Kanye West debuted his latest collection of clothing entitled “Yeezy Season 4” September 7. The show featured the models sporting different but similar styled attire in the same military color palette that Kanye has been using in all of his apparel. Critics and celebrities alike complained that not only was the show difficult to get to seeing as how they all had to take a bus to get to the show being held on Roosevelt Island but, it also started more than an hour and a half late and on top of that the models were placed in a difficult predicament and had to stand still in the heat for hours. In conclusion, guests were displeased by the event and how it was handled. But, that wasn’t the only controversy that the show faced, when it came to the casting call West tweeted a casting note that specified “multiracial women only” a tweet which faced instant backlash on social media. Kanye responded to the backlash during an interview with Vogue, “The ten thousand people that showed up didn’t seem to have a problem with it.”He stated that the concept was meant to be a way of getting a variation of blacks. “How do you word that you want a variation of black?” Kanye said, “How do you word that exactly?”
Figure 1: AP Photo/Leanne Italie
In response to his show fashion critics took to social networking sites like twitter to voice their displeasure and frustration with the show. From tweeting about the lack of comfort and simplicity of the bus that West used to escort them to tweets about the treatment of the models who were apparently not all professional and were hired via a casting call. Robin Gavin a fashion critic for the Washington Post tweeted, “Is this the show? Waiting until the model collapse one by one? #Yeezyseason4 #NYFW. Am I complicit? What’s going on!”
Veteran supermodel Amber Valletta also commented on the show telling a Pret-a-reporter during Jimmy Choo’s 20th anniversary that she felt bad for the girls. “I think what people really need to think about is when you design something, you need to see it move and breathe. You need to think about different conditions — especially if you’re going to do a show.” She also continued to further comment on the two models who had trouble walking in their shoes saying, “If you’re going to do it outside in 85-degree weather, you have to ask, ‘What are these shoes going to do?’ Or ‘Can my girls walk?’ It’s important.”
Figure 2: @Booth Via Twitter
Kanye West isn’t the first fashion mogul to have dysfunctions at his show. Models trip, pass out, and fall all the time at shows. It comes with the territory of the job and the blame cannot always be placed on the designer. During New York Fashion week in February 2016 a young male model, Logan Flatte, passed out during a presentation of the fall collection to an important buyer from Saks Fifth Avenue. In an article by the New York Times Delvin Carlson creative director of the men’s wear label chapter said that in standing presentations like the CWST show fainting occurs commonly more often than runway shows. “This happens because the models are being asked to be living mannequins, posing under bright light displays for one to two hours with no break.” A case similar to what happened at Kanye West’s showcase but, instead of being under artificial lighting the models were dealing with nature and its natural lighting and heat. In the New York Times article the writer Steven Kuruitz writes, “… many says it’s what happens on the outside of the show that leads to the wooziness: staying out late, clubbing the night before, spending the morning rushing from appointment to appointment forgetting to hydrate.” Are all contributions as to why models pass out during shows, and could also be a contributing factor as to why the models at Kanye show were passing out and sitting on the ground. In their case, it was their big break or their first time doing a major show or one such as his. Many of the models were hired via casting calls making them inexperienced and possibly first timers.
Figure 3: Courtesy of Yeezy
In response to the critics at his show Kanye tweeted a series of tweets thanking his supporters for being a part of his “Creative journey”. He also addressed the controversy during a performance at Fashion Week at the Plaza Hotel. West claimed that he tried he best not to try and that he tried to listen to all the reports and tried his best to stop trying. But, he couldn’t do it no matter what they wrote West claims that he “Just couldn’t stop”.
Overall the show had a very interesting concept in my opinion being done outside and having a runway go around the models standing in the middle to show case the clothes in two different ways. But it also came off as inhumane because I feel that the heat and humidity was not taken into context when it came to the health of these newly found models that they basically got off the street. The even could’ve been held in doors to prevent the cases of fainting models and the mode of transportation could have been more luxurious to better hype up his critics for his show. Instead they were greeted with your standard bus and had to wait an hour and a half for the show to start. In conclusion I’d have to say that I expected nothing less when it comes to Kanye West, good or bad his name always stays relevant for the actions that he does.
These are the sites from which I got my information from.