Fashion people seem very civilized until there's a crush to get into a show venue — then the elbows come out. And nothing beat the crush to get into IMG's Chelsea show space on Wednesday afternoon, where several hundred people — many of them covered in sweat after a hot wait outside — sought a glimpse of one of the most anticipated collections of the week: Kanye West's second for Adidas, dubbed Yeezy Season 2.
Once again, West assembled a gawk-worthy front and even second row: his wife, Kim Kardashian, holding their daughter North, occupied front row center, flanked by Vogue's Anna Wintour on her right and Givenchy's Riccardo Tisci on her left. Wintour's favorite comedian, Seth Meyers, sat on her right, sportingly wearing a pair of grey Yeezy Boosts. Lorde, Kourtney and Khloé Kardashian, "Live! With Kelly and Michael" host Michael Strahan, Debbie Harry, Michael Stipe and Courtney Love were also present front row; Kendall Jenner, perhaps because she is less senior than her sisters, was seated behind her family in the second row. Her sister, Kylie, once again was in the show — though she was hard to pick out under a baseball cap.
This season's venue was smaller than last, and as a result, there were fewer seats, and far fewer people in standing, which made for a more organized show. (This season, Karla Otto took over the invitations and front-of-house — the same agency that represented West when he showed collections under his own name in Paris in 2011 and 2012.)
When the lights went on, a model stepped out in weatherproof boots and a dusty pink sweatshirt, hood pulled up, and began calling out marching orders. Models — most of whom, like last season, did not have typically model-esque proportions — lined up in rows and proceeded slowly, which was nice. The pacing, along with the improved lighting, gave the audience a real chance to look at the clothes.
The collection was remarkably in line with the first — West stuck to the same palette and overall aesthetic. The show opened with nude bodysuits and leggings (though no body stockings), broadening into a palette of dusty pink, faded army green, tan and olive. As the colors of the clothing got darker, so too did the models' skin. Crew-neck sweatshirts, slouchy sweatpants, cargo jackets and kimono-style coats — which, as Fashion Redef's Adam Wray pointed out to me after the show, are similar to the Haider Ackermann pieces West has been frequently photographed wearing — had a well-worn feel, their dropped shoulders their main unifying feature. Looks were often paired with Sorel-style duck boots in neutral colors, which I expect will be Adidas's hot new shoe.
On account of the pacing, the show was longer than usual — and exactly as she did six months ago, West's daughter North began crying out partway through. Smiles broke out; it was a humorous break from what was otherwise a very serious show. West walked out between the models after they had assembled for the finale to take in the applause as his brand new song, "'Fade," rang out over the sound system. Once the models had filed out, West's high-profile friends rushed to congratulate him backstage.
Would people care about these clothes if West didn't design them? Probably not. But it's nice to see the rapper-turned-designer settle on an aesthetic — and have the means to evolve it further. Unlike Yeezy Season 1, which has not yet hit stores, Adidas has no plans to produce this collection.