While football was kicking off in Denver, in New York Fashion Week ushered in the new looks for the season. Many of us were first introduced to Fashion Week when Carrie and the girls scored front-row seats on “Sex and the City.”
We learned more about the business side through “The Devil Wears Prada,” where you find yourself either sympathizing with young Andi (Anne Hathaway) or her devilish boss, Miranda Preistly, a character not-so-loosely based on famed Vogue editor Anna Wintour and played deliciously by Meryl Streep.
“America’s Next Top Model” continued our fascination with the beautiful, eclectic world of fashion with a touch of attitude from the original diva herself, Tyra Banks. Then along came “Project Runway,” a show that explores the design side of the industry. The Kardashian-Jenner clan has made the fashion world even more accessible for those of us outside of New York City.
Prior to this breakthrough into pop culture, the intentionally exclusive fashion industry had been happily making millions while influencing the way we dress, walk, and even smell. From behind the scenes, those who control the runways in New York control the world. As Miranda Priestly famously said: “That is not just a blue sweater.”
Enter Kanye West. West is a self-proclaimed genius. Many agree he may be a musical genius—he’s produced almost as many recognizable hooks as Dr. Dre. Kanye has made a career out of taking chances with his music, so as his empire expands he felt he could conquer the fashion world. He was mistaken.
Cancel your afternoon plans tomorrow. https://t.co/F51PiCdidI
— Vogue Magazine (@voguemagazine) September 7, 2016
— Solipsistic Succubus (@SuperstarLloyd) September 7, 2016
Many other rappers turned celebrities turned moguls own product lines, from Jay Z to Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen. So what is so special about Yeezy, Kayne’s brand? It’s supposed to be couture. The others are designed with their fans in mind, offering clothes that fit the lifestyle brand a celebrity has developed. That wasn’t good enough for Kanye. He worked (some say forced) his way into Fashion Week four years ago with his debut line, and this week we saw his latest offering. It left most shaking their heads.
— Noisey (@NoiseyMusic) September 9, 2016
Kanye being Kanye, he couldn’t just do a normal runway show. You may recall last year his “show” featured models standing around listening to his new “visual album” in Madison Square Garden. New Yorkers were delighted with his originality and energy. Apparently no one looked at the actual clothing.
This year Kanye decided to move his fashion spectacle outside, which created a new series of problems for the struggling designer. Namely, his models were passing out in the heat and stumbling down the “runway” as their sky-high heels broke in the grass.
Fuming guests were trapped on buses while waiting for Yeezy to show, and at least one model fainted from the heat https://t.co/SXZijR3XZc
— New York Post (@nypost) September 8, 2016
If you could get past all the distractions, the new Yeezus line is, in a word, horrendous. I’ve been following fashion trends long enough to understand that what you see on the runway is not what you’ll find on the streets or even in the stores. However, the runway version is supposed to inspire the “lesser collections.” If this is the case, I expect to see a new wave of brown paper bags and Spanx roaming the streets of New York.
Kanye West models getting on the bus to the season 4 show today. (We think, more info TBA.) pic.twitter.com/NgW1BBhaze
— NYT Fashion (@NYTFashion) September 7, 2016
They quite honestly look like he just forgot to dress his models in many cases. This “minimalistic” look took more effort than the untrained eye could see, Kayne explained during a Twitter rant.
— Mic (@mic) September 7, 2016
The fashion world is usually an exclusive and unforgiving lot. While he’s charmed them before, even Kanye couldn’t avoid their critique after they saw his latest offerings. As one critic said, it wasn’t just bad, it was boring.
We're still on the bus. We are on 57th and Fifth Ave. The bathroom door is broken. Yeezus, save us? https://t.co/OaVdms9qws
— ELLE Magazine (US) (@ELLEmagazine) September 7, 2016
Kanye seemed to recognize his mistakes, but only as the Internet tore apart his creations. He had committed the most unholy of sins within the fashion world: he tried too hard.
The fashion industry doesn’t like climbers, social or otherwise, even though it’s filled with them. You just can’t look like you’re trying too hard, or they will punish you. In this way, the fashion mafia controls even those who are fresh out of design school or after years of apprentice at the side of genius, like Tom Ford, who made his name under another label entirely. Imagine if the Mean Girls ran an entire industry. They do.
Kanye acknowledged this error in his Twitter rant, saying “He tried not to try” but failed. He swore he would “try less” next time, but it was in his nature to “try harder.” This is the confusing, yet profitable world of fashion in New York.
The problem Kanye faces is not a new one (looking at you, Brad Pitt). Simply because you appreciate something doesn’t make you capable of doing it. Kanye loves to tell everyone how much he loves fashion, yet it apparently hadn’t occurred to him that loving it and creating it are two very different things.
Fortunately for Kanye West, people still love his music, so as the lights went down on Fashion Week, “Yeezy” held a concert for a couple thousand of his closest friends. From the stage he repeated his apology, and went silent as the crowd, including some of his most vocal critics, sang the words to his latest hit song, “Famous.”