Kanye West is a changed man. After seasons of literally disrupting the fashion schedule by selecting time slots regardless of the existing schedules and starting excessively late, West has gotten it right with the Council of Fashion Designers of America. After various collections exploring much of the same pieces and silhouettes in a variety of colorways, the rapper has expanded. It seems that Kanye West is ready for the fashion world to take him seriously.
The Yeezy season 5 show started at 3:23 pm Wednesday, well within the typical lag time of the appointed start time for a fashion show. To show his dedication to coloring within the lines, the designer started his latest presentation before his sister-in-law Kylie Jenner and her beau Tyga had arrived. Get with it or get lost seemed to be the message.
On the runway — or more specifically on the screen as a majority of the presentation took place on a projection screen at Pier 59 in New York — models like Luka Sabbat, Playboi Carti, Sofia Richie and Leomie Anderson took the runway to a demo of “Bed” that The Dream made which eventually turned into the recorded song by J. Holliday. Even Halima Aden, the 19-year-old Miss Minnesota USA contestant who wore a hijab for most of her competition walked the show, having been recently signed by IMG.
But the clothes. It was an interesting mix, encompassing a photorealistic hunter’s camouflage print, the brand’s foray into denim as well as some pretty luxe pieces like full-length fur coats. The denim turned up as jackets and faded mom jeans covered to the knee with high boots. In the footwear arena, which is the undisputed commercial highlight of any Yeezy collection, West showed off a new running sneaker in four colors that we can expect to sell out.
While phrases like “Lost Hills” and “Calabasas” nodded to the collection’s name, the more striking symbol in the lineup was a black panther stitched onto the backs of coats — at first glance it seems similar to the one Blue Ivy wore to the Grammy’s Sunday but is decidedly not the same design. The silhouettes of the collection remain mostly oversized fur coats but the mixing of luxury furs with sweatshirts featuring exaggerated sleeves and track pants proved interesting. It represented a type of revised, middle America aesthetic that was new for the label.
The outing is a strong one for West; here he has taken familiar pieces like a trackpant and sweatshirt and slightly tweaked their silhouettes. That’s the sort of approach to design that trained fashion creatives take. The mix of high and low is also a major trend in the industry with brands like Vetements finding favor while luxury labels like Louis Vuitton collaborate with the streetwear brand Supreme. That said, there felt like something was missing.
While it might be admirable for West to sort of eschew the pomp and circumstance to put the focus on the clothing, let’s be clear: fashion is in part pomp and circumstance. There is something to be said about the beauty of the reveal. So while retooling the approach in order to be accepted by the industry is a good idea, the multi-hyphenate creative would be wise to not forget that editors are coming in part to see him — which wasn’t a part of this season’s deal, seeing as West didn’t even come out for a bow. Finding a way to merge this collection with the presentation turned listening party he put on last February could be the sweet spot for the businessman.
Photos courtesy of Yeezy.