It was a throwaway line, meant to add nothing more than a shade of personality and a tinge of local colour – the merest of peeks, if you will, behind the Kardashian-West curtain, the briefest taste of how it might feel when tempers inevitably fray to reveal those few loose threads, which otherwise bind together the most sumptuous drapery in all of music and fashion.
Every couple argues: every couple is constantly engaged in the process of pulling at threads, sewing new ones, or simply gluing damaged ends back together. That’s what it means to be in a relationship. The line was but one example of the type of trick Kanye West has conjured many times over: memorable sure, and enunciated with purpose, but it was never supposed to lead to the trendiest pilgrimage in all of hip-hop.
Yet one year on from The Life of Pablo, the Giuseppe store brought vividly to life on the song ‘FML’ still finds itself inundated. Of course the track, which arrives midway through the record, does not cite one specific location. Addressing the subject of his passing ire, Kanye warns ‘You ain’t finna be raising your voice at me / Especially when we in the Giuseppe store’.
The reference is to the Italian shoemaker Giuseppe Zanotti, who after opening his first boutique in Milan in 2000 now boasts one in each of the world’s numerous fashion capitals, from Paris, London, and New York to Moscow, Dubai, and Tokyo.
He has designed shoes for brands such as Dior, Missoni, Valentino, and Roberto Cavalli, while he and Kanye have collaborated on several items, including the aptly named ‘Mrs. West’, which was inspired by Kim Kardashian and released as part of a ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll’ line to celebrate the brand’s twentieth anniversary.
Intrepid Kanye fans and equally dauntless travellers have sought out shop fronts across the globe, taking pictures, playing records, and attempting to trace the famous couple’s movements courtesy of paparazzi photographs and episodes of Keeping Up with the Kardashians. But the most popular location has inevitably been the Giuseppe store in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles.
Already a popular spot on the tourist trail for nascent fashionistas, now the store has becoming something of a holy site for culture freaks, hip-hop heads, and aspiring rappers. They cluster outside the gleaming windows or take tentative steps inside before summoning all of their boldness, acting out lines and scenes from TLOP with raised voices and embracing the ensuing embarrassment.
One particularly fervent fan from somewhere in Florence, little more than a stone’s throw from Giuseppe outlets in Rome and Venice, even sold his home and quit his job in order to fly to Giuseppe Zanotti Design at the Beverly Center. He admits now that he completely fucked his life up in the process, but after all, that too is a feeling. What more could one ask from great music?