In a grand showing Feb. 11, Kanye West took over Madison Square Garden to debut his latest fashion installment, “Yeezy Season 3.” Although the show combines elements of both clothing and shoes, fans have always clamored over the footwear produced in his partnership with Adidas. Previously released as the Yeezy 350s, 750s and 950s, these shoes sold out almost instantly, leaving sneaker fans eagerly awaiting the next new product from West.
Vanessa Beecroft, an Italian contemporary artist known for her art performance pieces and a longtime collaborator of West’s, helped him create this latest installment. “Yeezy Season 3” coincided with the debut of West’s newest album, “The Life of Pablo,” further garnering excitement from fans of the hip-hop mogul.
Fans crowded into theaters across the world to see West’s new ideas live.
The show began ominously, with camera shots of the arena from different angles, showing two large blankets covering a massive object. The next shot zoomed in on West, dramatically walking in with Lamar Odom and the Kardashian clan, leading them to their seats before walking down to the side of the arena. He plugged in his laptop and started playing the album, surrounded by other hip-hop stars like A$AP Rocky, Kid Cudi, Travis Scott and Pusha T. After the music ended, the covers came off, revealing two raised stages each holding about 20 models, surrounded by nearly 200 people dressed in bright, eye-catching clothing.
The cinematography presents a complex aspect of the show. Many shots were close-ups of faces that exhibited nothing from West’s fashion line. However, the shots helped capture the stoic emotion of the models, a staple of Beecroft’s performances. The steady panning over the clothes and the lack of consistent camera angles added a refreshing twist to the performance, even though the same subjects were shown for over an hour. However, the show did not feature enough of the shoes, which remain the highlight of “Yeezy Season 3”.
“I mean, it’s the number one shoe,” West said to the camera after the show. The 1050s, a brand-new type of Yeezys, were mostly absent from the camera shots, with more coverage of West’s clothing. Designed in a similar fashion to the 950s, the new 1050s are bulkier and waterproof, almost like a Yeezy snow boot. West told the audience he hopes the shoes will eventually become cheaper and produced more widely.
The clothing remains reminiscent of his past lines, and will likely never see mainstream appeal. Similar to before, many of the outfits emphasize minimalism and the innovative footwear. This year, the line features a lot of earthy tones, but with accents of bright hues such as purple or pink. Perhaps most interesting about the presentation was the models’ variety of poses with accessories and bags. Furthermore, each model wore clothing of differing lengths and styles, a departure from the ordinary shirt-and-pant combination.
Compared to previous seasons, which included mostly monochrome clothing, this season saw a wider use of color and combinations that made even the natural colors seem vivid. Also incorporating a greater selection of fabrics, such as leather, this year’s line added a new dimension to West’s previous signature designs. Interestingly, out of the 200 people surrounding the bottom of the stages, none seemed to be wearing clothing designed by West. Rather, most of the clothing looked thrifted and dyed to fit the color scheme of the show, evidence of West’s lack of forethought, leading to a show that included clothes not of his own design.
The biggest weakness of the show arose from a consistent air of amateurishness that came from West’s actions, most of which did not seem rehearsed, even though the show had nearly 20 million viewers. Not only did he show up late to the event, but he chose not to perform the album live, instead using his laptop to play the music. As the album played, he simply stood around dancing to the music, and later, even began passing the auxiliary cord to his friends.
However, in terms of the holistic experience presented, the show was a satisfactory celebration of West’s achievements and a showcase of his abilities. West continues to challenge conventions, even allowing fellow rappers such as Young Thug to smoke marijuana on stage during a performance in “Yeezy Season 3”. West’s success is evident in his ability to sell out a world-renowned arena such as MSG in 10 minutes. Despite all the imperfections of “Yeezy Season 3”, the remarkable combination of the launch of West’s newest clothing line and an album debut still created a historic show for both fashion and music.
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