The Problem with Yeezy 3

12:00 PM

Initially I was going to include this in my missed the mark of day one. I sat at my laptop trying to figure out a way to condense my swirling thoughts into a few short sentences. I couldn't, I mean, I probably could, but I felt it deserved much greater discussion than a small blurb. Not only that, the missed the marks are typically what went wrong with the designs, and this really wasn't about the clothes. My feelings on Kayne's designs have always been fairly consistent. They aren't bad, but they aren't anything to write home about, they are meant for a very specific demographic and I just ain't it. This season has definitely evolved from the last two, with the addition of color blocking and the introduction of new materials (i.e. fur) but no, this wasn't about the designs. What this was about was the presentation of the collection. 

The way fashion shows are presented have been constantly evolving, beyond the runway, and will continue to do so. Just look at the recent news of Tom Ford, Ventements, and Burberry going against the traditional Fashion Calendar. The way we consume fashion in today's world is extremely different than 20 years ago. But let's go back to presentation, physical presentation. Over time your standard runway platform has become multiple platforms. Sometimes raised, sometimes not. Sometimes there is no runway, the models simply maneuver around a space or a room. Other times, most notably in the case of Karl & Chanel, the 'runway' becomes an experience. Recreating a moment, a place, a time and allowing the models, designs, and spectators to become part of a world that is existing in this temporary bubble. 

Kayne wasn't doing anything particularly "new" on how he decided to present his collection. No other designers yet have presented at as grand a level as Yeezy 3, but as mentioned before, designers are constantly changing and deviating from your ho hum catwalk. The problem with Yeezy 3 is that is disrupts the way fashion is typically presented to such an extreme. It ushered in a new way of showing designs that causes an issue on, how the fuck do you see the clothes? The "traditional" purpose of a fashion show is to allow buyers, supporters, reporters, etc an opportunity to see your designs. To critique them, praise them, lust after them, and stock them. When you're presenting your collection in Madison Square Garden, with 1,200 models clumped together, partially obscured by walls or fabric designed to look like refugee camps (which leads to a whole other issue of - should this type of imagery be used to sell clothing) it sort of defeats the purpose of having a show. As noted on HighSnobiety:

"Although models stood for the duration of the show, showcasing new ready-to-wear clothing and footwear from the YEEZY range, it was still difficult to take away any lasting impressions of the clothing." 

This all circles back to the major shifts in presenting fashion to the masses. Shows are no longer 'exclusive', there are livestreams, instagrams, runway photos up within the hour... Everyone from a well respected fashion insider to fashion newbies to myself have access to this visual information. Kayne is simply feeding into this. Giving fans, curious viewers, fashion elite, etc. all an equal opportunity to share in an experience. Its decidedly democratic. But can it be called a "fashion show" if fashion seems to be a rather  infinitesimal component of the whole experience?

Ultimately the people in attendance, aside from perhaps the few fashion set, praised the music. They were more focused on the album drop, than the clothes before them. Tickets were sold, treating it as if it was a concert. Days before the fashion show, Kayne found himself in a bit of hot water for showcasing a shoe design that looked rather familiar in the form of Raf Simon's Dior. But does it matter to those in the audience? Probably not. 

Granted, perhaps Kayne doesn't care about the buyers. Not in a rude way but in the sense that his star power alone will move units. He doesn't need to impress Barney's or Bergdorf's buyers to stock his designs, hell, he doesn't need to impress even me. Ultimately, he's the selling point, his celebrity will do the work. Looking at this from outside the realm of fashion, this wasn't just a fashion show for the sake of fashion, this was also an opportunity to promote his music tying the two artistic forms into one entity. This is 100% about Kayne West. It's not about making friends or playing nice with other designers, he's made that clear by going off on his own opposed to applying and following the CDFA schedule. It's about Kayne West, promoting himself, his work, as one unified being. But at the same time, if this is the way that fashion shows will be heading, then what's the point in attending?  

For more interesting reads on Kanye's fashion show/album drop spectacle check out:

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