The last time Kendrick Lamar pledged his allegiance to any one designer was when he performed alongside an all-Black marching band at the Louis Vuitton menswear show in June. So, that he should dedicate his entire Instagram page to a singular post about Martine Rose is doing nothing to quell the rumours of a certain London-based designer moving to a certain Paris-based fashion house. “Bucketlist to work with martine rose she camera shy but gangsta say hello to my young,” he wrote to his 12 million followers, alongside a photo of Rose peace-signing into the camera.
Having worked with the rapper on a slew of looks for his Big Steppers tour, the collaboration compounds a series of q major link-ups that the designer seems to be getting out of her way should she, I don’t know, suddenly have to take on a new job – among them a Tommy Jeans collection and her announcement as the next guest at Pitti Uomo. With archival images of the Compton Cowboys and TuPac plastered across a mood board, Lamar’s Instagram carousel features sketches of leather vests with skew-whiff closures, Martine Rose’s trademark oversized hoodies, and a pair of leather jeans festooned in buckles.
It’s an unlikely marriage: Rose is known for putting street-cast models in lopsided tracksuits and wonky football shirts, which is at aesthetic odds with the kind of sleek, Craig Green outwear beloved by Lamar on his 2018 tour. But when the rapper took to the O2 last week, it quickly became clear that his audience was cut from the same Martine Rose cloth. Much to the confusion of anyone who is not from the UK, they all chanted, football-style, “Kendrick’s in a box / in a box / Kendrick’s in a box,” when the rapper emerged on stage in a massive, perspex box. As fun as that may have been, the whole thing seems like a missed opportunity to put Lamar in a pair of chaps (or perhaps a denim jock-strap)... because that really would’ve given his fans something to croon about.
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