Only for A$AP Rocky Is August Leather Kilt Season
Imagine, for a moment, that it’s December 2012. Upstart Harlem-born rapper A$AP Rocky has just released the lead single off his forthcoming debut album, Long Live A$AP, which sends shockwaves through the blogosphere in part because he’s wearing a pair of kilts, by Rick Owens and Hood by Air, in the music video. A week or so earlier, the artist then known as Kanye West made headlines for sporting his own Riccardo Tisci-designed Givenchy leather skirt during a benefit concert for Hurricane Sandy relief, though he’d already been wearing the same one during his and Jay-Z’s Watch The Throne tour throughout the year prior. On stage, Ye would sometimes pair his skirt with a Givenchy Rottweiler shirt—then, the graphic tee du jour; now, an impetus for fashion’s celebrity-led streetwear revolution.
Cut to August 2022—many years and many kilts later (including the Vivienne Westwood one he wore on the cover of GQ last summer), and Rocky’s taking the Givenchy leather skirt back out for a spin. Rocky, who recently welcomed a baby boy with his girlfriend/2013 “Fashion Killa” music video co-star Rihanna, stepped out in New York on Wednesday wearing Givenchy from head to toe, including a layered cropped logo sweatshirt that hung down the black knee-length skirt, which he accessorized with the brand’s platform G Clogs and Giv Cut sunglasses. Later on, he traded the skirt for a pair of drainpipe trousers to take his lady on a sweet 4 a.m. stroll around the city.
All told, Rocky’s contemporary Givenchy duds make for a very Long Live A$AP-era Rocky outfit—which may actually be by design. Ye and Rocky’s pioneering fashion statements of the 2010s laid the foundation for the French luxury house’s 2020 appointment of creative director Matthew Williams, who founded his influential, Ye-and-Rocky-approved streetwear brand 1017-ALYX-9SM in 2015. And though the cis-men-in-skirts discourse remains frustratingly static, the duo’s baggy dress-length tees, drop-crotch pants, and divisive skirts (ahem, kilts) made way for a much looser definition of menswear.
Speaking to GQ last year, A$AP said he started wearing skirts when he was still coming up in Harlem around 2011, which resulted in him getting “called the worst of the worst.” Clearly, he was undeterred: “The nails, the kilts, the pretty-boy swag, the pearls—I think it’s just being comfortable,” he said. “I just express myself with fashion, and what’s fly is fly. I do it on some punk shit.”
Ye, who hasn’t revisited skirts much since then, came to a similar conclusion in his self-written Paper cover story in 2015:
“When you sit down with Riccardo Tisci at the Louvre and he pitches the idea of you wearing a leather kilt, which could be considered by all of your gangbanging friends as some sort of a dress or skirt, at that point you are now a part of the fashion world,” Ye wrote. “You have paid your dues to be an insider. I paid my dues when I had to wear a kilt in Chicago, and friends would say, ‘What’s your boy got on?’ But there are warriors that have killed people in kilts in the past. Who gets to decide what’s hard and what’s not hard?”