Kanye West once again shook up New York Fashion Week, showing his second presentation under the Yeezy moniker with the collection simply named “Yeezy Season 2.” Similar to Season 1, the show had a very performance art edge–not surprising given art direction by Vanessa Beecroft–with the models sullenly standing, wearing over-sized, distressed cotton or canvas garments in monochromatic colors that gradiated from tan in the front line to dark brown and army green in the back. The women’s looks loose fitting tops and coats were mixed with tight-fighting beige and brown-colored bodywear that straddled a line between feeling functional (a la Spanx) and eerily sensual. The skin color of the models themselves also was ordered along a scale with the lighter ones with blonde hair standing in the front and those with brown skin and hair positioned in the back.
While clearly the collection is in part inspired by vintage athletic looks and West’s stated desire to have clothing fit to keep up with a fast-moving toddler and “be as relaxed as possible,” it seems he also desires to make a statement through fashion about humans–that we really are just the same, just different shades along a scale with the lighter versions of us randomly standing up front for no particularly good reason, no better or worse than the ones behind. Given how the models marched out–under military commands barked through speakers–if anything how we order ourselves is more because we choose to follow along unquestioningly the rules of people in positions of so-called greater authority.
And yet, while West on the one hand champions equality and questions authority, as he often does, he revealed his own man versus man internal struggle, telling fashion editor Andre Leon Talle that the looks were in part motivated by his desire to achieve acceptance by the highest echelon of the establishment fashion community. Says West when asked about the difference between Season 1 and 2, “It’s development. What I’m doing is getting closer to what I’m dreaming about,” adding, “I want to demonstrate that I can learn and follow the rules of fashion so that I can work with amazing people. I want to work with the highest level of people in fashion.”
More details about the show:
1. The timing of the show appeared to be slotted into the schedule very last minute, with big sneaker blog outlets like Complex saying they didn’t receive their invites (printed on a long-sleeved camo top) until either the day before or the day of the event. As well, West’s show created conflicts with presentations of several other designers, one of which vented heartily to the press about West’s lack of consideration.
2. The audience was so stacked with VIP guests that Kendall Jenner (her younger sister Kylie was in the show) sat in the second row. Other attendees included Kim Kardashian, Khloé Kardashian, baby North, Anna Wintour, Drake, Lorde, Jaden Smith, Tyga, Debbie Harry, 2 Chainz and Courtney Love, who wore the camo-shirt/invitation to the show.
3. The model widely shown on social media lighting up and smoking in the midst of the show is Ian Connor, a brand consultant and model, who entered West’s world through his association with Virgil Abloh.
4. The clothing is no longer being made under the Adidas label though the shoes are. On the day of the show, Adidas tweeted, “Today adidas longterm partner @kanyewestpartner presented a collection as a designer in his own right. Congrats, Mr. West!”
5. The featured athletic shoes are still being made in collaboration with Adidas Originals. Shoes shown in the show included the Yeezy Boost 350 in black and white (unreleased) and the Yeezy Boost 750 in new colors, maroon and black, and the yet to be released Yeezy 950. Some models were also wearing Adidas Ultra Boost.
6. Some of the models were wearing heels and it’s not clear if they were made under the Yeezy label, as was implied by Kim Kardashian on her Instagram account last week.
7. Fern Mallis who criticized West’s inclusion in the fashion world back in February wanted to attend the Yeezy Season 2 presentation, but was told she wasn’t welcome, according to Page Six.
8. West debuted a new single called “Fade” during the presentation.
7. West told Talle he believes he will show in New York “next year,” which could either be February or September 2016.