In the lead-up to his Yeezy Season 4 show, Kanye West ruffled some fashion feathers. The casting call for “multiracial women only” was branded controversial, and the last-minute announcement that the show would be streaming via Tidal had many thinking it would follow the non-traditional model of February’s Season 3 show (an album playback-cum-art installation). And in an interview with Vogue posted hours prior to the show, West made a point of being anti-elitist. He said his garments were “apparel”, not fashion, with a purposefully limited colour palette to give them a timeless appeal.
Despite these purist intentions, initial reports about the show, which took place in Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island, sounded more Zoolander than utilitarian. There was a time delay, models fell, collapsed in the heat and many thought that model Jasmine Sanders was, in fact, Malia Obama.
But what about the clothes? We’d already seen West’s wife Kim Kardashian in perspex, over-the-knee boots, and this collection focused on close-fitting styles: athleisure unitards, knitted cut-out tops, oversize hoodies and jackets, and elasticated separates.
The colour scheme was toned down from the earth tones of red, sand and orange that dominated Season 3. Instead, the palette was creme, beige, nude, brown and muted pistachio. Its had quite a mass appeal and honed Yeezy’s aesthetic: terra firma bodycon. Like Season 3, it was also a statement about black female beauty and style, which is a victory in itself.
If West was experimenting with what fashion means now, Tom Ford, who showed later in the day, went for old-school glamour. Fresh from promoting his film Nocturnal Animal in Venice, he showed at the legendary Four Seasons hotel with a frow that was very Hollywood (Tom Hanks, Jon Hamm and Julianne Moore). The clothes were equally luxurious: shimmering sequins and ombre feathers met leather and velvet in pencil-thin silhouettes evoking classic Tinseltown glamour and elegance.
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