Kanye West’s popular and controversial Yeezy Season clothing line debuted its fourth iteration at New York Fashion Week earlier this month. The casting call was issued to select high-profile names, mainly the rapper’s friends and family, including the omnipresent Kardashian clan. While the eye-catching and dramatic outfits were clearly meant to dazzle, though, the presentation garnered more criticism than it did praise for a multitude of reasons.
West’s show was held on Roosevelt Island in New York City on a sunny Wednesday during which temperatures reached almost 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Although those temperatures were far from the highest of the summer, the combination of the sunlight and some of the outfit designs caused several models to faint. From tight and constricting bodysuits paired with thigh-high boots to sweaters and full parkas, many of West’s garments were clearly unsuitable for the weather and critics on social media platforms and various online outlets agree that having the models step out in particularly warm outfits was careless and dangerous.
On top of the warmth issues, many of the models struggled with general discomfort in their outfits. After they walked down the runway, the models lined up on the grass and were clearly expected to stand in formation for an extended period of time. By the end of the show, though, more than 20 had taken seats on the grass. In a moment that has been recorded and has subsequently trended on Twitter, model Amina Blue struggled to walk in her high heels, visibly wobbling and finally throwing the shoes off.
Apart from the blatant mistreatment of the models, the show also received negative feedback on the actual garments. There were certainly some appealing looks at the show which made good use of monochromatic, neutral palettes, many noted that the season offered little that West and other designers had not done before. Perhaps the collection’s most outspoken critic was television personality and fashion consultant Tim Gunn, who called the clothes “dumb” and a “hoax.” The sentiment is an echo of what many have been saying about West’s line since its release, that the line glorifies impractical and ultimately aesthetically unappealing looks simply by attaching the rapper’s name.
Though some might disagree with Gunn, the greater issue with the presentation stands. Kanye West is a larger-than-life perfectionist known for agonizing over the smallest details in his massive and ambitious projects. With the Yeezy Season 4 show, that mindset jeopardized the well-being of dozens of young women. It is unclear how the fashion community will respond to West’s fashion line moving forward, but unless he can make clear that he cares not only for his grand vision but also those who help him achieve it, it is unlikely that Yeezy Season 4 will be soon forgotten, and not for the reason he wants.
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