When he’s not touring America, causing a stir on Twitter, releasing music hyper-sexualised music videos or camping out in his $25 million dollar Airbnb, Kanye West is captaining a fashion label, Yeezy, in collaboration with sportswear brand Adidas. The polarising figure hasn’t escaped headlines this summer with celebrity feuds, magazine covers, controversial casting calls, raunchy music videos, inimitably humorous interviews… but he’s back at his second passion: fashion.
On the first day of New York Fashion Week—yesterday—West displayed Yeezy season 4, the fourth instalment of his second act in fashion. The event was shrouded in mystery: news came the day prior of the 3pm time slot; the day of the show, the location was revealed. Attendees being ferried via shuttle from a Manhattan pickup location to Roosevelt Island, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park being the official venue. The four-acre memorial boasts spectacular city views and is an important landmark in US history.
West’s frequent collaborator, Italian performance artist and choreographer. Vanessa Beecroft was yet again responsible for the performance. We’ve seen the militaristic, haunting formation of seasons 1 and 2; season 3 was a flood of models (street-cast and agency-represented) in Madison Square Garden, potent allusions to refugee camps. For season 4—which was delayed, purposely some say, for an hour—the models were lined in rows across the immaculately mown lawn. It was an open-air return to season 1 and 2. As we patiently awaited more guest arrivals, two models had fainted from the sweltering heat and the sun’s sharp glare. The Yeezy team weren’t handing out water until a model went a fetched some bottles and a guest passed one to the model who had passed out.
The show itself? The silhouettes, the colour palette: it was an encyclopaedic run-through of Kardashian/Jenner fashion. The women closest to Kanye, his family, present him with endless inspiration. Kim, Kourtney, Khloe, Kendall, Kylie the five girls (there of them in attendance at the show—an hour and a quarter later than everyone else, with Carine Roitfeld and Pharrell in tow) were undeniably visible in these clothes. Kim’s sexy skin-tight dresses, Kourtney and Khloe’s affinity for workout chic, Kendall’s off-duty glamour, Kylie’s stylishly baggy comfort clothing. The signs were all there.
On top of this homage, there was the drawn out hum from the soundtrack instilling an eery vibe. It provided a chilling backdrop to the show. Was it about a mental health journey, from lightness to darkness, happiness to sadness? Was it a commentary on female black excellency or black girl magic? Was it a further extension of a never-ending vanity project? I’m unsure, frankly, but what I do know is that there were saleable garments here that will fly off the shelves and fund the next collaboration between West and Adidas. They’d be foolish not to charge full steam ahead with future collaborations.
Let this be known: Kanye West is showing no signs of slowing down or giving up. He will continue to disrupt, disconcert and dazzle. He has stockpiled ideas for Yeezy Season 5, 6 and so on, and so forth. In an interview with Vogue Runway yesterday, prior to the show, West shared his dreams of opening 200 Yeezy stores worldwide, the first, hopefully, to be in California. “That’s just me saying what I want. I’m not saying what can definitely happen but you might as well state out loud what you want. That’ll put you one step closer to getting it,” he states. Whether you like him or not, whether you like his brand or not, you can’t help but admire his earnestness.
High quality images coming soon