Where the runway meets the street
20 more

Over the weekend we reported on the first womenswear collection by Kanye West, shown during Paris Fashion Week. While celebrities and fashion designers of the highest caliber were sitting in on the show, a couple of days later the reviews are mixed. We cannot say that we are surprised. Richard Bridgman of Materialiste attended the show and produced a review for Highsnobiety here below.

It was the most eagerly anticipated event of Paris Fashion Week for the Spring Summer 2012 ready-to-wear shows. Journalists, bloggers and hype-lovers everywhere spent a great deal of time and energy speculating as to what Kanye West’s first ever womenswear effort could possibly look like. The answer came all too quickly tonight as fashion’s favorite rapper unveiled the enigmatic « DW ».

West’s team made the unusual venue choice of Lycée Henri IV, a private college in the famous Latin Quarter, thus setting the tone for a relatively sober, almost scholarly collection. So keen was West to please after his failed ‘Pastelle’ line that he seemed to edge too far on the side of caution. There were no bold Givenchy-inspired prints, no futuristic, avant-garde designs. Not a hint of bling on the horizon.

The runway itself could not have been more minimalist: a white box bathed in violet light. Such sleek chic is a far cry from some of West’s own wardrobe choices, further widening the distance between the man as musician and the man as designer. Even the soundtrack was fairly tame, ranging from classic Lauryn Hill to mainstream rap.

Staple pieces in the collection included beautifully cut cocktail dresses, pants and tops in nude tones, black, silver and white. Occasional hints of colour cut through otherwise monotone pieces. Luxury was the order of the day, with fur and leather being used generously and intelligently on a number of pieces.

If timeless chic is what Kanye West was aiming for, he did nonetheless manage to achieve a certain ‘freshness’, a rawness that came from details such as jump rope cords and zips or accessories including an imposing fur rucksack. This was no middle-aged collection.

There’s little doubt that the highlight of the show were the shoes specially designed by Giuseppe Zanotti. The man himself was present at the show and looked on with pride as his protégé took a bow.

All in all, it seems quite clear that this elegant, emminently wearable collection more than earns Kanye a place in the fashion stratosphere. Perhaps next season he will feel free to stray into bolder territory as a more seasoned designer.

All images and text were produced by Richard Bridgman of Materialiste for

What To Read Next