Kanye West is going back to design basics — and it's working in his favor. He may be able to break new sonic ground with virtually any musical experimentation, but West wasn't so lucky when he tried his hand at fashion a few years back. When he premiered his debut fashion line on the Paris catwalks in 2011, it was universally panned by critics, and its follow-up didn't fare much better. Committed avant-fashion fan though he was, West simply lacked the know-how to design a collection as nuanced and refined as those by designers he admired, such as Riccardo Tisci and Phoebe Philo. Or, as he put it to WWD, those initial inexperienced showings were like "hopping in a Lamborghini and driving really fast." If anyone can make "just winging it" work, it's Kanye West — but sometimes you have to learn to work a saw before you just go and build a house.
That's essentially what West is doing with his recent capsule work for French brand A.P.C. Under the guidance of founder, Jean Touitou, he's churning out more focused, cohesive clothing, with his second six-piece collection debuting this weekend in Paris. "[He's] teaching me to drive," West says of Touitou's tutelage. Sometimes it's just best to go with what you know and what West knows better than anything is himself. What he likes, he creates — and for A.P.C.'s fall 2014, that means streamlined versions of the menswear West already espouses: ninja silhouettes, chambray tops and bottoms, and a cool blue bomber jacket. Finally, maybe West is learning that a little modesty, and mentoring, goes a long way. (WWD)