Kanye West had a not-so-well-received debut on the Paris fashion scene last October, but he soldiered through the bad reviews and sent a second collection down the runways yesterday, doubling-down on his preferred aesthetic of shaggy fur and leather. Kim Kardashian, Diddy and Waka Flocka were all there sitting on the front row, but how did he do with the critics? Here's what people had to say, which ranged from "much improved" to "keep your day job":
Tim Blanks, on Style.com:
But the element of surprise has always been one of the secret weapons of his music, and it popped up in his sophomore fashion effort by simple virtue of the fact that West won a much-improved badge.
He reduced his first collection's profligacy to a more concise statement in leather, velvet, and astrakhan, most often in black and always wrapping a legging or pencil-skirted lean silhouette. It was a declaration that West is learning self-discipline in design, and he amplified it aggressively with the martial music, the harsh makeup, the gladiatorial footwear, the odd croc collars.
"Rap with a capital C" was how we headlined Kanye West's execrably executed first incursion into Paris Pret-a-Porter last September. That said it all.
Tonight West came back for more - and good on him. He may be utterly unqualified to show as a designer in Paris, but he certainly has chutzpah.
And the collection? Well, it was no hit - but neither was [it a] hit with a capital S.
And Robin Givhan, of The Daily Beast, tweeted:
Kanye West collection: a better sophomore effort. Clothes mostly fit! But must every garment be made from a pelt?— Robin Givhan (@RobinGivhan) March 6, 2012
Kanye West: a little Givenchy, a little Costume National. Will the real Kanye please stand up?— Robin Givhan (@RobinGivhan) March 6, 2012
Eric Wilson of The New York Times got in a mini-argument with West at a preview of the collection when West refused to answer questions about the collection:
And Mr. West may be right to let his clothes speak for themselves, since they are oh so loud. This show started out O.K., with a series of tough-looking black leather and suede outfits based off of a motorcycle jacket. And it ended with go-karts spinning around two tracks on either side of the runway, which made Anna Wintour smile...
When Joan Smalls closed the show, wearing an adhesive black gauze dress with a strip of alligator running up the front, it seemed as if Mr. West’s approach to making a dress was like a cook wrapping leftover turkey.
In an effort to be extra fair, I will say I liked an oversize cream sweatshirt with zippers running up the sleeves.