After editors waited in a cold, crowded vestibule for nearly an hour for Kanye West's inaugural adidas #YEEZY collection to begin, the rapper slash designer fully redeemed himself by rewarding them with: Beyoncé in bare legs and red strappy sandals, a moody Vanessa Beecroft set piece, a cool, logo-free collection, and a new Yeezy song called Wolves. A pretty casual squad turned up: Alexander Wang, Anna Wintour, Jay and Bey, Justin Bieber, Rihanna, Kim Kardashian, Big Sean. Whatevs.
Yes, baby North fussed on Kim's bodacious lap, and seemed to annoy her neighbour Anna Wintour. When I asked Kanye backstage (glowing with a majestic diamond grill piece) why North cried, he responded, "Maybe she was just scared for her daddy. She just wanted people to stop being mean to her daddy. Because she knows that her daddy loves the world and just wants to make it a more beautiful place."
He's certainly trying. Kanye's earnest commitment to fashion saw its fullest expression to date in this show, which blended artistic elements in an interesting way. The soundtrack included a live trumpetist, a K.W. voiceover ("I want to create something better for you."), and the aforementioned Yeezy track (featuring Sia and Vic Mensa). It's always a good sign when Jay Z bounces in his seat. i-D's Casting Director Angus Munro pulled together a large, hyper-diverse cast of cool kids.
As to how he collaborated with legendary artist Vanessa Beecroft, Yeezy explained, "Me and Vanessa and her husband Federico just kept bouncing ideas. She really pushed and drove it to be something that was her absolute communication against the idea of bags that you could buy at the adidas store."
Kanye insisted on the unexpected, with the collection relying on colour and texture rather than hip-hop posturing to tell the story. He referenced the greats, from Margiela (nude body stockings) to Raf Simons (camo flight jackets). "I thought it was something really new to have this adidas collaboration where adidas sort of positioned themselves as an LVMH or a Kering group, and supported me as a creative," he said. "It was more about using their resources and their technology than it was about using their logo. Did that trip you out to see? What did you think when you saw no logos and shit?" (For the record, I think I mumbled that it was "beautiful and organic.")
The ultimate goal of the collection? In Kanye's words: "Super great vibes. I'd like for life to somehow be easier when you throw on a piece." Lots of Kanye fans will be hoping for easy living this weekend, when his #YEEZYBOOST sneakers drop on Valentine's Day.
Text Rory Satran
Photography Kate Owen