I was supposed to be listening to Kanye West's latest single, featuring Jay-Z, "H.A.M". (The letters are an acronym for "Hard As a Motherf*cker." In case one was wondering.)
I was distracted by the album cover...
There was something familiar about the ornate, dark, goth, yet undeniably lush graphics of the singles' cover.
Is that Givenchy?
Well, not exactly! But it was the handiwork of the luxury label's creative director, Riccardo Tisci.
Turns out that Kanye West wasn't just busy stunting on the front row of fashion shows from New York to Milan. He was equally busy building relationships backstage. Tisci has become a close friend of the rapper, leading to this collaboration.
His creation features barking rottweilers interspersed with (what I'm sure are) platinum, jeweled crowns with a velvet lining -- all within a cozy chain link-like border.
And as luck would have it, this isn't the first time rappers and high end designers have made strange -- yet creatively compatible -- bedfellows. Herewith a concise -- if not brief -- gallery of rapper designed luxury goods...
Williams is a staunch fan of Vuitton, so much so that he collaborated with the brand in 2008 on the Blason Collection. Co-designed with Camille Micelli, the lux collection featured everything from cherub rings to jeweled pendants.
A ring, part of the Louis Vuitton Blason collection, designed by Williams and Camille Micelli.
These Kanye West designed Louis Vuitton sneakers debuted in 2009. The cost? Between $840 to $1140. Playing basketball in these? Priceless!
The hip-hop icon is also an avid watch collector. He partnered with the equally iconic luxury watch brand to create a limited edition collection in 2005. The watches run from $24,000 to $100,000. Time is money indeed.
Zandile Blay is Fashion Editor for ESSENCE Magazine and a contributor to Fashionista.com.
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