Kanye West’s “Yeezy Season 4” collection was unveiled on Wednesday — and “it was a total, unmitigated and utter fiasco,” according to the New York Post. The much-anticipated event — which took place on the first day of New York Fashion Week and started nearly two hours late — was staged on the grounds of a long-abandoned smallpox hospital on Roosevelt Island. Here are some of the most telling excerpts from an array of reviews of the collection.
Fashion reviews can be mean, mundane and sometimes even glowing — but rarely are they vehicles to make political statements. In its review of Kanye West’s Yeezy Season 4 show, which took place Wednesday afternoon at Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island, Vogue.com went there when it said Donald Trump is a racist.
The review, which was penned by Nicole Phelps, only nodded lightly to what most of the media was stuck on — the fact that Yeezy was largely a logistical and sartorial disaster — and instead, turned its attention to politics — not exactly Vogue’s forte.
Whether Phelps — or Vogue — believes that Trump is a racist is compounded by the tricky relationship that the publication and its editor in chief Anna Wintour holds with West and the Democratic Party. Wintour is an avid Hillary Clinton supporter and fund-raiser, as well as an honorary Kardashian-West.
Shortly before 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Laura Brown, the recently appointed editor-in-chief of InStyle magazine, walked up to security guards at Kanye West’s Yeezy show on Roosevelt Island and told them that people (mostly journalists) would leave if the guards didn’t let them in soon.
Whatever goodwill West earned from last season’s Yeezy spectacular at Madison Square Garden was slowly leaking out. This was not a man who cared about people — their well-being, or their time (four and a half hours expended on a single show).
The clothes were boring. The parkas and ribbed minis and sweatshirts were Main Street versions of urbanwear, and nowhere near as provocative and inventive (or, God knows, funny) as what Hood by Air or Vetements (whom Kanye often cites as inspiration) can do. They were also a rather conventional male take on female sexiness and toughness.
This has become an abusive relationship. To a great extent, fashion and the press have only ourselves to blame. We’ve been world-class enablers of Kanye West, allowing him to put us at his mercy.
This is behavior that would not be tolerated from true design visionaries — Karl Lagerfeld or West’s friend Riccardo Tisci. Not that they would display such audacious disrespect for people’s time — nor would their employers allow it.
West will likely be rewarded with splashy coverage and maybe even applause for a collection that was at best predictable. Adidas should be embarrassed.
It’s almost surprising West, who is quick to congratulate his own creativity, continues to rely on something that’s become a bore. The whole collection, which finally walked on a runway around the periphery of the Beecroft/Spanx gals close to 4:30 p.m., clung to unoriginal territory.
When some of the models fainted, there was no medical attention or staff intervention. Rather, other models fetched them water and they stayed put. Some of the boots were so ill-fitting, they looked like they might snap the models’ ankles.
Someone make it stop.
If the clothes had been great, or at least resonant with the venue, which is dedicated to freedom of expression (among other inalienable rights) — all that frustration and procrastination would have been forgiven. That’s how it works in Fashionland.
But they weren’t.
It’s not that they were terrible. They weren’t original or risky enough to be terrible. They were just boring. Not ambitious or eclectic or even surprising. Yawn.
For a man known for his rambling, far-reaching riffs, in his fourth fashion season, it turned out Mr. West had nothing to say.
Mostly, though, the collection was dull — which is difficult to believe because drama and controversy seem to follow West wherever he goes. But Season 4 included the same stretchy separates we’ve seen before, plus ever more hooded coats and athleisure gear. Even the music was more sensory wallpaper than evocative texture.
Well, for one, this shtick is unkind to models. But it is also boring fashion. West’s collections have become static in their development. And the show was neither a focused testament to the beauty and technique of the garments nor an expansive statement about the culture that produced them.
And if these high-priced frocks are just meant to be clothes — just basic commodities — then something more than the glitter of celebrity should give them value. Needs to. If not, that’s an insult to the masses. Really, it is. Cult of fame? Fame is easy. Good clothes are hard.
Retailers like Tom Kalenderian from Barneys New York, Bruce Pask from Bergdorf Goodman and Laure Hériard Dubreuil of the Webster; top editors from Vogue, GQ, InStyle, Glamour and various other American mass-market organs that have — perhaps grudgingly, perhaps eagerly — capitulated to the click-bait metrics of the Kimye phenomenon.
This was the Yeezy 4 show designed by Kanye West, an artist (and he is an artist; as he is the first to remind you, he went to art school) whose ego is probably his most perfect creation. If sometimes Mr. West’s productions can seem like a case of elephant giving birth to mouse, he still deserves credit for colossal ambition, good politics (the Four Freedoms park is consecrated to Roosevelt’s belief in freedoms from want, from fear, of worship and of speech and expression) and what must be superhuman energy.
After all, the Yeezy 4 show — underwritten by Adidas, which manufactures his phenomenally successful sneaker line — was far from the only thing that Mr. West had to concern himself with during a week when on two consecutive nights at a sold-out Madison Square Garden.
Decent clothes aside, the presentation raised eyebrows — and concerns. It was late, as in nearly two hours late … Was it intentional? Were we all part of some sort of twisted psychological experiment testing the limits to fame? How much waiting, fainting and torturous heels would the fashion crowd withstand in the name of Kanye?
In the end, it seemed self-indulgent and unnecessary. Any artistic message was muddled in the execution. (The whole journey, start to finish, was 5 hours out of a busy day.) Even a few of Kanye’s close confidants looked bored.
A photo West shared suggested that the pieces were hand-dipped in a rainbow of Rit dye. Keeping with that pretty meme, he also showed a parka in an almost delicate, treelike camouflage print alongside a standard issue camo jacket. Shearling outerwear was a big emphasis here, but perhaps that’s not so unusual anymore in our post-season world. There were also a good many delectable knits of both the slinky and the slouchy variety. In other words, lots of closet staples for Kanye’s true believers and otherwise. The over-the-knee stiletto boots need a good deal of work. And the same goes for the execution of his shows.