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U.S. ambassador

Times Staff Writer

ON DAY 1 of Paris Fashion Week, Grammy-winning rapper Kanye West was kicking it in the front row at Louis Vuitton, kitted out in a teal T-shirt, khakis and a denim jacket accessorized with a Michael Jackson button and a chunky red Lego heart. What appeared to be a silk LV scarf billowed from his back pocket.

On Day 2, West was wading through the human stew outside Kris Van Assche and Junya Watanabe in a gray notch lapel blazer and red pocket square. On Day 3, the look was brown leather with a crisp black detachable hood and slim-fitting gray dress shirt buttoned up to the chin and a pair of spotless white Vans lace-ups.

West was a front-row fixture throughout the week, popping up at almost a dozen shows, and queuing up with the hoi polloi, instead of scurrying in and out Anna Wintour-style, amid a scrum of security guards.

Of course, each day West made a sartorial statement of his own. But none as strong as on Day 4, when he turned out to the Dior Homme show in a zip-front hoodie with shoulder patches and a red-, yellow- and pink-striped hood topped with a shark fin. The hoodie -- and as it turned out, many of the pieces he wore during the week -- were from his own, long-awaited clothing collection, called Pastelle. And we’d been witness to a kind of show within a show.

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“I like the experience of it -- it’s like a festival,” he said of the Fashion Week scrum, during a particularly lemming-like shuffle in which this reporter found himself suddenly vest to West outside the Lanvin show. “Everybody out here fell in love with clothes at some point in their life. . . . I’m soaking in every bit of information that I can.”

Which can only mean one thing: It can’t be too long before West ends up taking a bow in front of a Fashion Week crowd instead of being just another face in it.


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