The good news for any new fashion label is the reality of a second season. Kanye West’s Yeezy, following last February’s debut, makes the painful-to-grasp statement that Mr West, as a fashion designer, has struck again. So to whom is this news considered good? Following his show during New York Fashion Week, social media was rife with palpable dismay, even outright outrage. “Kanye is a joke!! NYFW is too much for his poor talent,” went one. “Kanye should donate these (sic) trash to the zombies of The Walking Dead,” suggested another. “Gosh!! Is this fashion?” fumed one more.
Sure, for every hater, there’s a lover. It is very likely that Mr West’s clothes will be adored by a rabid base that would snap up anything he produces, even if they have the same allure of discarded cardboard boxes. The crazy success of the Yeezy 750 Boost sneakers (reportedly sold out in less than an hour) is a possible prelude to the reception of his fashion line. Kanye West can do no wrong, although he had—specifically, with two disastrous collections in 2011 and 2012. They were so lacklustre that The Telegraph’s Lisa Armstrong advised him to “stick to his day job”.
The collection was dubbed Yeezy Season 2, and many in the fashion world had nearly forgotten about Mr West’s fashion ambitions until he suddenly announced the show date shortly before Givenchy’s debut presentation in New York last week. Breathless anticipation in the media ensued and it nearly drown out the fact that Mr West had—perhaps not inadvertently—clashed with two other designers showing at the same time. One, Anne Bowen, was so upset, she told Women’s Wear Daily, “It’s like we are David and he is Goliath. We have put our heart and soul into our show, and should not be stepped on like this.” Was this a Taylor-Swift-at-the-MTV-Video-Awards-moment? Only in place of the microphone, Mr West took over a time slot. It is possible that this is the only way he knows how to play.
Mr West always comes across, full of bluster, as a man constantly in need to remind himself and the people around him how great he is. He may have an overwrought personality, but his clothes have the strength of a cotton ball. Continuing last season’s liquid layers over unabashedly underclothes, the second collection, as in the first, broke no ground. Some people have called it costumes for apocalyptic movies such as the Mad Max series, but we saw a sham Rick Owens trying to reinterpret Donna Karan’s “seven easy pieces” from the mid-80s via Alexander Wang’s T-shirt product development team.
Bottom line is, do these clothes deserve a catwalk showing? Surely the world does not need more sweat tops, tank dresses, leotards, and leggings, in these cases, all worn monochrome, neck to toe. Or are these just props with which to show off the new Yeezy 750 Boost? The presentation tried to break away from the typical runway show. Choreographed (again) by performance artist Vanessa Beecroft, the bare-bones staging was, at best, pretentious. As in the February outing, models strode in looking glum, but this time, were barked at by some military sergeant to form up or exit stage. Someone should really give Mr West his marching orders!