The political climate in the U.S. already makes many people wonder if we’re living in an alternate universe. Someone better check the alignment of the planets, because Kanye West’s YEEZY Season 5 show was an intimate affair that started relatively on time (at least by fashion standards, which generally adds a 15-20 minute grace period).
Indeed, after last season’s critically derided show, which was located in the far-off venue of Roosevelt Island began a few hours late and saw several models fainting in the sweltering New York heat, West allegedly terminated several team members. And several very vocal fashion editors vowed never to cover his collections again.
But maybe West is beginning to cool to the idea of working with the fashion system and not against it.
This was evidenced in the rescheduling of his Season 5 show, after drawing the ire of Steven Kolb, chief executive of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, for wanting to show at a time that conflicted with other designers’ shows. The two made nice and compromised on an ideal time.
Invites for the show went out earlier this week. Like previous seasons, it was wearable: an oversized olive green sweatshirt with “LOST HILLS” on the stomach and sleeves in chenille letters. (Lost Hills btw is an exit off the 101 freeway in West’s neighborhood of Calabasas.)
Hosted at Pier 59, attendees braved about as many check-in points as the average airport, and were eventually led into a dark room with a pitch black obelisk in the middle. As people got settled, the lights went low and the show began. Set to The-Dream’s reference track of J. Holiday’s “Bed,” looks flashed on the obelisk, turning isometrically before fading to black between looks.
Some of our initial predictions proved to be prescient. There was a heavy sportswear influence on the line. The super-hyped Calabasas adidas trackpants returned in several iterations, including one look with a coordinating top.
The Calabasas theme runs through several pieces in the collection, but most people are likely awaiting more information on the brutalist athletic YEEZY Runners that featured in several looks, and also have been making their rounds on West’s feet.
But more interestingly, YEEZY Season 5 presented a new kind of Americana. Firmly rooted in the workwear and militaria staples of past seasons, this new iteration adds plenty of Western-inspired silhouettes.
Trucker jackets, washed denim, flannel shirts and YEEZY’s trademark woodland camos were prevalent in Carhartt-inspired work jackets and fatigue pants, portraying an elevated everyman aesthetic toeing the line between Walmart utility and Barneys desirability. Reflective fireman’s coats and genuine GORE-TEX outerwear further expanded on the YEEZY oeuvre.
West’s inclusive vision of Americana echoes other designers like Raf Simons, who used his latest eponymous collection as well as his Calvin Klein debut to plant a flag for his idea of classic American style. Instead of a wistful nostalgia for the past, or a storied worship of hard-wearing goods, the clothes celebrate America as it is, not a bleary eyed look at “the way we were.”
But the most interesting part was the presentation. It was a show for the Snap and Instagram generation — and not just because the show included models like Sofia Richie and Luka Sabbat.
Through projecting all the looks on a four-sided pillar, there was literally not a bad seat in the house. Everyone in the front row to the people standing in the back got to see the same amount of detail.
And considering how many people held their phones up as the looks showed on screen, maybe West knows what the audience is really looking for.
West declined to show his face at the end of the show, although unsurprisingly the backstage area was rammed with rap and pop culture mega-celebs.