an 11-point guide to everything that went down at yeezy season 4
On the first day of New York Fashion Week, the rapper-cum-designer drew guests from Pharrell to Suzy Menkes to Roosevelt Island, where he staged an ambitious outdoor presentation in the grueling New York heat. Here’s everything that went down, from...
We took the bus: The one that was idling on 11th Avenue for close to an hour. Another was kind of trapped in midtown. We didn't take it back.
Things ran late: Before the show began, West said it was (sort of) inspired by the endless stretch of strip malls and gated communities in Calabasas, California — home of Kardashian HQ. "Gated" unintentionally proved to be the best descriptor of the afternoon: after disembarking from shuttle busses, editors passed through a series of barricades, gates, and holding areas on the way to Four Freedoms Park, a beautiful public space on the southern tip of Roosevelt Island.
There were no male models: Alright, so his controversial casting call for "multiracial women only" sort of gave this one away. But given that West's prior three presentations have featured gender-mixed casts, some were surprised to see no men this time around. However he phrased the ambition, West succeed in assembling a wonderfully diverse cast of shapes and skin tones.
There were a few familiar faces: Sadly, Naomi Campbell did not make a return trip to West's runway, but others did. We spotted Yeezy friends including photographer and model Braina Laviena, Chanel Iman, Amina Blue, and Teyana Taylor's insane abs. The legendary Grace Bol made a commanding appearance, and Sofia Richie enjoyed her NYFW debut.
It was hot: Really hot — like 85 degrees in direct overhead sunlight hot. When guests first arrived, they were greeted by a Beecroftian army of models standing inside of the show's slightly-elevated triangular runway. Twitter users began expressing concern for these stoic, spandex-clad girls — many of whom began to sit down when West's runway models showed little signs of emerging. The show team circulated water among Beecroft's performers, at least one of whom reportedly fainted.
The clothing was military-inspired: Over the past four seasons, West has designed within a utilitarian vein, creating oversized clothing in muted, natural tones that is equal parts sportswear and workwear. Season 4 remained faithful to this aesthetic: jackets arrived in faded real tree camo, and baggy sweats in pale gym class grey. Textures varied from super-sheer stretchy spandex to rich, charcoal velour.
There were a few beloved Adidas pieces, too: Earlier this year, Adidas revealed that it had expanded its partnership with West, and planned to dedicate greater production resources to the Yeezy brand. West returned the love by featuring one of the sportswear giant's most recognizable staples: three-stripe track bottoms. Chanel Iman closed the show in a pair of black and red trackies — a bold pop of color that added vibrancy to West's monochromatic offering.
And some new sneakers: Sneakerheads are buzzing about new styles that debuted at the show. These include: an all-white variation of the Yeezy Boost 350, and a still-unreleased new silhouette that's rumored to hit stores soon, the Yeezy Boost 350 V2.
Kanye took merch in a slightly different direction: Today's merch offerings didn't feature the gothic-style font and layout designed by L.A. artist Cali Thornhill Dewitt that appears on West's hotly coveted TLOP merch (first sold at his Yeezy Season 3 show in February). There were just two long sleeve t-shirts available — one in white, another in neon yellow — that simply listed the show's information in basic Helvetica typeface. The back of the shirts just say "Season 4."
Rappers turned up to show support: Kim, Kylie, and Kendall were joined by a strong contingency of West's hip-hop contemporaries. Recently minted GOOD Music President (and Hillary Clinton-endorsed Rock the Voter) Pusha T held court, as did Pharrell, Atlanta trio Migos, A$AP Ferg, and Tyga.
But the music was minimal this season: In the past, West has used his shows for big musical reveals. His debut outing in 2015 saw the premiere of "Wolves," and last season was pretty much one big listening party for The Life of Pablo: laptop, aux cord, and all (except with Madison Square Garden's sound system). West opted for a much more pared-down soundtrack this time around: a deep, buzzing bass punctuated with evocative vocal loops that sounded as though they're Sia's. I made a joke, wondering aloud if this was the new stuff he'd been working on with Drake. I don't think anyone got it.
Text and Photography Emily Manning