Eric Wilson's Front Row Diary: Kanye West Gets It Right at #NYFW
Say what you will about Kanye West, fashion designer, but you’ve got to admit the man has style.
Oh yes, there was that little incident a few years back. You know the one. Young, ambitious, and gifted in so many ways, West attempted the impossible by trying to conquer Paris Fashion Week in a single bound, only to find himself subject to the slings of critics and various other fashion meanies. That experience might have rattled him a bit, but West does not give up, nor should he.
Fashion loves a spectacle, especially when the clothes are good, too. On Thursday afternoon, that’s just what West delivered with his new collection for Adidas, both extremely effectively and somewhat annoyingly. Guests were made to stand outside like sad sheep on the West Side Highway for more than 40 minutes before the doors to his show even opened. I suspect this was an intentional metaphor.
Once inside, things went surprisingly smoothly considering West’s production included a runway concept arranged by Vanessa Beecroft (the models stood as a troop in the center of a claustrophobia-inducing square room), and the guests were Rihanna, Beyoncé, Jay Z, Justin Bieber, Alexander Wang, Kim Kardashian, and North West. And the showmanship was excellent, beginning with a recorded speech by West reminding the audience that people sometimes question, why he’s still trying, along with his response: “As an artist in this world, we can do whatever we want.”
As each row of four or five models at the front line of the group made way for those behind, eventually we saw the clothes, which included carrot-legged sweats, some A-line camo coats (pictured, below left), oversized parkas, and moth-eaten sweaters that were all perfectly desirable. What I really liked was the short camp cape-jacket Kardashian was wearing (pictured, below right) as she carried North backstage when the baby started crying.
While it’s not the Paris couture just yet, the show was still a triumph for West, and perhaps that’s because his designs just make more sense in New York.
Only two days in, and there’s already a fond sense of Americana turning up on the runways, notably in the Creatures of the Wind collection, which included a coat topped with a fur stole of a star motif (pictured, below left). And also at Coach, where designer Stuart Vevers continued to twist American classics, this season focusing on biker jackets and great shearling boots. He even made a sweater of the American flag, rendered in black and white (pictured, below middle).
And it doesn’t get any more American than Polo, so no surprise Ralph Lauren’s fall lineup was full of great cable-knit sweaters and sweet vests, along with some surprises, like sharp tuxedoes and a ballgown skirt in hot pink (pictured, above right).