Kanye West Controlling Julia Fox's Style is Alarming, Not Romantic

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Julia Fox looking uncomfortable in an outfit she clearly didn't pick out for herself in Paris. At her side, Ye (formerly Kanye West)—a man evidently obsessed with controlling his romantic partners' clothing choices. (Edward Berthelot/Getty Images)

Paris Fashion Week happened last week. The only reason I know this is because every time (the artist formerly known as) Kanye West and his new girlfriend Julia Fox showed up anywhere, Twitter had a meltdown. It wasn't hard to see why. The whole thing was like the new Sex and the City reboot: You know you should turn away. You know what you're looking at is going to make you cringe. But the need to keep staring at it is uncontrollable.

The new couple spent several days parading around in almost-but-not-quite-matching outfits.

There was this double denim situation:

This Folsom Street Fair-adjacent effort:


And whatever the hell this was:

Truly, the longer the couple's Paris sojourn went on, the more out of her depth Fox looked. Which isn't terribly surprising if you examine the circumstances. Ye (that's the name West is using now) and Fox met just one month ago, on New Year's Eve. And—according to the two paragraph-story Fox wrote for Interview magazine last month—he presented her with "an entire hotel suite full of clothes," after knowing her for literally one day. Fox wrote: "I was so surprised. Like, who does things like this on a second date? Or any date!"

The answer to that question is: a new partner who's waving a big ol' red flag in your face.

If you look up how to spot if you're in an unhealthy relationship, clothing is a recurring theme. Psych Central suggests that controlling partners "could start slowly 'changing your wardrobe' by buying specific outfits as gifts to you."

Everyday Health says: "Controlling men like to be in charge. They like to tell women what to do, wear and be, and even how and when to speak. Most controlling men don’t really believe they are controlling. In their minds, they’re merely helping their wives or girlfriends to 'improve,' and they honestly believe that men are entitled to have things just the way they prefer them to be ... Does this sound like anyone you know?"

Yes. It sounds like Kanye West, who has been re-dressing women according to his specifications, very openly, for years.

Amber Rose spoke repeatedly about Kanye's attempts to control her wardrobe while the two were a couple. She told Elle in 2009: "He'll pick out something and I'll be like, 'Oh, God, I don't like that at all.' And then I'll pick out something and he'll be like 'Babe, just... no.' I'm more electric pink and bright yellow. And Kanye's more like nude and bone ... I'm not, like, his Barbie."

In his next serious relationship, Kanye found a significantly more malleable partner. In a 2012 episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians—filmed just a few months into their relationship—Kanye is seen telling Kardashian to "clean out everything" from her closet. Her pleas to keep a few accessories are repeatedly shot down, despite her being a long-time boutique owner who first became famous while working as a personal stylist.

No secret was made of the fact that Kanye exerted extreme control over Kardashian's style for the entirety of their relationship. In one 2018 episode of her reality show, Kardashian mentioned that Kanye had flown out to Paris to see her for 24 hours. Not because he missed her, but because he had seen paparazzi photos of her wearing clothes he didn't like, and he wanted to check on her wardrobe.

A year later, Kanye questioned Kardashian's choice to wear a stunning Thierry Mugler corseted dress to the Met Gala. "A corset is a form of underwear. It's hot. It's like, it's hot for who though?" he said to Kardashian the night before the event. "You are my wife and it affects me when pictures are too sexy."

Julia Fox isn't Kanye's wife. She's only been his girlfriend for a month. But if Fashion Week is anything to go by, he seems to already be controlling every inch of her appearance, down to her makeup.

There's no doubt that all of this is outside Fox's wheelhouse—you can see it in her awkward Fashion Week body language. And it's probably because Kanye's clothing choices for her are such an enormous departure from anything she's ever worn in public previously.

To demonstrate the contrast, here's what she looked like at November's CFDA Awards, just six weeks before Kanye showed up with that suite full of clothes.

A fresh-faced, but polished woman stands on the red carpet wearing a tight, mint green long sleeved top and calf length pale pink skirt with fur trim. She carries a beaded handbag in the shape of the Empire State Building.
Julia Fox at the CFDA Fashion Awards, New York, November 2021. (Jamie McCarthy/WireImage)

Despite an obvious pattern, Kanye's compulsion to control yet another girlfriend's appearance has been greeted without much alarm in the press. The tabloid media has, by and large, instead decided to pit Kardashian and Fox against each other. (This despite reports that Kardashian is just trying to move on with her life.)

"Fox borrowed yet another look from her boyfriend Kanye West's ex Kim Kardashian as she stepped out during Paris Fashion Week last week," the Daily Mail declared yesterday.

"Kanye West's Girlfriend Julia Fox Rips Off Kim Kardashian With Oozing Chest Mold, Model Caught In Another Copycat Fashion Fumble," screamed Radar Online this week.

The copycat refrain has been so common, Fox felt the need to take to Instagram this week to deny she was stealing looks from Kardashian.

That Fox has been blamed for "copying" Kardashian is a reflection of just how much our culture loves a catfight. It also points to a widespread unwillingness to examine Kanye's disturbing need to take control of the appearances of the women he's with.

What has been said far too little in the course of Fox and Kanye's short relationship is that when one person insists on controlling another person's clothing and makeup choices, it's a way of squashing their bodily autonomy. It's a way to restrict their sense of personal freedom. It's a way to make them insecure about their own judgement which, in turn, is designed to make them more dependent on the controlling partner. And when the act of altering someone's image is presented as a romantic gesture, it's not a sign of love, it's a form of grooming.


Fox isn't trying to keep up with Kim Kardashian; she appears to be trying desperately to keep up with the demands of Kanye West. That she thinks him dressing her is "every girl's dream" is perhaps the part that's most disturbing.