Kanye West Fall 2012: The Critics Weigh In


Kanye West
Photo: Patrick McMullan
Kanye West.

After a less than favorably-received debut collection, Kanye West was back on the Paris runway Tuesday night. How’d he fare this time around? (See the collection!)

By all accounts: better. (Or, as the New York Times’ Eric Wilson put it, “Harder, faster, stronger, maybe just a little bit better.”) But according to the critics, West still has a long way to go.

The Wall Street Journal’s Christina Binkley broke the bad news first. “This Kanye West collection was so Givenchy-esque that it’s embarrassing that Givenchy designer Riccardo Tisci was an expected guest,” she wrote. “Kanye, whatever your legal arrangement, cribbing is cribbing. Ten points off for copying the smart guy sitting next to you.”

She did have some positive feedback for the rapper-cum-designer, though. “Next, the good news: this Kanye collection is a massive improvement. When I asked how he managed it, Mr. West dissembled and said he’d spent a lot of time in ‘libraries.’ This second Kanye West collection was a vast improvement over his first. The question outstanding: Whose is it?”

Newsweek/The Daily Beast’s Robin Givhan echoed Binkley’s criticisms. “Kanye West: a little Givenchy, a little Costume National,” she tweeted. “Will the real Kanye please stand up? ... A better sophomore effort,” she continued. “Clothes mostly fit! But must every garment be made from a pelt?”

Wilson shared an awkward moment with the designer pre-show, when West decided that he did not want to give any press a preview, as planned, and kicked Wilson out.

“Mr. West may be right to let his clothes speak for themselves, since they are oh so loud,” Wilson wrote. “This show started out O.K., with a series of tough-looking black leather and suede outfits based off of a motorcycle jacket. … Karlie Kloss wore a leather jacket that, kind of interestingly, had no back, but then there was again a preponderance of questionable fur looks, including pants that were broadtail on the front, clingy fabric on the back. When Joan Smalls closed the show, wearing an adhesive black gauze dress with a strip of alligator running up the front, it seemed as if Mr. West’s approach to making a dress was like a cook wrapping leftover turkey.”

Style.com’s Tim Blanks was a bit kinder. “The element of surprise has always been one of the secret weapons of his music, and it popped up in his sophomore fashion effort by simple virtue of the fact that West won a much-improved badge,” he wrote, calling the collection a “precise statement” and a “declaration that West is learning self-discipline in design.”

“West has always known how to make worlds collide, in his music, at least,” he continued. “How that talent might translate into an asset for his fashion remains up in the air.”

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