Rapper/scene-stealer Kanye West unveiled a collaboration with Adidas Originals here Thursday in front of a star-studded audience with possibly one of the highest-wattage front rows in New York Fashion Week history. It included (but was hardly limited to) Alexander Wang, Rihanna, Diddy, Jay Z, Beyonce, Anna Wintour and Kim Kardashian West.
The debut Kanye West X Adidas Originals Yeezy Season 1 collection was presented on nine rows of five models each, stepping forward a row at a time at the sound of a live trumpet wail. (According to the notes, the show was conceptualized by West in collaboration with artist Vanessa Beecroft.) While the presentation included the new sneaker that's been burning up the Internet for the last week – a gray high-top with a curved chunky sole that gives the shoe a futuristic moon-boot look (dubbed the Yeezy Boost) – there was a lot – and we mean A LOT – more on offer, including woven low-top sneakers for men and suede stilettos and platform snow boots for women.
The apparel had a definite military vibe, especially the men's offerings, which included a loose-fitting bomber jacket with oversize flap pockets; collarless blouson jackets; slouchy, hole-filled sweaters and oversize sweatpants. The women's collection was more on the curve-hugging side, including tube dresses, body-conscious knit skirts and crop tops made from Adidas socks.
According to the post-show notes, West's goal with the collection is "to absolve consumers of dressing's daily stress by creating a line of high-quality essentials that can be freely combined in infinite ways — 'like Legos.'"
We don't know from Legos, but based on what was presented Thursday, West and the German sneaker and sportswear maker have laid out the building blocks of a fruitful collaboration.
West wasn't the only one staging a noteworthy set piece. The boys at Duckie Brown turned the runway inside out, staging their menswear show with the backstage front and center, models pulling their looks off the rolling racks, shrugging into the clothes and taking their spin down the runway. "We wanted to be transparent," said Daniel Silver, half Duckie's design duo. "Times have been tough, business is hard. We wanted to really open things up and be transparent and show you everything. And we get to watch you watching us."
The clothes were as effortless and easygoing as the sentiment — simple, straightforward, laid-back luxe in the form of silk shirts that wrapped around the torso in a kimono-like fashion, with similarly wrapping cardigans and coats, most paired with slouchy trousers.
Bookending the day were Richard Chai (whose men's and women's collection kicked off the day at the Lincoln Center tents) and Perry Ellis menswear (which had the unenviable task of following the Kanye/Adidas event). And while their collections drew on disparate inspirations (Chai's '90s youth for the former and Perry Ellis' traditional complimentary close in handwritten notes "Happy to meet you, very excited," for the latter), they both served up healthy doses of fractured, mosaic-like color. Chai even managed to give cold-weather wear a dash of sex appeal, with women's looks that included a gray dress that managed to hug the curves despite looking like it was made from sweatsuit material and a shirtdress layered over toasty-looking leggings.