It is impossible that you missed it. Kanye West showed his third collection for Yeezy on Thursday in tandem with the drop of his seventh album, The Life of Pablo, at Madison Square Garden. The media erupted immediately on Instagram, on Twitter, on Snapchat, and the second they could rush to a computer, on websites. This was news. Meanwhile, the audience — part fashion critic, part fan, part Kardashian presented an answer to the insider question: what does a public-facing fashion week event look like?
The actual performance was nothing short of what you might expect from Kanye West: he declared a new pipe dream to creative direct at Hermès; he presented the album, where one such lyric in a song called “Famous” went, “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex,” and announced plans to unveil a new video game called Only One (after a song written for North from the perspective of Donda West) wherein his mother would travel through the gates of heaven.
In Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad presents the notion of fascination of the abomination — the consistent explaining of, and therefore trying to understand traditionally evil phenomena. Save for the evil, because for what it’s worth, I do believe Mr. West is both poignant and kind, there is an element of Conrad’s concept here that I can’t quite shake. We’re so fascinated, so fascinated, so fascinated, that we can’t stop talking about it. Possibly as an attempt to try to understand it? Or maybe not. But what are we even talking about? What are we writing about? The clothes, the people or the spectacle?
I like Kanye West. I think he’s smart and his music is strong and he’s the most sincere fashion fan I’ve encountered. But I didn’t want to go yesterday. I don’t like huge crowds and I hate Madison Square Garden. I knew the music would be really loud and that if we got there at 4 as planned, there is no way we’d have been able to leave before 6. And getting out? Yikes. I wasn’t even sure if it was worth Man Repeller covering the event. We’re not a music blog.
Sure, when Beyoncé drops a single on a Saturday and thus reminds us the weekend does not belong to freedom, we do what we have to, but Kanye? In the thick of fashion week? Is this fashion? Is it necessary to cover? Of all the reviews I’ve read, photos I’ve seen and snapshots I’ve taken, I can’t even actually tell you what the clothes look like. I can tell you Kim Kardashian is blonde again, that the entire family wore full white ensembles and that this includes Caitlyn Jenner. Also, there was some Nike-shaming.
But the clothes mean so little in the grand scheme of the performance.
And that’s really what this is about, right? Kanye West is the performer of our time. That’s worth acknowledging, but I keep coming back to this question, and feel a little like the dated and frustrated college professor I never thought I’d be able to identify with because, when does it get old? When do we stop feeling compelled to cover the new form of journalism that is the Kardashian/West/Jenner trifecta and just move on?