kardashians, he says, “Oh, that’s just all for love. It’s simply that. At a certain point, or always, love is more important than any branding, or any set of cool people, or attempting to impress anyone. Because true love is just the way you feel.” Some intellectual ambivalence clearly remains, however. “Thoughts and feelings can disagree sometimes,” West says.
On W’s 2010 cover of a nude Kim Kardashian: “I loved the fact that it happened, that it disturbed people. I loved the fact that it put those curves right inside that Hamptons house, that there’s some Hamptons husbands who had to cover that up.”
On his decision to record in Paris…
“In Paris, you’re as far as possible from the land of pleasant smiles,” West says. “You can just trip on inspiration—there are so many people here who dedicate their lives to excellence.”
The song “I Am A God” was inspired by an incident during Paris Fashion Week last fall…
West was informed that he’d be invited to a widely anticipated runway show only on the condition that he agree not to attend any other shows. “So the next day I went to the studio with Daft Punk, and I wrote ‘I Am a God,’?” West says. “Cause it’s like, Yo! Nobody can tell me where I can and can’t go. Man, I’m the No. 1 living and breathing rock star. I am Axl Rose; I am Jim Morrison; I am Jimi Hendrix.” West is not smiling as he says this, and his voice is getting louder with each sentence. “You can’t say that you love music and then say that Kanye West can’t come to your show! To even think they could tell me where I could and couldn’t go is just ludicrous. It’s blasphemous—to rock ’n’ roll, and to music.”
Why he chose to title the song “I Am A God”…
“I made that song because I am a god,” he says finally. He laughs for a second, then stops. “I don’t think there’s much more explanation. I’m not going to sit here and defend shit. That shit is rock ’n’ roll, man. That shit is rap music. I am a god. Now what?”
He’s aware of his narcissism…
“On one end, I try to scale it back,” he says. “Because I don’t want to close any of the doors needed to create the best product possible. But my ego is my drug. My drug is, ‘I’m better than all you other motherfuckers. Kiss my ass!’?”
On almost releasing his own sex tape after it was on sale last fall to avoid being extorted…
“For the most part, I’d rather people have one of those home videos than some of the paparazzi photos that get published,” he says. “At least I recorded the shit myself. That tape couldn’t have hurt me in any way if it came out—it could only have helped.” He finally decided against releasing it, but don’t be surprised if he changes his mind. “Now, I just do exactly what I want, whenever I want, how the fuck I want,” West says. “ ‘Fuck you’ is my message.”
He’s not concerned with failure…
He’s planning his return to fashion and has set up an atelier in Milan, but right now, he says, his priority is “absorbing as much as possible” and finding the best people in every field to work with. The idea of failure seems to serve not as a deterrent but as a stimulus. Whenever he tries something new, West observes, “people say, ‘Why do you want to destroy your name?’ But I don’t care about my name as much as I care about my ideas. I could do something completely wrong, and people could hate it, but then someone else could see it and do it completely right. And it’s a push forward for civilization.”
On being rich: “I’m not a billionaire; I’m just a millionaire. But I’m the youngest guy I know who has this much interest in design and the ability to actually get some of it. So that makes me an important cog in the wheel.”
On design:“Furniture is my superobsession now. Furniture and pornography, still. The porn thing has never left since I was in high school.
On Watch the Throne, his 2011 collaboration with Jay-Z: “It was like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates talking at the same time. You know which one of us was Steve.”
On doing everything: “You know how they say, ‘Jack of all trades, master of none’? I want to be master of all. And not even to be a jack but a king. In fact, not even a king. An ace.”
On his new album, Yeezus: “This music is made to spark the visionaries to stand up for themselves and help the world. Because the world is fucked.”
On Christianity and Ralph Lauren: “I’m Christian in the same way that people have issues with certain elements of Christianity. It’s like if you go into a Ralph Lauren store, maybe that buyer didn’t do the exact buy that you want, but you still really like that brand.”
On being intimidated by celebrities: “Anyone who meets me for the first time and is not slightly nervous is completely full of shit. Because when I meet people I respect, I’m nervous. When I go have lunch with Tarantino at the Chateau Marmont, I’m nervous. It’s fucking Tarantino!”
On his intellect: “Visiting my mind is like visiting the Hermès factory. Shit is real. You’re not going to find a *****. It’s 100,000 percent Jimi Hendrix.”
On his imagination: “I live a pretty interesting life. But the life that I’m living is way less interesting than what I’m thinking.”
On the tattoo on his forearm of Madonna and Baby Jesus: “This is me and my mommy.”
On how seriously to take him: “You should only believe about 90 percent of what I say. As a matter of fact, don’t even believe anything that I’m saying at all. I could be completely fucking with you, and the world, the entire time.”
On his style don’ts: “Even the greatest tattoo artists in the world have a few bad tattoos. And that’s Kanye West. A few of my past outfits—questionable , you know? But I’m testing. I’m discovering who I am.”
On his rock-star status: “Instead of using it to date as many supermodels as possible or to be as much of an asshole at a restaurant as possible, I would rather use it to access great minds. To be able to go to Axel Vervoordt’s castle on the first day that I meet him.”
READ FULL INTERVIEW @ W
^i literally read this entire interview like this!!
could he not have shaded the fuck out kris jenner?
i love the fact kim has to deal with him for ever.
he already had her dressing like a fool last year.
i wish my wolf would tweet he just fucked me so hard LOL
shit if they even try to fuck him,
he is going to expose the PHUCK out their shenanigans.
definitely gonna be front row for that show.
i don’t care what anyone says:
i love this crazy little man.
the fact he has the kardashians on “bow down”…
he gets my support..