The Kanye effect. You've probably heard of it: the interruption of anything/everything by Kayne West (remember the Taylor Swift incident?). This phenomenon seems very relevant to a brand we all love, Givenchy. Branding is an arduous process, and a delicate balance to maintain. Often it requires many decades and countless dollars to establish a brand's identity. Now don't get me wrong, I love Mercy (and the terrorist-chic styling in the video) and Love Lockdown just as much as everyone else, but let's be objective for a moment. Has the Kanye-driven awareness of Givenchy really helped the French design house?
Givenchy was founded in 1952. It's a relatively young luxury design house and a bit less recognizable than some other French luxury brands (Chanel, YSL, Dior, etc.) partially because it lacked strong RTW (and fragrances) prior to creative director Riccardo Tisci's arrival in 2005. However, the ultra-influential Olsens began carrying the Nightingale bag in 2007, making it an "it" bag and maybe the house's first truly must-have piece. This is where Kanye comes in. Since 2008, West has consistently worn Givenchy RTW and has been name-dropping Givenchy in his songs (among lines about angel dust, hoes, and Margiela). Then in 2011, Tisci partnered with West and Jay-Z for their album artwork (and the wardrobe for their subsequent tour).
Kanye is on top of his music game, and he's a strong trendsetter. The result: an increased demand for Givenchy. Fact. However, to be specific, the result is the utmost exposure of what feels like Givenchy streetwear. Countless articles are dedicated to rappers, athletes, bloggers, and industry insiders who love Givenchy ... Givenchy-printed tees and sweatshirts, that is. Givenchy is arguably more popular than ever but what effect will this new-found fame have on a brand that is still trying to position itself as a luxury design house on the level of the masters (Chanel, Lanvin, Dior, etc.)? Further, is this new focus on streetwear (which arguably may have been best utilized in a diffusion collection) ultimately over-shadowing Tisci's true genius: his otherworldly couture, and if so, does it matter?