Dropping out of art college, CeCe watches as Star, her beloved sister, distances herself to follow her new love, leaving her completely alone. In desperation, she decides to flee England and discover her past; the only clues she has are a black-and-white photograph and the name of a woman pioneer who lived in Australia over one hundred years ago. Her decision alters her future irrevocably when Chilly, an ancient gipsy who has lived for years on the estate, tells her that not only does she possess a sixth sense, passed down from her ancestors, but it was foretold long ago that he would be the one to send her back home to Granada in Spain Time to read.
Her Seven Sisters series is inspired by the Greek myth of the Pleiades, the seven daughters of Atlas and Pleione, who were said to have been turned into the star constellation of the same name. Settling into an armchair opposite me, he surveys his interviewer closely. His Yeezy shoe line, which he launched with Nike in and then brought to Adidas in , has the year-old Jordan empire in its sights, in terms of both cultural clout and commercial prowess. As with the floor and the booties and the book positions, West fixates over sneaker details; he idolizes Steve Jobs, preferring a limited, carefully chosen number of products with an endless array of colorways.
The obsessiveness is unrelenting. Urged to return the next day to try again, West obliged—wearing the same hoodie. Born in Atlanta and raised in Chicago, he often got in trouble as a middle schooler for sketching sneakers in class. When West launched as a solo artist two and a half years later, he designed something genre-bending, his early work peppered with Marvin Gaye and Daft Punk samples; West recorded with Coldplay and toured with U2. In contrast to the snarling materialism put forth by the dominant rappers of the day, West presented a more vulnerable sort of protagonist, with three albums featuring higher-education themes.
Gone were tales of drug dealing and street skirmishes; in their place were reflections on dental surgery, racial injustice and working at the Gap, punctuated by a witty swagger. His fame gave him a chance to return to his first love: sneakers.
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In , he created a shoe for the Japanese apparel company A Bathing Ape, complete with a teddy bear logo that appeared on some of his early covers. It was a start, and he cultivated a cadre of fashion-industry friends like Hedi Slimane, who has served as creative director at Dior Homme and Yves Saint Laurent.
That sort of encouragement gave West the confidence to whip out a notepad when he found himself on a plane with Nike CEO Mark Parker shortly thereafter. West says Parker put him in the room with Air Jordan designer Tinker Hatfield, and by mid, West was rocking prototypes of his own Air Yeezy high-top onstage, with the genuine article arriving in Hip-hop has connected with footwear almost since the genre was born, from Run-D.
West was the first to do it at Nike on the level of an NBA superstar. Then came the bizarre. The year ended with West hospitalized after the tour cancelation. His first appearance after? His career, however, has proved antic-proof. And he has channeled his intensity profitably, particularly when it comes to sneakers.
As sales blossomed at Nike, particularly after the Air Yeezy II release in , West felt that the company was treating him like just another celebrity dabbler. West, however, had always insisted on maintaining ownership of his brand. The next year he leveraged his new album to create a launch party for both sneakers and song, at a sold-out Madison Square Garden. His biggest breakthrough: the The partnership works both ways. He sat down and drafted a new logo before personally redesigning the packaging. I would throw my name on anything.
He can laugh at himself a little now.
Just after midnight he ushers me into his Lamborghini for an impromptu visit, barreling back down the road with Bach blasting on the sound system. After about 15 minutes, we arrive at a bungalow in the woods.
A team of four is still clattering away on Apple laptops inside, ahead of a meeting the following morning in San Francisco with potential investors. Around them, the walls are plastered with written notes and sketches. West peers over the shoulders of his charges, instructing them to change a font here or brighten a picture there. After a half hour or so, West appears satisfied with the state of the presentation and motions me toward a back door.
We stroll out into the chilly, starless night, and I follow him up a dirt path deeper into the woods for several minutes until he stops at a clearing and looks up, wordless. There, with the hazy heft of something enormous and far away, stand a trio of structures that look like the skeletons of wooden spaceships.
He tells me they could be used as living spaces for the homeless, perhaps sunk into the ground with light filtering in through the top. We stand there in silence for several minutes considering the structures before walking back down to his lurking Lamborghini and zooming off into the night. Independent Premium Comments can be posted by members of our membership scheme, Independent Premium. It allows our most engaged readers to debate the big issues, share their own experiences, discuss real-world solutions, and more.
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