London Fashion Week is underway, but before we fully abandon New York, we compiled a list of excerpts from an array of the industry’s most noteworthy reviews of rapper Kanye West’s second New York Fashion Week outing. We all likely know by now what Cathy Horyn – writing for NY Magazine’s The Cut blog – thought of West’s second season collaboration with German sportswear giant, Adidas, entitled, Yeezy Season 2 (think: "This second round of drab, broken-down basics proved he can’t be taken seriously as a designer."), but what about the rest of the critics? Here is what they had to say in connection with one of last week’s most anticipated collections …
Alexander Fury for The Independent
Accessible fashion. It means different things to different people – simplified design, clothes everyday people can wear everyday, and can afford, too. It probably helps if you can get in to see the damn things, which was my issue with the mob scene outside of Kanye West’s Yeezy show … Is this worth it, I asked myself, someone’s elbow in my ribs and someone else’s in an eye.
Probably not. Even with the artist Vanessa Beecroft involved once again, and reputedly eighties eco-designer Katharine Hamnett.
New York Times
Kanye West’s Second Collection Featured Monochromes, Kardashians
The clothes were a continuation from last season: sporty garments layered on top of each other, with hoodies under jackets and over peaked baseball caps and form-fitting leggings and leotards, in a palette that ranged from sand to brown to khaki.
Really, the mesmerising staging stole the show.
Booth Moore for the Los Angeles Times
In her 2-year-old babbling phase, North West stole the show.
The soft, streety, layered sportswear for men and women had a military vibe. Think sweats with attitude, as well as flak jackets, duster coats, cool-looking wide-leg sweatpants that zipped up the sides and flesh-toned body shapers (an ode to Kim?). On the feet were desert boot-inspired sneakers, sure to be an immediate sellout, and groovy sock boots.
Robin Givhan for the Washington Post
Yeezy Season 2 kinda reminds me of season one with better lighting.
Nicole Phelps for Vogue
If West was making a statement about inequality in America, he chose not to address it with this reporter. When asked about the casting, he said, “It’s just a painting, just using clothing as a canvas of proportion and color.”
We’re not sure if we buy that, but if West wants to put the focus on his fashion, not his politics, then we’ll play along.
[Note: Only about 2 of Vogue.com's "10 Things to Know About Kanye West’s Spring 2016 Yeezy Show" were about the clothes themselves. The rest were about the show's attendees, more of the show's attendees, the models, and the music, etc.]
The Huffington Post
North West Was The Best Part Of Kanye West's Yeezy Spring 2016 Presentation.
The star-studded front row included Kim Kardashian, North West, Riccardo Tisci, Lorde, Kourtney and Khloe Kardashian, notably leaving Kendall Jenner out and instead in the 2nd row sitting behind the whole Kardashian clan.
Women's Wear Daily
To a lesser scale, [Vanessa Beecroft is] the Marina Abramovic to his Riccardo Tisci, though the mock-military formation Beecroft came up with for West’s show couldn’t compete with the poignancy of Givenchy last week.
West did a good job with a diverse casting. The staging contextualized the lineup as a stylish streetwear Army, directional and serious but also a bit silly. Clearly influenced by Japanese workwear, the silhouettes were strongly styled to halo the main look, which is just a sweatshirt. The lineup felt more relevant to men’s wear than women’s.
Resistance is futile. For now, West is a fact of fashion life. He’s not going away, and no one counting page views or sneaker sales can complain.
At fashion-minded publications, though, you’ll see references to other cultural touchstones that West draws from—or, some say, rips off. The rapper’s previous clothing collections have been compared to Helmut Lang, Alexander Wang, and Rick Owens, a fact for which he declined to apologize, saying “I don’t care if you can see the influence in something, as long as I made it better.”
I have no idea whether he made it better.
West’s stated mission has been to open up that world, to democratize it, primarily by making ultra-edgy styles cheaper for all. Judging by the three-and-four-figure pricepoints recently revealed for his Adidas-backed Yeezy Season 1 pieces, he’s so far failed in that mission; then again, he’s said all along it would take time: “My end goal 10 years from now would be to have everything at a Zara level.”
Christina Binkley for the Wall Street Journal
Kanye West has finally found his fashion metier. With the help of Adidas, his Yeezy collection of undie-style athleisure clothing hit just the right cool-but-wearable note.
After his disastrous attempts to start his own high-fashion line in Paris, the industry will watch to see how Yeezy clothes sell; the first collection ships next month. But if it’s anything like his Yeezy shoes, get in line.
The Financial Times
[Kanye] doesn't need the publicity.
Perhaps Katharine Hamnett does though. West’s “best friend” and collection muse, the British designer and eco-campaigner had volunteered her archive of army fatigues, sun-bleached camels and earthy brown sweats for his SS16 show. And she was sitting front row — alongside the singers Lorde, Drake and multitudinous Kardashians at the show. A bizarre collaboration, it seemed oddly contrary and totally in keeping with the brand’s messianic designer and his tremendous sense of self importance.
Were the clothes in this Desert Storm meets Spanx collection good? Surprisingly so. If you want a dark olive sweatshirt, or sand-coloured snow boot any time soon, you need look no further. These earth-toned basics were a sartorial no-brainer, although I would caution anyone to wear a flesh coloured bodysuit without checking their rear view in the mirror beforehand. Kudos, too, for the lack of branding.
IMAGE COURTESY OF HYPEBEAST