Jay Z’s New York Holiday collection debuted yesterday at Barneys. And, for those of you who guessed it would be a 30-piece battle royale of shitty taste – you called it. Because Jay Z is an unstoppable 40+ year old force of nature, when he requested a group of the most name-checked fashion labels in the rap game “collaborate” with him, literally nobody was allowed to say no.
Let’s see how everyone fared and who, if anyone, was left standing at the end.
First up, in the category of Outerwear: Affordable, we have Moncler’s down filled varsity jacket vs. Stutterheim Raincoats all black number.
We’re going to give this one to Moncler because 1) This jacket is dope and probably the best piece in the collection. And 2) We award all the points for the least conspicuous use of Jay Z’s goddamned star logo. Stutterheim, with perhaps the second best piece in the collection, loses for stamping that stupid fucking star on the hood. This will be the only round in which good taste wins. Backwards day from here on out.
In the category of Outerwear: Terrible, we have Jay Z’s own Roc Nation camo field jacket vs. En Noir’s leather camo hoodie.
This round is tough – The novelty of En Noir’s all black leather everything approach has nearly been worn all the way out and this “camo” (quotes because it actually looks like cow spots) and gold Barneys/Jay Z logo combination is hard to top in terms of awful things you can wrap your body in. That said, the weird fusion of mediocrity and unnecessary nylon shawl (?????) is not unimpressive on the Roc Nation piece.
Winner: You, for staying warm.
The Accessories: Unnecessary category brings us some of [Capital F]ashion’s biggest names. In one corner – Lanvin’s vinyl-coated jacquard “camo” (quotes this time because you can’t just call everything “camo.” There’s really no camouflage on this tie.) vs. Proenza Schouler’s leather bag.
More than anything, the take away from this round is that the boys behind Proenza Schouler waited until they received a personal invitation from Jay Z before venturing into anything men’s related. Contemplate how different their lives are from yours. Then, buy this bag and store all your tears in it.Winner: Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez
In the Gifts: Truly Awful category, we see Jay Z video/lifestyle staple Cohiba coming almost correct with a cedar-lined humidor, complete with gold Jay Z star. The cigar manufacturer, a relative newcomer in the “producing terrible shit” game, takes on The Elder Statesmen and their color-blocked cashmere throw.
Everyone loses this round. If you’re lucky enough to be friends with someone who would spend $3,000 on a gift for you and you get a Jay Z-branded throw - you lost. More so than anyone who even participated in this collection.
Winner: See Above.
The "Things Big Sean Wants for Christmas" Category is certainly a nail-biter – with an $875 Don C snapback coming up against a $775 Balmain scarf.
Fans of putting all of the shit you like on all of your garments at once will love this match up. The Don C snapback does more than just mix black leather and python, because these days we demand much, much more from our hats. It also features stars - of both the Givenchy/five-sided and Jay Z variety, adorning the top and sides. This cornucopia of all things Jay Z also features prominent Brooklyn lettering up front and Mitchell and Ness and Just Don logos on the back. For those of you counting at home – that’s two types of leather, two types of stars, and shout outs to two additional companies and one city all on one hat. Balmain got murdered on this one. Rep at least 2 more cities, 5 states, possibly a deceased foreign dictator, and AT LEAST 8 other brands on your next try, Balmain or just stay the hell at home.
Winner: Big Sean?
Because this is getting too long and our matchups lacked any real criteria to grade on, we’re skipping the middle of the collection and are getting right to the CHAMPIONSHIP GAME. After all other 28 contenders were eliminated; we were left with En Noir’s black leather shorts in one corner, and Balmain’s white t-shirt with leather epaulets in the other.
You know what, I’m so completely bummed on Jay Z and, after seeing these En Noir leather joints, all shorts in general, at this point, that this is over.