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Kanye West holds a surprise Sunday Service during Paris Fashion Week

Kanye West presents Sunday Service in Paris
Kanye West’s Sunday Service choir made a surprise visit to Paris, performing Sunday just a few hours before the day’s fashion-week runway shows got under way.
(Adam Tschorn / Los Angeles Times)

The rumor started circulating through the fashion-show front rows here early Saturday morning. Kanye West would hold one of his “Sunday Service” gospel happenings at an undisclosed location in Paris the next morning.

Less than 24 hours later that spirited rumor had been transmogrified into flesh-and-blood reality as a the beige-clad Sunday Service choir of roughly 100 clustered around a piano at the Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord before an audience that numbered barely twice that and launched into a rousing hour-and-20-minute exercise in musical ministry that had the fashion-week faithful on their feet, singing and throwing the occasional Alleluia hands in the air.

Kanye West at Sunday Service
Kanye West, center, at the unexpected Paris installment of his gospel choir service on Sunday during Paris Fashion Week.
(Adam Tschorn / Los Angeles Times)

Consisting of a dozen and a half uplifting gospel songs, the service kicked off with “Jesus Is King” and ended with “Balm in Gilead.” It had the choir members swaying in unison, clapping their hands, snapping their fingers and encouraging the fashion flock to join them in their exuberant proclamations of faith.

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And a surprising number appeared to do so, even if the only way they indicated it was by standing up and putting their cellphones down for a brief minute. (That’s something that doesn’t happen even at the biggest of big fashion shows.)

Olivier Rousteing references his Bordelaise upbringing with equestrian motifs, luxe leather and a cadre of capes.

In the middle of all stood West himself, just off to the side of the piano, seemingly content to let the choir sing the message to those gathered in his name, smiling beatifically and occasionally glancing toward the theater balcony where his wife, Kim Kardashian West, was sitting.

Kardashian West and her sister Kourtney Kardashian were both clad in full, form-fitting latex looks that, if we’re not mistaken, were fresh from the Balmain fall and winter 2020 runway. Making that possibility more likely was the fact that Balmain’s creative director, Olivier Rousteing, a friend of Kardashian West, was seated at the left hand of the reality star through the service.

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Kim Kardashian West and Olivier Rousteing at Sunday Service
Kim Kardashian West with Balmain creative director Olivier Rousteing at Kanye West’s surprise Sunday service in Paris on Sunday.
(Adam Tschorn / Los Angeles Times)

What was noticeably absent — at least when compared with the Easter Sunday hilltop version at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival (the only other altar of Ye we’ve personally knelt at) — was an opportunity for service-goers to purchase “church merch” in the lobby.

That’s not to say attendees won’t have an opportunity to render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s since West’s surprise “Sunday Service” wasn’t the only last-minute addition to the Paris Fashion Week calendar.

Late Saturday afternoon, invitations began dropping in fashion editors’ inboxes announcing that West’s Yeezy collaboration with Adidas would be presenting its latest season on the second-to-last day of shows here.

Therefore, stay tuned for the other Roman sandal to drop.


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