Kanye West & Bianca Censori: Where Is The Line Between Styling and Control?

In 2021, Kim was awarded ‘Fashion Icon’ at the People’s Choice Awards. She noted in her speech, “Thank you to Kanye for really introducing me to the fashion world.”

While we don’t know the nature of Ye and Bianca’s styling arrangement (GLAMOUR has reached out to both for comment), it’s important to note that a partner dictating what you wear can be a red flag for coercive control, a form of domestic abuse.

Women’s Aid, a federation of domestic abuse services provider in the UK, tells GLAMOUR, “From the colour of the lipstick you wear, to the clothes on your back and what you think, say and do, living with a controlling partner means that your decisions are not always your own.”

Melanie Brown, AKA Mel B, has spoken about her experience with coercive control. In a 2021 interview with The Guardian, she explained how the abuse changed the way she dressed. “It starts with tiny things [like] ‘Oh, don’t wear that dress – I’ve bought you this dress,'” she explained. “It wasn’t like: ‘Put this dress on!’ It was: ‘Look what I’ve bought for you! I saw you looking at it on Net-a-Porter.’ And you think: ‘Oh my God, that’s so sweet!” when actually they’re starting to take over everything.”

Mel also noted that her ex insisted she wore certain colours. “I didn’t even know what colour I liked any more because those choices were taken away from me for so long. And I just accepted it.”

In 2017, Brown and her ex-husband, Stephen Belafonte, reached a private settlement hours before a trial related to domestic abuse allegations was due to start. He denied the allegations. In 2023, he gave an interview to a videographer in the USA, saying, “Six years after we’re divorced, I have no idea why she brings my name up. She’s infatuated with me. I don’t know.”

GLAMOUR spoke to Emma-Louise Boynton, the creator of the Sex Talks podcast, about men who control their partner’s outfits. “How we dress is an extension of who we are and how we want to show up in the world that day (and it changes day-to-day, doesn’t it?)” she explains. “So why would or should a man want to impinge upon his partner’s self-expression today, tomorrow, any day?”

She notes that male concern for their partner’s outfits is often a “misplaced sense of protective care” or “protecting them from prying eyes”. However, she explains, all this really achieves is perpetuating a “victim-blaming culture that says women must police how they present themselves to the world lest we tempt men to do awful things to us, lest we invite men to harass us and rape us.”

In Ye and Bianca’s case, Alison Lowe MBE, a fashion consultant and course leader in MBA Fashion Entrepreneurship at the University of East London, tells GLAMOUR that while a “common theme in the press and by fans is that Kanye is controlling Bianca to dress in a particular way, and this could stem from issues related to power dynamics, insecurity, or possessiveness,” there could be other factors to consider.

“A different perspective could be that Kanye and Bianca are desperate to gain reputations as leading fashion disruptors and are using this outrageous styling to generate press coverage with the long-term goal of attracting a lucrative contract with a major fashion house.

“Kanye has previously used his controversial relationships and headline-grabbing style to raise his profile as a fashion icon, creating a following across the globe who copied his style. He has previously used social media platforms to elevate his profile, create trends and transform the way the fashion industry works.”

GLAMOUR has reached out to Ye and Bianca Censori’s rep for comment. This article will be kept updated.

For more information about emotional abuse and domestic abuse, you can call The Freephone National Domestic Abuse Helpline, run by Refuge on 0808 2000 247.

For more from Glamour UK’s Lucy Morgan, follow her on Instagram @lucyalexxandra.


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