Home Music Music Lists

Kanye West Debuts Fashion Line

Rapper’s womenswear collection premieres during Paris Fashion Week to mixed reactions

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty

Kanye West's highly anticipated fashion line, Dw by Kanye West (named for his late mother, Donda), debuted Saturday night during Paris Fashion Week. Wall Street Journal's Christina Brinkley called the collection a collision of "Donald Trump" and "Herve Leger," an indication of its general excess. West's more-is-more approach repelled critics, who not only found the styling gauche, but its materials inappropriate for the season. As The New York Times' Eric Wilson noted, "Though designers in Paris are presenting collections for next spring and summer this week, Mr. West’s collection was heavy on leather, fur and coats, some pieces dripping with so much fox you couldn’t tell if they were stoles or backpacks."

By Colleen Nika

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty

(no title)

Some of the looks incorporated the of-the-moment colorblocking trend, offering a moment of levity into the collection. British designers Katie Eary and Dean Quinn were responsible for "the lighter side" of West's collection. Of the overall look, Style.com's Tim Blanks offered: "heavy might be the operative word."

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty

(no title)

As a connoisseur of finer tastes in fashion, no one can accuse West of being ignorant to its trends. The upside to his "everything but the kitchen sink" approach to clothing is that some ideas inevitably work. He tapped into the predominant "bold and sporty" attitude of Spring 2012 with sweat separates in luxe materials like suede. While a bit impractical for spring, the looks could be rendered into wearable pieces for retail.

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty

(no title)

One of the most discussed looks of West's collection revolved around his literal take on an exaggerated bandaid dress, which featured the fabric literally unwrapping, mummy-style. "The most knocked off item of clothing of all time," Brinkley noted.

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty

(no title)

Many critics found West's styling choices "confusing" and "busy," but overall the main complaint was simply that the clothing did not fit well. "The leathers and cuts were too clunky. The rest of the collection cribbed from the work of the designers he admires, many of whom were sitting in the audience, and whose ranks he intends to join,” WWD wrote. Rumors suggest some of the fittings literally took place the day of show, explaining some of the less than flattering forms seen on the runway.

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty

(no title)

The more sophisticated moments of West's collection drew tepid praise. Blanks wrote, "The context was impeccable – soundtrack and staging exactly what you'd expect from someone whose 360-degree vision has been responsible for some of the best albums and concerts of the past decade." But even he joined the general consensus that the show's best ideas felt like reiterations of other designers' work. Jessica Michault of the International Herald Tribune took a more pointed swipe: "I think that every one of the designers sitting in the front row at Kanye West must have had a déjà vu moment at some point during the show," she tweeted.

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty

(no title)

West seems to regard his muse as entirely immune to the elements. Hence, his collection can politely be described as "season proof." Cashmere, fur, and again, tons of leather, weighed down even the more elegant silhouettes, rendering the looks mostly unwearable. While exclusivity was certainly his goal, surely he wants women to actually desire his wares?

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty

(no title)

"A sparkly cropped jacket had so many bits of flare in it that you could imagine Mr. West sampling fashion like he samples different styles of music," Wilson wrote for The Times, trying to find focus in the dizzying array. However, like WWD and Style.com, he felt West's use of colorblocking provided brief highlights within the showing. But he emphasized the poor fit of the clothing, more or less canceling out his mild praise.

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty

(no title)

A leather vest worn over a frock looked like a remnant from a long-discarded Balmain collection. Christophe Decarnin, the former creative director of that label, is a friend of West's; the rapper has even  lyrically declared his loyalty to the brand, leaving little doubt of its imprint on some of the design decisions in his own collection. But as Michault notes, imitation might be a form of flattery, but curation is not creation. "…Everyone can love fashion but not everyone can be a fashion designer," she says.

Kanye West

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty

(no title)

Kanye West told Style.com he found taking a bow in front of an elite fashion crowd more daunting than performing in front of scores of fans. Perhaps because an ovation isn't guaranteed; indeed, despite his lofty grand exit, he was reportedly greeted with only a lukewarm round of applause.

In This Article: Kanye West

Show Comments