02 October 2011

Paris Fashion Week Spring Summer 2012 Report: Kanye West

Kanye West's debut show was always going to be a talking point, but pre-show it was all people were talking about - loudly and excitedly - post-show it was too, but either with a smirk, raised eyebrow or embarrassed whisper.

You may have seen some of the reviews by now, one editor compared it to having an MRI scan (such was the lighting in the venue), another tweeted saying that she was 'still laughing at the Kanye show #MESS', while one was overheard saying it was like bad prostitute clothes, and the general consensus was that Mr West should stick to what he does best and leave fashion be. So where did it all go wrong?

There have been rumours for months about who the hip-hop star had employed to ghost design the collection, or to advise him on the design of the collection. Louise Goldin and Katie Eary were considered dead certs. But as Louise is a knit designer and Katie a menswear designer, both with completely different aesthetics, they never seemed like likely design partners. But then maybe they weren't. For Kanye took the bow solo at the end. Whoever it was, it is unlikely that anyone will admit to it now. Heavy leather looks, confusing hooded dresses, slashed bandage dresses, thick knits, lots of fur (Spring Summer, Kanye, HELLO??!) and £14,000 worth of trimmings and zips it would seem.

Yes he was spotted at St Martins a few times, and he probably did speak to Louise Wilson there about his ideas, and he put in his research by being a front row fixture every fashion season for years now, but that does not a designer make. There is no doubt that Kanye loves fashion, but he needs to scrub up on what women actually want to wear. Maybe ex-girlfriend Amber Rose is to blame, as she has worn some shocking things over the years...

Also, fashion eds have gone for the jugular with Kanye as everyone thinks he is an easy target. Ok, so maybe showing during Paris Fashion Week wasn't his best idea, and yes the collection was pretty bad, but it was the hottest ticket in town on Saturday. Critics would never savage any other designers collections, no matter how dreadful, the way they have savaged this debut, and it all feels like everyone is pointing and laughing at Kanye for daring to take a stab at fashion, which is somehow ok because he is successful in his other career. But really, it's not.

- Kay Barron in Paris


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