Paris Fashion Week unofficially begins today, and kicks off in earnest tomorrow. While a myriad of the most elite shows — Balenciaga, Stella McCartney, Chanel, Rick Owens, just to name a few — are keeping the high fashion world waiting with bated breath, on a pop culture level, no show will pack the weight of Kanye West's debut collection, scheduled to show on October 1st. For those who have followed West's style exploits, you'll remember this milestone has been years in the making: West interned at both at Fendi and Louis Vuitton, and has expressed the desire to intern for Karl Lagerfeld. He also called the late and great firebrand Alexander McQueen an icon, and sought out a mentorship from one of the leading professors at English design school Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, Louise Wilson.
Will his line deliver upon its extraordinary hype? Only time will tell, but West is pulling out all the stops to ensure an unforgettable foray. In anticipation of that grand premiere, we delve into what we can expect it to look like, as well as it how it might resonate with both the fashion and music communities.
It will be "extraordinarily expensive" — and possibly unwearable:
According to British style magazine Grazia, West's line will be a standout on many fronts, but its heady cost may be what really gets people talking. That, and the fact some of it is so fantastical in concept it might literally be unproduceable, not to mention unwearable. Fair enough: no one ever listed practicality among West's core strengths.
The line's creation doubles as a fashion lesson:
Among the stranger rumors surrounding the line: interns and students from Central St. Martins have been surreptitiously constructing the line under West's command (his own design skills are admittedly more theoretical than technical). Their secret compound is allegedly located at Turnmills, a defunct London nightclub. Though this is unorthodox, it's not a total shock: ever since West confirmed his womenswear line was an actuality, a strong connection between his project and the school has been suggested. Though she won't openly admit it, insiders still insist that Louise Wilson, West's mentor and head of the Master's Fashion program at Central Saint Martins, is heavily involved in the direction of the line. Another dark horse collaborator, British designer Katie Eary, tells Elle UK that she and West made a "good team."
There will be colorblocking:
With West a front row fixture on some of Spring 2012's most vital catwalks, including leading London shows Christopher Kane and Burberry, he's clearly been absorbing new ideas. With CSM alumnus (and famed colorblocker) Dean Quinn supposedly on board as a collaborator with the line, and West seemingly engrossed with Kane's highly praised and colorful collection, we might expect the rapper's own line to reflect those aesthetics. With sporty and futuristic shots of color quickly defining what Spring 2012 will be about as a season, you can expect West to aim to be one of the trend's frontrunners.
The line will also include inventive knitwear:
Along with Wilson and Quinn, the other longstanding rumored major player/think tank involved with West's line is British womenswear (and CSM alumnus) Louise Goldin, whose highly inventive and constructed knits made her one of the most memorable young designers London has produced this decade. With West aiming for a modern and relevant approach to luxury fashion, you can expect a high dose of rarefied fabrics to be used and for Goldin's geometrical, future-friendly motifs to shine through. For examples, look no further than her inspired lookbook.
West's influences will reign supreme:
Though West will certainly set out to make a distinguishable and unique mark upon high fashion next week, there's no question he'll be indebted heavily to not only his collaborator's ideas, but to his impressive list of heavyweight influences. In the past, West has name-checked everyone from Raf Simons, Rick Owens, and Givenchy's Riccardo Tisci as personal heroes. As a trip through his wardrobe reveals, West owns plenty of statement-ready looks from the former designers; Tisci especially has made countless custom ensembles for West, and has even designed the artwork for his collaboration with Jay-Z, Watch The Throne. West may possess the hubris to strike out on his own, but he's reverent to those he deems worthy, and will certainly be hoping to share some of the critical glory of his inspirations when he makes his runway debut.
• Photos: Kanye West's Monster Fashion