Kanye West’s Paris Fashion Week Debut Recap

Kanye West Presents ’Dw’ womenswear collection at Paris Fashion Week on October 1, 2011.
Photo: Getty Images

God. I wonder what Kanye West is feeling right now given that I am deeeeepleted that weeks of wild speculation and rune casting and Google alerting and Twitter/Tumblr stalking has finally come to an end with the unveiling of his first womenswear collection at Paris Fashion Week. He probably feels pretty great. The thing about this show is that opinions will diverge and reviews will run the gamut from effusive to scathing because there is no way to sequester the entire world from the Internet and this man’s megafame. Dicey territory from which to judge a show. Plus, nevermind the crazy levels of clout in his front row that draws even more attention.

According to this Associated Press report from the scene, Kanye was nervous, repeating, “I’m so scared,” after which he stated that he just wanted to end the “celebrity designer” qualifier.

In attendance were a number of notable bold names–Anna Wintour, Carine Roitfeld, Azzedine Alaia, Olivier Theyskens, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Lindsay Lohan, Terry Richardson, Jared Leto. Ciara, who sat front row and wore a fox fur stole (solidarity?), also told MTV News how much she empathized with the level of scrutiny Kanye was under. “It was definitely one of the most talked-about events [of Paris Fashion Week],” she said. “This doesn’t happen every day, and to see someone like Kanye, who aspires to succeed in fashion, to get so much respect and cross over like this, it was monumental. It was an historic moment.”

Jeremy Scott who was also prominantly placed mentioned how the collection echoed Kanye’s impeccable taste as a student and genuine fan of design.

Kanye West Presents ’Dw’ womenswear collection at Paris Fashion Week on October 1, 2011.
Photo: Getty Images

To wit: there are definitely echoes of influence throughout. Granted, this was overall, a collection of American sportswear. Clean. Marketable (though we’ll know more once we see the pricepoint). And sexy. But there were whispers of Issey Miyake in the delicate pleats (both amorphous and sculpted), hints of Helmut Lang in the stark simplicity and palette but there was nothing that displayed too much of a barrier to entry in terms of silhouettes. We are not talking 1,800 bolts of shantung and 4,300 fish scales for a hat with a veil here.

Kanye West Presents ’Dw’ womenswear collection at Paris Fashion Week on October 1, 2011.
Photo: Getty Images

Everything was wearable and this embossed leather jacket (one of my favorites of the collection) did remind me somewhat (likely because I remember when Kanye was called the “Kon the Louis Vuitton Don” and his subsequent, highly popular collections with LV) of the striations found in the Epi collection. Also, there is a hybrid situation going on here in that while possessing sleeves, you can put your arms through slits that lend a cape-like element to the jacket.

Kanye West Presents ’Dw’ womenswear collection at Paris Fashion Week on October 1, 2011.
Photo: Getty Images

There were also a GLUT of enthusiastic Tweets (EGADS, can you imagine vying for reception in there?) about the fox fur backpack though many (among them the New York Times’ Eric Wilson), described the hella fall-centric leather and fur “confusing.”

Kanye West Presents ’Dw’ womenswear collection at Paris Fashion Week on October 1, 2011.
Photo: Getty Images

Kanye was certainly interested in playing up the sternum, and this white, gathered shirt highlights his admiration. The color-block trousers are not the mixed prints that we’ve been seeing through New York, elsewhere in Paris and Milan but mixed textures with the same embossed leather featured in the legs (with a notable, slim bootcut). And, of course, we know from Kanye’s Balmain jeans in the Watch The Throne ’Otis’ video that he loves a decorative gold zipper.

Kanye West Presents ’Dw’ womenswear collection at Paris Fashion Week on October 1, 2011.
Photo: Getty Images

More rampant sternum and more need for mega “fashion tape.” Helmut Langishness (or Alexander Wangishness as the kids might say #NOSHOTS!) is evident in both dresses that feature demure hemlines, a wise decision that balances the drama of this cutaway. Zoomed in shots reveal that the embossed leather dress features zippers at the waist so you can likely wear this as a skirt. Were I to wear it, I would likely add a white, chiffon, off-the-shoulder, big-sleeved, slouchy blouse with stuffed bracelet cuffs that actually hit under-boob to be wedged in place with the top. Sorta like they were suspenders. Right? Something to complement the shoe.

Kanye West Presents ’Dw’ womenswear collection at Paris Fashion Week on October 1, 2011.
Photo: Getty Images

Now I’m not saying that Givenchy’s cornered the market on menacing canines but these exposed fangs definitely do remind me that he and Riccardo Tisci are besties (remember when Kanye wore the Givenchy T-shirt? Uh, and EVERYTHING to do with the artwork for WTT?) and I absolutely love the dramatic hood on this coat on the right because it reminds me of the best kind of limited-edition streetwear in a cut that’s re-imagined in a sophisticated piece of outerwear.

Kanye West Presents ’Dw’ womenswear collection at Paris Fashion Week on October 1, 2011.
Photo: Getty Images

Here is where I get a little sadface. I admire the intention and the direction and have loved and enthused over the slouchy, low-slung suits that I’ve seen at Roland Mouret and Hussein Chalayan and have been calling them suit-jammies in my head but I, along with a number of writers are having problems with the fit. I just wish there had been more fittings. Eric Wilson from the Times reported that Chanel Iman had only been flown over the day before for her fittings and it showed.

Kanye West Presents ’Dw’ womenswear collection at Paris Fashion Week on October 1, 2011.
Photo: Getty Images

Regardless of what everyone took away, the shoes were OUT OF CONTROL. Sublime. The slouch of the beads with the delicateness of the heel itself gave a grown-up air to what completely reminds me of a ultra-luxe version of Japanese school girl sock-legwarmers. And we’re waiting to see if those “Yeezi” nameplates are significant in some way. See, show’s over and we’re STILL speculating.

Kanye West Presents ’Dw’ womenswear collection at Paris Fashion Week on October 1, 2011.
Photo: Getty Images

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