After the first physical release and successful collaboration with Yeezy Gap Engineered by Balenciaga, Demna and Kanye West‘s signature four-handed work may already be over.
Revealing this was Balenciaga’s designer within an extensive article published by The New York Times in which Gvasalia himself recounts the genesis, and the end, of the project. “Ye called me in March 2021 telling me he was working on this project, and it was his dream for me to work together with him on it” Demna told the Times. “He said this is what he needs there: to bring this know-how to the brand, bring the structure; fittings, atelier, patternmaker. The way they were doing things was more trying them on and styling rather than constructing.“
Despite being busy with Balenciaga’s collections, Demna nonetheless decided to help Kanye West with his project, starting a collaboration that from Los Angeles, headquarters of the Yeezy Gap team, has made its way to Paris and Zurich, home of Balenciaga’s studios where the capsule garments were designed. However, what has been seen so far, consist of hoodies, tees, anoraks, and other items. This is only the first part of the collection, more items will be available later this year, including a pair of boots in full Balenciaga style. According to Demna, however, his part in this project is over, while Yeezy and Gap are already working on a new partnership that could go on to create a new “engineered by” between now and the next few years.
“Ye’s not really interested in fashion at all, Demna said. He wants to know: “How can we make a new version of the hoodie? What’s next? What do we want to wear in 20 years?” An approach that to date seems to have been successful, but not enough to contribute to a Gap relaunch. “The Yeezy line was never going to be big enough to change Gap’s fortunes” explained Simeon Siegel, retail analyst at BMO Capital Markets. “It needed to be impressive enough to elevate the rest of the brand, and clearly it didn’t.” However, the in-store landing of the collection, previously confined to an online pre-order that in some cases took up to three months to complete, may have marked the beginning of a turnaround in the project, bringing a new generation of shoppers to actively interact with Gap.