Kanye West Fall 2012 Review

Launch Slideshow

With a front row including not only a white-hot selection of celebrities—Sean 'P. Diddy' Combs, Azealia Banks and… Kim Kardashian (can't win them all)—but the kind of fashion heavyweight crowd (Anna Wintour included) that most designers can only dream of regardless of their level in the industry, Kanye West's sophomore show had a lot to live up to. The hype, that is—his first show was panned almost universally, and after such a baptism of fire Kanye really had nothing to lose.

Maybe that devil-may-care sense allowed West to let loose during the design process. We're not entirely sure how involved he is in that process, but certainly this season seemed less tortured than last. It also had a clear, definable direction: sexy. Really sexy. But actually sexy, not a hodgepodge attempt with ill-fitting dresses and spindly seven-thousand-dollar stilettos (Ms. Kardashian was sporting those numbers at her own risk).

Azzedine Alaïa was at Kanye's last show, and whatever he whispered in his young fan's ear evidently did the trick. There was more of a whisper of Azzedine's Greatest Hits here, all tight black dresses curving around the figure and breaking into volume below the knee. The slice-out backs in biker jackets looked fresh without baring too-much flesh. Everything fit nicely. A belt came unwrapped on the second look (a wardrobe malfunction every designer dreads) but it was the exception rather than the rule.

At the end, dry ice pumped across the back-lit, stadium-sized runway as a troupe of go-karts suddenly began racing around tracks either side of the audience. Yes, really. Mr. West should have more confidence in his abilities—unlike last season's faltering first step, this collection didn't need to rely on distractions. (See the gallery to see the collection!)