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Kanye West for Louis Vuitton

“The voice of this generation” talks shoes, blogs and fashion with Dazed Digital.

For A/W 09, Louis Vuitton Homme’s creative director, Paul Helbers took “the travelling wardrobe of an African King” as the initial seed of inspiration; which gave way to a masterful mix of technological innovation, ultra luxurious fabrics (a mink  scarf and a stunning alligator coat) and of course, luggage in ever more desirable variations on the Damier check. While these luxe clothes for the modern dandy on the go might seem slightly anachronistic in recession riddled times, what did help inject some youthful kick into the collection were the tomato red trainers designed by none other than Kanye West in his first collaboration with Louis Vuitton.

In addition to being, in his own words, “the greatest entertainer of our generation” Kanye’s love of fashion is well documented. A frequent front row presence at Fashion Week, he designs his own line, Pastelle (with rumours of a womenswear line in the works) has an upcoming jewellery collaboration with Takashi Murakami and made news when he announced plans to do an internship at Raf Simons or Louis Vuitton. He also takes to his blog to rave about the designers he’s passionate about (in addition to Vuitton and Raf, he’s given shout outs to Patrik Ervell, Band of Outsiders and Margiela)

Dazed Digital got to check out the trainers (in 4 monochromatic colourways) up close and grab Kanye for a chat after the show.

Dazed Digital: What was the inspiration behind the sneakers you’ve designed for Louis Vuitton?
Kanye West: They’ve got a sci-fi influence with this flap up at the back. It came from a scene in ‘Dune’ where there was this jacket with a huge collar. Also Japanese pop art.

DD: What did you think when you saw them on the runway?
KW: I thought they really rocked. They kinda just ripped the runway open didn’t it? As soon as they put that red, it was killer! It’s like an accessory that can express your personality. Like an instant tattoo!

DD: Why shoes?
KW: They’re a great entry point into a luxury brand. For people who can’t afford to buy $2000 trousers, they can take these shoes and mix it with jeans from another brand.

DD: How did the collaboration with Louis Vuitton come about? Did you contact them?
KW: They chose to contact me. Who wouldn’t want to work with Louis Vuitton? They’re the number one luxury brand. It lets people know you like nice things.

DD: Where did your obsession with fashion come from as a kid?
KW: I don’t know. I just love clothes. I picked out my own clothes when I first went to kindergarten and there’s no turning back since. And I’ve always been into clothes and I’ve always been into myself. And none of that’s changed since I’ve become a celebrity. It’s just allowed me to be more into myself and more into clothes!

DD: What are your aspirations as a designer?
KW: I wanna be the type of designer that inspires people, not follow other ideas. I wanna be as innovative as Marc Jacobs has been. I wanna go from being a fashion plate to being an innovator. This collaboration is a dream come true. Everybody comes to these shows has a love of fashion, but then it’s just figuring out what’s your place in it. I’m a walking billboard but to be able to now create something from scratch is amazing.

DD: Can we talk a bit about your blog for a minute because it is INSANE and we love it. Is it a way for you to break down the barriers between yourself and your fans?
KW: It gives me the opportunity to do a lot of things. Blogs are great for everybody to express, “This is what I’m into. This is what my taste level is. This is the stuff that inspires me.” And then now instead of stuff I send through my email, I’ll send through my blog. Sometimes if I’m looking for an appartment, I’ll send stuff out and look through my own blog. It’s stuff I’m into. Like when I put the girl’s section up (“Where are you Yeezy?” section which features scantily clad girls all saying the aforementioned) It’s all different girls I’m into. I like model girls, edgy girls, fashion girls and outright porn girls too!

DD: You’ve given Dazed Digital some love in the past. What other blogs do you check on a regular basis?
KW: What’s really cool about my blog is I give credit to the blogs so you can click and go to the blog. So like Selectism, High Snobiety, Hypebeast, Bossip, Perez.

DD: What other shows are you looking forward to seeing this week?
KW: Raf, my good friend, Raf. And Dunhill, Kim Jones.

Images of Louis Vuitton x Kanye West trainers from Kanye West Blog. Backstage photography by Giovvani di Nunzio.

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Film of Louis Vuitton A/W 09 menswear show by Pierre Debusschere can be seen here.