Wednesday 7 September saw Fashion Week kick off in New York, giving Kanye West the perfect chance to unveil the fourth collection of his clothing brand Yeezy.
Except in typical Kanye style (i.e. completely unpredictable), the recording artist turned fashion designer/entrepreneur decided to unveil the address of the site hosting his show just three hours before the event was expected to begin. One more problem: it was pretty damn hot that day.
By the sounds of things, the show was a disaster from the get-go. Far from the usual route of NYFW, spectators were invited aboard a bus taking them to the venue situated off the beaten track at Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island, between Manhattan and Queens.
Among the flashy list of invitees were Kim Kardashian and sisters Kendall and Kylie Jenner, as well as Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton, Pharrell Williams and Vogue editor Anna Wintour.
Although we suspect the VIPs weren't subjected to the bus ride which provided "No snacks. No water. No music. No merch". Nice one, Yeez.
Yeezy bound. pic.twitter.com/dtPyiyxIeZ— Cathy Horyn (@CathyHoryn) 7 septembre 2016
Stepping off the bus, things went from bad to worse. Kanye's show, supposedly set to kick off at 3 PM was delayed until 3.30, then 4 PM, then 4.30... The spectators, frustrated and thirsty in the blistering heat, started to get impatient.
Almost four hours after the fashionistas clambered aboard the provided transport and still no collection. "We're not crazed fans," one attendee exclaimed. "We're here to see a fashion show!"
Yeezy Yeezy Yeezy, you're late! pic.twitter.com/yTMFrCsCs0— Cathy Horyn (@CathyHoryn) 7 septembre 2016
Thousands of viewers streaming the show via E! were also forced to wait politely before their screens. After three collections, it seems that Kanye is still struggling to switch from the role of 'showman' to 'fashion designer'.
But, of course, the interminable wait was the hardest on those selected to participate in the show. Placed standing in the middle of the park by performance artist Vanessa Beecrot, the models had to wait for the signal for the catwalk to begin. Needless to say, some ended up sitting on the grass, or even fainting, which had a slightly negative impact on the effect of the choreography.
Model undone by the heat at Yeezy. pic.twitter.com/vaZlisrMdm— Vanessa Friedman (@VVFriedman) 7 septembre 2016
Among the models, of which some Kanye handpicked after a casting call posted via Instagram asking for "multi-racial" women, were social media celebs: younger sister of Nicole, Sofia Richie, star of Kanye's latest clip Teyana Taylor, It Girl Amina Blue and Victoria's Secret 'Angel' Chanel Iman all appeared.
But when the show finally kicked off it was... underwhelming, to say the least. It appears that, for the most part, Kanye made do with cutting up old bodies and other bits of underwear.
Swimming in a sea of beige, punctuated only by the occasional glimpse of khaki or black, Yeezy 4 also unveiled a couple of short dresses and hooded jackets (size XXL).
Accessorising the 'cutting edge' looks was a variety of footwear, from mules to stilettos, sock boots to thigh-high waders – the vast majority of which, it would appear, completely unwearable. With many stumbling along the catwalk like a 4 AM crawl to the kebab house, Amina Blue simply chose to discard her cumbersome heels and continue along the catwalk barefoot.
Of course, some are claiming that it was all done on purpose. "Is it a social commentary?", Billboard asks. "Was the fainting and sitting down representative of disillusionment? Did the fact that the island once housed an insane asylum and prison actually mean something?"
Perhaps not. Speaking to Vogue about his collection of "apparel" (he has an aversion to the word 'fashion') Kanye stated: "I’m really not here for controversy". Equally, making a big social statement on during NYFW wouldn't really be in-keeping with the rapper's aim for the collection to promote "anonymity." As he explains:
"Because there’s absolutely no way for me or my family to be invisible, I’ve put that longing for invisibility into the clothes."
So what if, quite simply, our dear Kanye was just not that well organised, like a final year fashion student pinning together his pieces at the last minute? After all, he's a pretty busy fellow.
You can make up your own mind with these snapshots from the show.
Maybe this Yeezy still life/show is meta-commentary on fame and the Emperor's new clothes? pic.twitter.com/uN8Qqrqt2o— Vanessa Friedman (@VVFriedman) 7 septembre 2016
YEEZY SEASON 4 pic.twitter.com/Q916QDPSSy— DONDA (@DondaCreate) 7 septembre 2016
SEASON 4 pic.twitter.com/8wW2k98ZuS— DONDA (@DondaCreate) 7 septembre 2016
While Kanye seems to have lost the support of various fashion media post-show, he still has the undying support of Adidas. The sportswear brand has been selling Yeezy sneakers from the start and has now agreed to a long-term partnership with Mr. West.
A first Yeezy store is expected to open in California, with the aim of creating 200 other outlets "in the next year". What's more, Kanye will also soon be lending his hand to designing kids clothes as Kim Kardashian recently revealed via a Snap.
Looks like one lousy fashion show won't be enough to quash Kanye West's mammoth ambitions.