2016 has been a good year so far for Chicago-born musician Chancellor Bennett, also known as Chance the Rapper. In February, he featured on the opening track of one of the biggest albums of the year, “The Life of Pablo,” and three months later released his third mixtape, “Coloring Book.” The reception to both albums has been overwhelmingly positive (even the infamously critical online magazine Pitchfork gave the album an impressive rating) and many consider Chance’s surge in popularity well-deserved, given his creative lyrics, distinct musical style, and wholesome, positive message.
However, there is more to come for Chance this year, as he has been announced as an ambassador for a collaboration between Swedish clothing retailer H&M and luxury Parisian label Kenzo. A promotional video for the collaboration sees chance talking about a wide range of topics, including his passion for screenwriting, working with children, and parenthood. The most striking part of the shoot, though, is Chance’s outfit. Kenzo creative directors Humberto Leon and Carol Lim dressed the rapper up in matching pants and jacket with a bright green tiger stripe pattern, as well as a pair of rubber Chelsea boots with bright green soles. Chance also sports his signature ballcap emblazoned with the numeral “3,” which was worn earlier in the year to promote “Coloring Book,” known by the alternate name “Chance 3.”
Perhaps even more eye-catching than the outfit, both the video and promotional image, which were both shot by Jean-Paul Goude, feature one of Goude’s signature aesthetic tricks. The video cuts between headshots of the rapper and broken full-body shots in which Chance’s top and bottom halves do not align perfectly. The effect is easier to see in the still picture, in which a piece of film has been cut into strips, spaced out, and stuck together with bits of tape. The disjointed and colorful images extend Chance’s limbs almost comically, giving the campaign a lighthearted and playful feel.
The collaboration, though, should be taken seriously. Although no lookbooks or previews of the collection have surfaced yet, Kenzo is an incredibly established fashion house in its own right. Leon and Lim founded the wildly popular clothing store Opening Ceremony, which is known not only for its own dramatic and eye-catching designs but also for the impressive variety of luxury brands that it stocks. Collaborating with H&M will hopefully provide a bit of that world at a much lower price point, and with its high profile brand ambassadors the collection looks like it will appeal to a very wide audience.
What do you think of Chance’s outfit, or about the collaboration as a whole? Let’s hear it here or on Twitter @BillChangNY