By Randy Gener
NEW YORK CITY | It was fashion as performance fart. He is a loud brat, and his new ready-to-wear collection was neither bizarre nor ruinous. It was worse; it was boring and flat.
The models were ordered — commanded! (see the timely tweet pic below or on @skylarbergl‘s Twitter account) — to give blank poses. His people passed around a List of 38 rules to follow.
“No whisper,” “No smile,” “No dancing,” “No eye contact,” “No Fast Movements,” “No Slow Movements” — all of these Kanye-mandments were a fuck-you to the entire idea of a sexy New York Fashion Week. Nope. This was not about walking a runway. It was about running away from resembling any degree of interest.
New York Fashion Week is over. Any fashion review or feature article alleging that Kanye West’s Yeezy Season 3 Fall 2016 show was “disruptive” (Zliving.com) or “mind-blowing” (Huffington Post) or “stunning” (Washington Post) are basically a U.S. media con about news-worthiness. The way CNN and other U.S. mainstream media pundits hoodwink us by basing their entire “hard-news” reporting on the U.S. presidential race on the basis of polling results.
Did the fashion critics and reporters say “muted tones” and “futuristic”? (Yeah, if you call everyday war-refugee robes subtly colored.) “Highly-coveted distressed athleisure and footwear”? (Yeah, if you think the warm palette of saffron, cayenne and cocoa would be appropriate for cease-fire attire.)
By now, you’ve heard. Kanye West “disrupted” New York Fashion Week on Feb. 11, 2016 because he elbowed his way onto the schedule, forcing other designers that lack his clout to scurry out of his way. He turned what was ostensibly a fashion show at Madison Square Guardian into an avant-garde performance, which became a listening party (for “The Life of Pablo,” a new album) and then finally a video-game launch.
And a lot of very dumb people paid $100 a pop so that they could have the privilege of braving the terrible Tuesday rain and see human mannequins draped in streetwear that would not be out of place in Syria or the Middle East or sadder parts of Africa.
Had they had actually been smarter or more au courant they could have seen Kanye West’s no-fashion non-show, they could have just pulled out their Chromecast dongle to view the whole extravaganza in the comfort of their homes or the gym, since it was, after all, being live-streamed simultaneously.
Anna Wintour of Vogue showed up. So what? She spent more time on her cell phone than peering at the distressed fabrics and over-sized jackets.
If she had really and truly cared, she could have sent one of her minions to proofread Kanye’s Commandment which embarrassingly misspelled “lye down” and “netural” and ‘percautios.”
Didn’t that list say “Show pride” and “Behave as if no one was in the room”?
Kanye, dude. You behave as if no dictionary was in the room. “Show pride”? Show that you passed high school. Show us that you paid your 1,200 models larger than Donald Trump paid $50.00 to the film extras who “attended” and “cheered” when he announced his candidacy (candorkacy?) for U.S. president.
Not only did West hire about 1,200 models who were primarily black — and possibly at minimum wage (Look, I have no proof; the models were told not to be interviewed. Basically: “Stand straight.” “Do not break the rules.” “Keep your assigned positions on the floor.”) — but he also surprised the audience with cameos by legendary supermodels Naomi Campbell, Veronica Webb and Alek Wek.
As for the rest of the not-supermodels, they did basically stood still. Onstage. For two hours. While West played his new album in its entirety. While he bludgeoned them —and us — with his kooky monologues.
“Tell me how y’all feel,” he said when the lights went up about 45 minutes later. “Did I keep my promise on that album? Tell me how y’all felt about the clothes this season.”
There was also this: “My dream, I told Anna [Wintour], is to at least just for a couple of years be the creative director of Hermès.”
Most of the 18,000 or so people in the crowd were fans; scalpers were selling tickets outside, and online they were going for four figures. After West thanked Adidas for supporting him and “paying for this” (the show), a large section of the crowd started to chant “Fuck Nike!” And he egged them on by calling out, “You’re not saying that loud enough!”
Granted. The person to probably blame was performance artist Vanessa Beecroft, who was again collaborating with West. A parachute scrim covering the floor of the Garden was pulled back to reveal the 1,200 or so extras whom West and Beecroft had dressed in the monochrome colors—taupe, ochre, red—of previous Yeezy collections. They stood, divided by gender, circling a pair of refugee tents on top of which models, also divided by gender, stood and sometimes sat in Yeezy Season 3
That’s not all. At one point in the show, there was a Black Power First in the Air Moment. Some of the models were showing a public declaration of black pride.
Got it. Black Pride. It’s February — Black History Month. Kanye West has something to say — about corporate politics, race, ego and fame — but he has nothing to communicate through fashion.
I take that back. I know. I know. Take it easy. Just relax. Yeezy does it. According to Kanye’s Season 3 collection, we should chill or work out while looking like skeezy Jedis and ISIS rogues. In any case, everything you need to know about West’s notions about Black Pride can be seen here in the photo below.