After seemingly being everywhere during Paris Fashion Week, Kanye West found some time to squeeze in an interview with French website Clique. Whether Kanye is speaking with us or giving a talk at Oxford, the rapper has been doling out what he proclaimed as the "best, illest quotes." Yeezus' interview with Clique did not disappoint, as the rapper-producer-fashion designer talked about his collaboration with A.P.C., and was joined by the designer Jean Touitou.
The interviewer suggests that the designer and Kanye should do another collaboration. Touitou responds, "Yeah, we should," and Kanye adds, "I always ask him."
Here's the rest of the style-related quotables from the interview.
On A.P.C. versus Saint Laurent:
"When I visited the A.P.C. store a block and a half from my home on Mercer and Houston, I looked at the way it was merchandised and I thought, this is the merchandising of the future, because you go to Ralph Lauren, who I fully respect, but it feels a bit too tight— the clothes—for them to breathe. I think it is the same with the Saint Laurent store, it is merchandised extremely well, but we know it is a complete rip-off of A.P.C. It is a rip-off of Jean’s merchandising, which I always felt was very futuristic, in a way. One of the first keys to what is going to happen is rue Saint-Honoré being a giant A.P.C. store. As simple and easy as it is to understand and how simple it is to see what is that you want, the shopping experience, every one of these shopping experiences is so different. Especially when I was young I was really scared to walk into luxury stores. It is very not inviting. It is very expensive. If you are not knowledgeable you can make a very expensive mistake. It is bordering on getting a prostitute pregnant or something like that, an expensive mistake like that, when you buy a jacket."
On a future A.P.C. collaboration, Touitou says:
We will do it. I am creating a new brand so it takes time and energy, but we can start to work on something because I think it goes well. I really like when he comes here because he feels at home. He is actually very frustrated during this interview because there is casting right now and fittings and I am sure he wants to be a part of it.
On what he learned from the A.P.C. collaboration:
"I learned so much about research. He allowed me to go to his A.P.C. archives and I learned about the process of bold decision-making and the importance of that in design, and schedules and timelines. Now I can make decisions way better."
On the idea of high-art versus low-art:
"I think the thought was that everything popular was very basic and not complex. And there's a negative connotation of commercial, as soon as your commercial you don’t have complexity of a Bach, Mozart, or Basquiat. And if you say out loud that you’re in the same breath as Basquiat, they look at you as an egomaniac. But then wait a second, I was a gifted artist since age 5 and in national competitions, and went to art school and am actually getting an honorary doctorate on May 5 from the Art Institute of Chicago. So, it was a great wall to break down, but also what’s fun about playing in the pop field versus playing in the art field is that you get a lot of exposure and the majority of the pop artists don’t have the same responsibility to the sensibility so it’s always easy to slam dunk them."
On the importance of proportions:
"In school’s moving forward, beauty needs to be understood. Of course, we can learn about Picasso, but we need to learn about proportion. Proportion is the luxury. Everything is inside of proportions. Proportions are so important that in ancient times they would hide the information of proportions and now it’s happening again. Picture a Gucci jacket, just a guy’s Gucci jacket, he doesn’t have proper proportions in my opinion. And you think about all the artists: Dürer, Da Vinci, everyone studied these proportions, and there can be proportions of sound as there are visual."
On his design ideas:
"I totally don’t care about what anyone in fashion has to say about what I want to do. I'm here in fashion to learn sensibility. I want to create something comparable to what Walt Disney did, but then mix it with what Henry Ford did and mix it with what Howard Hughes did, and mix it with what David Stern did. The way I'm talking about these industries and cultural revolutions and innovations is in a way what Steve put into a phone. It's possible, to approach everything in a tech way. We respect what happened in the past, but we can make it better. We can vortex, we can zoom into the future, we can think smarter, read faster. This is what Ray Kurzweil told me on the phone, so I'm just quoting him about thinking smarter and reading faster, principles of singularity and all that. But I want to mix all these things so when you go and see a surround vision film I've done, when you exit through my gift shop with a character on a T-shirt, no knock I'm just gonnna say literally what it is, a T-shirt with Lian Fong with a picture of a character in the movie. My concept is when you exit our gift shop you get a T-shirt that has a proportion that reminds you of the character in the movie. A color palette, a fabrication, it's more of a singular concept."
Kanye on why he wanted to go into fashion:
"Well, Walt Disney, due to his success and what he did with films, decided to start selling T-shirts. They went and got, I don’t know the exact the exact story, but lets just say this is the story: they went and got a licensing deal, said let's put our logo on some T-shirts. It was simple as that, and now you have Mickey Mouse T-shirts, right? My take is, let me go to Paris and get my ass kicked for 15 years and learn how to make clothes for real. Then, let me sell a T-shirt with that level of knowledge. You know, I don’t want to sell anything I'm not extremely knowledgeable about. If I go into beauty, it's going to take some years before it goes. It can't happen in six months. It's going to be a year, a year-and-a-half before the product comes out, because I have to have so many 'nos' I have to learn about it. And this is me working with experts. I just don’t rush products based off my name. The product has to be something I can stand behind. It has to be a contribution to society. So much waste has been made, we need to focus on what is good, eliminate the bad."
On using the confederate flag during the Yeezus tour:
I’m on a similar mission of breaking down... this imagery. Like, if you think about the Yeezus tour, I used the confederate flag much like the punk movement would use that German symbol, I don’t even want to even speak on it, and flip it upside down or put a cross on it and stuff. But me, I took the confederate flag and I just wore it on my arm, like, now what? What if I, as a black guy, take this thing that’s used to be racist against me, and now what? Now what?
Jean Touitou on the symbolism of using fox fur in A.P.C. collaboration:
"I think it was a good symbol of the collaboration because he had the intuition of the fox and that the luxury stuff could be mixed-up with the military stuff. I think where he was good was to bring that strong intuition and where we were good at basically was to come up with the volume and the fabric. That was strange for us because it was a pricey piece, even if people found it cheap, because in some other big houses that piece would be 4000-something. It was pretty reasonable and that flew right away, before the t-shirt actually. That was a good symbol of what we can achieve together. I am sure we are a good duo for fashion."
Jean Touitou on creating an inspiration rack for the first collaborative collection:
"When we prepared the first rack of inspiration for him for the first collaboration, we added a leopard print. He did not like that we proposed it to him, because it was too obvious. Like, ‘I am the hip-hop guy, so you are proposing me leopard skin.’ I mean it is in everyday life of fashion to have that kind of print. There is actually a sentence in Italian, which means when business is done take some animal print on the market and that goes better. It is like if you have a sexy woman for a magazine, that is what they do in the winter in a men’s magazine, they put a sexy woman in it and the sales go up."