I should hanging my head in shame for making my first proper bumper post on a show in Paris revolve around what by all accounts was a poor collection but I promise I have a point to make, one that is time-sensitive before I move on to what has really excelled this week and also slightly personal.
I don't know why. I don't know how. I'm not sure if it was anything to do with minor encounters with Kanye, where I sat next to him at Danielle Scutt yonks ago and he said he liked my shoes or the time his assistant who runs his blog said to me that Kanye checks out my blog but somehow I got one of those 100 tickets for the show.
Willy Wonka golden ticket? Hardly, but to say that I wasn't intrigued would be a lie. Kanye, Kanyeezy, the Yeezy is a bundle of contradictions. Despite all the fuck-ups and the DOH! moments, I'll always think of him as one our generation's most ambitious music game-changer. What of him as a fashion designer then? It's all too tempting to pull out that old chestnut about the ghastliness of celebrity fashion lines but I along with many others were inclined to think that Kanye might be an exception. His incessant show going. The random internship applications. I can say that on eye-witness account when he's looking at clothes in a collection, he seems to be diligently taking mental notes as opposed to attending the show just to put a starry bum on a seat. Then there were the names that were being tossed about who have supposedly consulted/helped - Louise Goldin, Dean Quinn, Katie Eary were the Central Saint Martins bunch being talked up - all still to be verified for sure (non-disclosure contracts and all…) but their possible participation definitely clued us into expecting something worth talking up.
To say that what we saw in the slick white box lit up with UV light (see my trainers glow unnaturally below in the image shot by Garance Dore) didn't quite hit the spot is an understatement. You've all read the verdicts. At best, Kanye is praised for bravado. At worst, it was a complete and utter disaster. I'd say I'm somewhere towards the mild end of the scale but what really sealed the conclusion was not upon seeing the clothes but the verdicts after.
As soon as the show was over, a deluge of tweets flooded through, lambasting the collection. "Don't give up the day job" was the consensus. That line particularly hit a spot and I think I'm about to have my own cray-cray Kanye I couldn't help but think of the strange parallels between myself and yup, Mr West. An amateur having a go at something he/she loves, giving up the 'day job' to pursue a passion. The similar doubts from the 'insiders', the people with authority that decree that you don't belong in that industry. If you think fashion bloggers have reached a perfect zenith, you'd be wrong. Walking into a show and having eyes stare at you wondering why you're even there is something that I'm well used to and on a universally larger scale, before even having put a stitch out, the jury was already out on West's collection judging by the numerous malicious comments.
Yes, with West's connections and means, the collection could have been miles better but in amongst the ravel of fur, ill fitting dresses and an overabundance of zippers, I still felt there was something there that spoke of an intention to directional design. Something in the use of volume in the white pleated sections. Something in the giant fur backpack which despite its material was a standout piece for me. Something in the pearl embroidery that could have been awesome were it not for the lack of finesse in the finish. There were touches of SOMETHING that I thought could have been interesting if developed fully, fitted properly and pulled together with cohesion. I'll be slammed for this but give me a half-baked collection with an inkling of good ideas over a perfectly executed, but not very exciting one any day. I will say though that I think it was a mistake for West to choose Paris as his debut platform. New York might have been a kinder beginning.
The point of all this rambling is that the show was a learning curve, and one that West and co. will hopefully have taken onboard. He's certainly not alone when it comes to designers who had dodgy debuts. The slating will continue for sure and so will the cries of "He's JUST a f****** celebrity". The big-me-up speech at his after party doesn't help the cause for my arguing about his hubris levels, but I still see him as a rookie designer, who has the will and the gusto to learn and that's good enough for me. Well, we'll see next season.