If Kanye West's much-maligned debut on the Paris catwalks last season was his hyperactive rough draft, his second collection, presented yesterday, was a surprisingly solid improvement upon it. Of course, in 'Ye's own words, "excellence is the bare mininum" we should expect from him, and he has a way to go before his sartorial output matches his supreme confidence. Still, this was certainly a marked improvement.
The most noticeable shift was in the tailoring: unlike last season, the clothing mostly fit the models. At the collection's peak, a few things became clear: in Ye's world, subtlety has yet to find its role, sexiness is a virtue and ostentatious displays of implied wealth will always be in vogue. Fine; there's a place for that, and it's called Milan. Next season, he may be wise to consider moving his show there.
Like many designers, West is big on black this season and heavy on accoutrements: flagrant usage of fur, leather, velvet and lavish chains and straps – PETA anathema also featured in Spring 2012 – was the proudly glitzy crux of this collection and felt far more appropriate for the winter months. The caged gladiator boots worn throughout the show will be the collection's principle editorial talking point, as well as an unfeasibly pricey retail points (last season's Giuseppe Zanotti creations, now carried at Colette, are $6,000 and actually selling).
Nothing here felt like a breakthrough – West is more a curator than innovator right now – but the luxury fetishist spectacle he created from well-worn ideas managed to make a solid point.
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