“What are those? These are clothes,” once mused North West, eldest daughter of Kim Kardashian and the artist formerly known as Kanye West, inadvertently offering something of a mantra for the fashion-minded Kardashian West brood. Wherever they go, there are clothes.
While in Paris for Couture Fashion Week, nine-year-old North and her mom made a stop at a Balenciaga store, both dressed accordingly in wares from the French house. However, North’s cobalt blue varsity jacket that had real Ye heads exclaiming, What are those! This particular garment hails from her dad’s defunct mid-aughts clothing imprint Pastelle, renowned among streetwear fans. Indeed, given that the jacket looks a few sizes too big on North, it could very well be the same one Ye wore to the American Music Awards nearly 15 years ago.
Before Yeezy and his collaborations with Adidas, Gap, and Balenciaga, there was Pastelle, which was Ye’s first real foray into the fashion world, when he announced it in 2008. The brand—whose creative team at times included frequent Ye collaborators Ian Connors and the late Virgil Abloh, jeweler to the stars Ben Baller, artist KAWS, and Dior’s Kim Jones—only really produced this particular varsity jacket before dissolving, propelling it to grail status. (A medium-sized Pastelle jacket sold for $10,000 on Justin Reed’s high-end consignment estore earlier this year.)
“The jacket’s design is extremely emblematic of the time it was made,” GQ’s Jake Woolf wrote, looking back at it in 2017. “These days Kanye is all about sweatpants and military-inspired outerwear, but in 2008, he was obsessed with the graphics and color explosion led by labels like Bape, Supreme, and Nike SB. Everywhere you looked there were Skittles-looking sneakers and camo/neon orange/red hoodies to buy—and West’s take on the genre meant pieces like graphic tees, tiger-print hoodies, and this color-blocked varsity jacket with Jurassic Park-esque patch lettering and red leather inserts at the shoulders. You could say it’s too much, but you’re damn sure not going to overlook it.” A year later in 2009, Ye would link up with Nike to mint the Nike Air Yeezy 1s, and the rest is history.
But here in 2022, North paired the jacket with a pair of Balenciaga’s massive platform Crocs, an offspring of her dad’s beloved BalenciCroc boots, and a teensy matching handbag. (Keep in mind, Kim and Ye are both emissaries for the brand.) A little old Kanye, a little new Kanye.