Bianca Censori: Fashion Victim or PR Mastermind?

Photo Illustration by Luis G. Rendon/The Daily Beast/Getty Images
Photo Illustration by Luis G. Rendon/The Daily Beast/Getty Images

During a recent trip to her native Melbourne, Bianca Censori, Kanye West’s wife of two years, wore a sweater dress to dine out with her parents, according to a source quoted by Page Six. For any other celebrity, such a humdrum detail would hardly justify being repeated so breathlessly. But Censori is an exception.

Ever since being romantically linked with West, the 29-year-old architect has become synonymous with nearly-nude garments: completely sheer dresses, lingerie as evening wear, bodysuits sans undergarments, and even props used to cover herself are all part of Censori’s personal style lexicon.

It was therefore jarring, the Post’s source said, to see Censori dressed like a civilian: “It was very obvious to us that she was acting like she was off the clock from a job.”

In her pre-Kanye days, per her deleted Instagram, Censori’s style was still provocative, but more conventional: her matching crop top and skirt sets and leopard-print bikinis would fit right in at Coachella. In contrast, the many, many extremely revealing and monochrome outfits Censori has worn alongside West evoke Eve covering herself with a fig leaf in a minimalist, upside-down Garden of Eden.

Kaney West and Bianca Censori sit at a fashion week show.

Kanye West and Bianca Censori attend Milan 2024 Fashion Week.

Alessandro Levati/Getty Images

Some of her looks have been called blatantly outrageous and even humiliating. Onlookers were scandalized, for instance, by the nipple-baring crop top she wore to sightsee with West in Florence last year. Photographs of Censori drew the full spectrum of harsh criticism, from Italian locals calling her “classless” to other naysayers chiding the couple for dressing so brazenly in a “conservative Catholic nation.

Amanda Sanders, a celebrity stylist whose past clients include Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle, told The Daily Beast she’s emphatically not a fan of Censori’s wardrobe.

“It’s grossly inappropriate,” Sanders said. “I mean, there are no clothes, and that’s the joke of it. I think in the beginning, it was for shock value. Now she just looks silly.”

Earlier this year, when West posted a video on Instagram of Censori wearing nothing but a minuscule scrap of fabric, commentators on X opined that she is “lost” and in need of rescuing. Indeed, speculation that Censori must be a victim of West’s manipulation—dressing so provocatively because she is being abused and coerced—is persistent.

“We need to save Bianca Censori,” one viral X post from March reads. “People will argue that she has chosen this lifestyle, but why would any woman choose to go out in public like this without coercion or force? I doubt she is of sound mind when these stunts are pulled.”

“Listen, I don’t know if [West] directs” Censori to dress the way she does, Sanders said. “She’s clearly a willing participant in the sense that I don’t think she's browbeaten into doing this, and she has a great body.

“But I think it’s another way for Kanye to get attention,” Sanders continued. “Everybody has written him off as being nuts. And so this is sort of an extension of his persona. It’s like, ‘I can’t do anything that’s more interesting than saying horrible things about Jewish people, so I’m just going to have my wife prance around half-naked.’”

West’s recent displays of bigotry certainly factor into any informed assessments of Censori’s public image. In 2022, he made a series of antisemitic remarks and pro-Hitler statements that kicked off a drastic downward spiral, and the former Yeezy mogul has since been all but excommunicated from the fashion world.

He’s also been hit with various lawsuits in the past year, one of which alleges that he told students at his secretive Christian private school Donda Academy that he wanted to jail them and shave their heads. Just this week, West’s former executive assistant sued him for wrongful termination and sexual harassment, alleging that he would masturbate during phone calls and send her inappropriate texts.

Then there’s West’s documented history of taking an active, possibly even controlling, role in dressing the women in his life. Kim Kardashian, who was in a relationship with West from 2014 to 2021, has made it clear that her ex-husband dictated what she wore.

“I always thought I had really good style—until I met my husband and he told me that I had the worst style,” Kardashian said in 2018. “He was really nice about it and cleaned out my whole closet.”

“When he was still fairly new to the relationship, he was like, ‘Can I give you a fashion makeover?’ I was open: Sure! Dress me up!” Kardashian told Vogue the following year. “He took me to a Lakers game… and a team of stylists came to my house, and when we came home, there were shoes piled up almost to the ceiling that they had taken out of my closet. I only had two pairs left! I almost started to cry. I spent years collecting those.”

Julia Fox, who had a short but highly publicized fling with West following his split from Kardashian, was given similar treatment. “After dinner Ye had a surprise for me,” Fox wrote for Interview in 2022. “I mean, I’m still in shock. Ye had an entire hotel suite full of clothes. I was so surprised. Like, who does things like this on a second date?”

Julia Fox Reveals New Details About Kanye Relationship

Censori, meanwhile, has previously claimed a keen eye toward style. In 2016, she reportedly told i-D that she had started her own jewelry business when she was in high school. And in a 2021 interview with Hypebeast, Censori explained her interest in architecture: “As a child I was consistently drawn to creative endeavors, mostly artistic. I always wanted to be a sculptor and to me, architecture is the union of art and pragmatics. It is the grandest artistic gesture that we can place onto the earth. I was drawn to it, purely, as a shift in artistic scale.”

But Censori has given no such personal interviews recently, leaving others to fill in the blanks. In March, Page Six quoted a source in the fashion industry who insisted that the relationship between Censori and West is not manipulative.

Kanye West and Bianca Censori walk in Los Angeles

Kanye West and Bianca Censori out walking on May 13, 2023, in Los Angeles, California.

Rachpoot/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

“People are confusing Bianca’s creativity,” the source was quoted as saying. “She is a phenomenal personality, a phenomenal actor, who can entertain the public. She’s a performance artist. Bianca is as much a performer as Ye is.”

Susan Scafidi, the founder and director of Fordam’s Fashion Law Institute, had a similar theory.

“Ye is a performer, and as is common today, his most enduring creation is his own persona. My impression is that Bianca is a performer playing a role as well, using her body as a canvas,” Scafidi told The Daily Beast.

“Lately [West] is the frame to her picture, but I don’t think that necessarily implies control over her,” Scafidi said. “The coordinating outfits, however tiny on her part, can just as easily be read as her public persona or as an artistic collaboration.”

She added, “Given that Ye’s ex [Kardashian] has a hugely successful shapewear line, Skims, there may also be an element of competitive showmanship involved.”

Sanders, meanwhile, doesn’t buy into the Censori-Kardashian comparison.

“Kim never bore herself like that,” she told The Daily Beast. Compared to Kardashian, an uber-chic billionaire, Censori isn’t as “glamorous,” Sanders said. “She’s not bejeweled. She’s not carrying a designer bag.”

Sometimes, Censori even goes barefoot; in April, she strolled totally shoeless through Disneyland with West.

“The fact that people even consider this fashion or fashionable… it’s the anti, it’s the anti of fashion,” Sanders said. “It’s saying ‘F you’ to the world.”

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