There is no quit in Kanye West. After critics picked and prodded at the first showing of his women’s wear line in October, Yeezy returned to the big stage on Tuesday night in France at the fall/winter ready-to-wear show with his new collection for Paris Fashion Week. Diddy, Kim Kardashian, Shyne and Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour were all there as ’Ye offered up what many critics described as a Givenchy-inspired look. There were leathers, backless motorcycle jackets, inventive knee-high boots, furs and go-karts — yes, go-karts.
Comparisons to West’s first showing are inevitable, even if the rapper/ producer/ overall creative spirit feels that he was unfairly judged during the first go-round. “I got treated unfairly by the press last time. Why would I want to do this?” Kanye said to a roomful of editors after deciding to cancel a pre-show collection preview.
Well, whatever doesn’t kill Kanye only makes him stronger. Here’s what the critics had to say about the Louis Vuitton Don’s new threads.
“This show started out OK, with a series of tough-looking black leather and suede outfits based off of a motorcycle jacket. And it ended with go-karts spinning around two tracks on either side of the runway, which made Anna Wintour smile. His leather skirts had a stiff half-ruffle pointing out at the hems. Karlie Kloss wore a leather jacket that, kind of interestingly, had no back, but then there was again a preponderance of questionable fur looks, including pants that were broadtail on the front, clingy fabric on the back.” — Eric Wilson, New York Times
“This collection was better. Markedly. I just hope Kanye West continues to show. And learns to show off. If it’s true what they say and he’s formed a think tank of sartorial smartypantses they should help him realize the visual equivalent of what he’s capable of aurally. This is what I expect of him and I refuse to lower my expectations.” — — Mary H.K. Choi, MTV Style.
“Yes, the dark haute-goth looks were very Givenchy-Mcqueen-Balenciaga-ish. Very. But given the scathing criticism he got last year, it’s clear Kanye had better planning, better execution, and vastly better fittings this time around. Oh, and once again, his shoe fetish takes center stage. Last year it was those beaded/pearled bangle sandals. This time, sky high Feyd-Rautha-style strap boots.” — Miss Info
“First the bad news: This Kanye West collection was so Givenchy-esque that it’s embarrassing that Givenchy designer Riccardo Tisci was an expected guest. Kanye, whatever your legal arrangement, cribbing is cribbing. Ten points off for copying the smart guy sitting next to you.
Next, the good news: this Kanye collection is a massive improvement.
When I asked how he managed it, Mr. West dissembled and said he’d spent a lot of time in ’libraries.’ ” — Christina Binkley, Wall Street Journal