The 5 Things That Worked About Kanye's Fashion Show (The Clothes Weren't One Of Them)

Whether or not you like Kanye's music, believe his antics are inspired or just annoying, or think that the world really needs a chukka-sneaker hybrid that costs $350, you have to admit that Kanye has had a profound influence on fashion. We plotted the trajectory of his influence back in June, and since, he's embarked on a few more projects including the debut of his Yeezy 750 Boost that he showed off today during the Kanye West and adidas Originals Kanye Season 1.  

It's Kanye's first return to the runway since his embarrassing eponymous flop in Paris three years ago. (Said The New York Times'  Eric Wilson about Kanye's spring '12 collection, "What Mr. West showed was confusing.") The main criticism was that of all the ideas, references, and enthusiasm that Kanye had for the collection, the workmanship wasn't there. Kanye has been course-correcting since, and his latest collection with adidas is definitely not a rehash of Paris. Here's what worked.

1. The hype was there, and it wasn't just coming from inside the show.
The show set up tiers of access — from the 100+ invited to the actual event via anorak invitation to those watching the livestream in select cinemas around the world. Those who didn't get access (or, let's be honest, were still in school) could follow along on social media. While it only trended on Twitter for a blip, it did dominate our feeds in a way that most shows haven't been able to.

sneak peek! we're here at kanye west's adidas debut #nyfw 📷: @colindouglasgray

A photo posted by @mtvstyle on


2. He had the support of both his peers and the establishment.

One of the earliest bits of information leaked about the show was that Anna Wintour was present. Fashion publications (including our own) were invited among other designers. Of course, Rihanna, Bieber, Diddy, Beyoncé, Jay, and North West were also accounted for — guess who had to duck out early. 

3. There wasn't any innuendo.
Kanye says what Kanye thinks, and even when he's being tactful, there's really not much of a filter (as evidenced by his take-back joke during the Grammys). Soundtracked over the show was a recording saying, "I'm here to crack the pavement and make new ground. There's a lack of creativity in every field…people are afraid to create. I want people to think awesome is possible."

4. It wasn't just about the clothes (which is a good thing).
In terms of the collection itself, things weren't as revolutionary — or "pavement-cracking" — as promised. It was a lineup of oversized jackets, sweatshirts, sweaters, and leggings, interspersed with Vanessa Beecroft-inspired nude-colored underwear. A camo parka that Kim Kardashian also wore was a highlight, and we thought the oversized backpack was a clever accessory that'll probably make it into a healthy stack of editorials. But overall? Meh.

But, though most people came for the clothes, they best treat they got was a new Kanye track debut called "Wolves" (see video embed below) featuring Vic Mensa and Sia.

#NYFW — 5 Shades of Nude at #KanyeWest x #AdidasOriginals 🔋#YeezyBoost

A photo posted by openingceremony (@openingceremony) on

5. He used a refreshingly diverse group of models.
Short, tall, sample size, not sample-size...while the diversity in the show wasn't quite a true-to-life cross-section of America (or even the subway car during your morning commute), it was a much more interesting line-up of bodies than what we normally see during New York Fashion Week.
Enjoy the full video below:



Opener image courtesy of @complexstyle.

For all things Fashion Week around the world — including street style snaps, designer news, and the trends you'd actually wear, head over to Refinery29's Fashion Month hub.   

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