at kanye west’s zine release party, gatecrashers were the cool kids
Inside the launch of Yeezy’s NSFW lookbook, which went down in a parking garage last night.
"Season 2 Zine pronounced Zeen short for magazine," West tweeted the other day. "A lot of people pronounce it wrong."
Anyone who still didn't "get" the "concept" would have found last night's release party helpful. The event, held in a parking garage at 75 Kenmare Street, was the social equivalent of an early 90s hand-stapled art project (created by a celebrity, purchased by MTV, and sold in malls all over America).
The photos, shot by Jackie Nickerson, show the tattooed bodies of beautiful naked humans frolicing with horses and one another in sepia landscapes. Printed in large format and hung on the walls of the parking garage, they had a pre-Photoshop quality (that is, until guests posed in front of them for selfies). The photos featured few clothes, but models from the images roamed the party in mesh bodystockings, a shout-out to Yeezy Season 2's neutral, anti-fashion basics. The models were probably cold: the garage was largely unheated, with many windows smashed.
Is it ironic that Kanye West, the man behind the biggest, buzziest NYFW event — today's show/concert/live-streamed extravaganza at Madison Square Garden — is aligning his collection with DIY anarcho-punk? Yeezy!
But it also feels fresh coming on the heels of several years when coolness meant appropriating mass, capitalist culture. Rough-edged populism is wafting through fashion week as much as weed was at the party. Vêtements recently announced it would change its schedule to show current-season clothes, available for actual people to buy in stores. West sold tickets to his concert at Madison Square Garden to the public. News of the release party was tweeted by Virgil Abloh, leading to at least one successful gatecrasher. "I love Kanye so much!" a real estate broker who had spent the afternoon making friends with the parking garage attendants told me. "Don't tell anyone, I'll get kicked out!"
The thing is, it didn't seem like he would have been. "Someone snuck in with my name tonight, which I respect 100 percent," said Instagram personality Kerwin Frost, 15, member of the art and DJ crew Spaghetti Boys. "A couple years ago I was doing that too. It's much more fun to have kids in here who are positive than critical adults who have to get drunk just to talk to each other." I clutch my champagne flute, shamefully.
On the dance floor, a guy with an Ace Hotel tote bag inches away from one of the models wearing a mesh bodystocking and twerking to "Formation." "I don't wanna be that guy," he says after extracting himself. "With cameras on and everyone watching? It's better to stay behind the scenes."
It's a good summary of the party's vibe — excluding the 15 minutes when Kanye West and Kim Kardashian made an appearance. As they looped around to look at the photographs, guys in patched leather jackets and holey t-shirts went from low-key to high-watt, enveloping them in a halo of iPhone flashes.
It's hard to be the Zine King when everybody knows you're Ye.
Text Alice Hines
Images via Instagram