For years, Kanye West has been the center of attention for his explosive language, offensive gestures and his sometimes pervasive yet amazing musical talent. Last week, however, West was recognized not for his musical genius or his arrogance (that most of the time is warranted) but for the premiere of his clothing line during Paris Fashion Week.
Since blowing up in the late 00’s, West has become one of the most sought after style icons in the music community. From Louis Vutton to Marc Jacobs, West has been featured not only as a spokesman for numerous fashion houses around the globe but is synonymously known has the pretty boy of the rap industry– turning both cultural stereotypes and gender roles upside down. Quite honestly, West is the Prince of our time (yes I said it) if for no other reason than his ability to generate fans not strictly on the basis of his musical talent (which he clearly possesses) but also, because he’s so ridiculously stylish and daring.
So after years of being the self proclaimed “flyest rapper alive” and launching several small projects (Air Yeezys with Nike, retail line Past Tell and small projects with major designers like Louis Viutton ) Kanye West decided to leap off of his spaceship and launch his very own major line. And with the support of several industry big wigs, he successfully graced Paris Fashion Week–one of the biggest fashion shows in the entire world that some designers will never see–his first year out of the gate.
(Drum roll please) Welcome DW Kanye West.
*Perhaps the acronyms are for his late mother, Dr. Donda West
But does being stylish automatically mean you can design an entire line?
For those who don’t know, designers do not get to show EVERYTHING that they design during these events. The process of elimination when deciding what “looks” to showcase during fashion week is detrimental. They must first assess what looks will be the most trendy and fit into the shows theme. They then spend months evaluating the fluidity of the pieces with one another and those lucky few make it to the runway. Not only are these planned seasons in advance (right now, designers are working on Fall/Winter 2012), but they are not ‘mock ups’–these outfits and looks must be complete and functional. This averages somewhere between 20-30 looks and they MUST BE POLISHED. This is what buyers, editors, advertisers and most important retail consumers base their purchasing decisions off of.
That being said, Kanye West may have come up a little short. Mainly because the expectations were SO high for him, Paris was expecting more. And because West has deemed himself an international trendsetting extrordinaire, perhaps they should have been.
Wests’ looks were seasonally appropriate and mildly eccentric, showing off what I assume he most admires about the female form. In some ways, they lacked follow through and appeared poorly tailored. Plus, even though most designers aren’t afraid to put a few “haute” looks on the runway, the kind you make visually appealing but would never expect anyone to wear, most garments are usually…wearable. Throughout his pairings, there were hints of some his favorite companies and fashion houses–most notably, American Apparel and Marc Jacobs–with nearly nude cuts and metallic fabric.
Here’s a little footage from the show
Many of the harsher criticisms a buzz in both the US and Paris blogosphere noted that West was a beginner and that his looks resembled an amueter, premature attempt at high fashion (not quoting any one source particularly). My response to that is….well he IS a newbie. Everyone has to start somewhere. It’s rumored that he worked with graduate students from Central Saint Martins in London, which may also be a contributing factor to the rather amateur feeling of the line.Whatever the case, he was given HEAVY media attention (as usual) and left a rather large impact on the fashion community. His biggest supporters were among some of the biggest, best selling names in the industry, including the Olsen Twins who won their first CDFA award earlier this year for their luxury label, The Rowe. Others included DSquared2’s Dean and Dan Caten and Adidas loyalist, Jeremy Scott.
I just wonder if anyone will buy it….
Check out these blogs for more coverage of PFW (#ParisFashionWeek):