Yesterday, I attended Celine’s SS14 Fashion Show wrapping party (that most medias have mistaken for the Givenchy wrap-up) at an undisclosed venue in Paris. Rumours were, obviously, that Kanye would show up as he always does when it comes to Phoebe Philo and her successful brand, but around 10pm, there still wasn’t any sign of him nor Kim, so I progressively lost hope and interest in the whole thing, to be absolutely honest.
When suddenly, out of nowhere, there he was, in the courtyard. He had indeed showed up, along with Kim and Juergen Teller, the notorious german photographer.
I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t really intrigued by him. See, the thing is, I had seen Kanye twice before in my life: Once in 2004, back when he had just released College Dropout and played live in front of about 200 people in a small venue in Paris, and a second time in 2013 in London for the WTT tour, where he successively filled the 20 000 seats of the O2 Arena three nights in a row. Surely a lot had happened in between, and as I had just read Complex’s Tale of Two Kanyes, I was curious to see if I could judge of the proportions myself.
So, Kanye was standing there, a few meters away from me, and what striked me straight away is how calm and serene he looked. He was smiling gently, talking with measure, but as the same time, quite frankly, looked uncomfortable with the crowd surrounding him, even in such an exclusive venue. At one point, our eyes met, and I was almost taken aback by something in his look that I like to identify as genuine curiosity toward his kind.
As a small crowd gathered and (as respectful as they were trying to appear) started whispering about him, I felt the absolute burden of his fame. It appeared to me that there wasn’t any place in the world where Kanye wasn’t spied on just like I was doing myself (maybe not as discreetly as I thought), apart maybe from the studio where he records his music. People started taking pictures with him, calling him, so I decided to go about my evening, feeling lucky enough to have been able to observe him outside of the usual media prism. I looked around to see if my girlfriend was still outside, and when I turned my head toward him again, he was looking at me.
Kim and Phoebe had just left him to go inside for a drink, and he was staring at me. Don’t get me wrong, he was basically looking around, and I happened to look back at the right moment,but just for a second, embarrassed, he started nodding uncomfortably, just like anyone left alone in a party would, really. I smiled, he smiled back. That’s when I naturally spoke to him, for about 15 seconds. It went like this :
Me : “Hey man, how are you doing ?”
Kanye : “Yeah, I’m good, thanks.”
Me : “What did you think of the show earlier, did you enjoy it ?”
K : “Yeah, you know it was good. As always. I’m here in Paris, I’m with Kim Kardashian.”
I smiled at him one last time, he then most likely realised that he was talking to a perfect stranger, and turned away. Our conversation was over. It was about 24 hours ago, and I would be lying if I said that I haven’t been thinking about it since then. I keep thinking back about the trap I put him in by acting perfectly normal in his presence, and the exact words he said.
"I’m with Kim Kardashian." These were his exact words !
Why did Kanye feel the need to tell me that? Surely, he knows that about every single person on this planet, let alone in the very small circle of people invited to this party, is aware of who he is, who Kim Kardashian is, and the status of their relationship. But he said this to me, and I remember it very well, with the exact same tone your best friend in high school announces you that he is finally dating the girl of his dreams, the prom queen. Kanye didn’t say he was with his “girlfriend”, nor did he say his “future wife”, not even “Kim”. He said “I’m with Kim Kardashian.”
I can’t help but think that in this very moment, he was simply proud. Not cocky, not showy, just proud, and genuinely in love.
If there is a Tale of Two Kanyes like Complex interestingly suggests, I think I had just been given the proof that the Chi-town kid hasn’t completely disappeared under “The biggest rockstar of all”. As he took off with Kim in his sport car a few minutes later, I kept thinking about what just happened. At a smaller scale, I think I had just witnessed the same process by which he constantly distances himself from the rest of the humanity in one statement and claims he is its honest voice in the next.
I am now more than ever convinced that Kanye is the perfect mix between an irreverent and unpredictable icon persuaded that he deserves more, and an insecure chicago rookie who can’t believe what he has already achieved.
And even though I still don’t know in which proportions, I feel like as long as both personalities co-exist, he will remain one of the most interesting, forward thinking, and authentic artist of our times.