Rapper Kanye West's fashion show in New York almost falls flat

Reality TV star Kim Kardashian (centre) at her husband Kanye West's Yeezy 4 fashion show at Four Freedoms Park with her half-sisters Kendall (far left) and Kylie Jenner.
Reality TV star Kim Kardashian (centre) at her husband Kanye West's Yeezy 4 fashion show at Four Freedoms Park with her half-sisters Kendall (far left) and Kylie Jenner.PHOTO: KIM KARDASHIAN WEST/TWITTER

NEW YORK • At last-minute notice, sacrifice four hours to jump on a bus that crawls through midday traffic for an hour to reach remote Roosevelt Island.

Stand in the blazing sun. Be admitted at last to a park designed by architect Louis Kahn and dedicated to World War II president Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Finally, roughly three hours after departure, watch a performance/ installation by banally modish artist Vanessa Beecroft, of roughly 100 beautiful black women arranged in silent rows, wearing taupe- coloured leotards and standing as still as statues.

This was the Yeezy 4 show at the start of New York Fashion Week on Wednesday by Kanye West, an artist (as he is the first to remind you, he went to art school) whose ego is probably his most perfect creation.

If the rapper's productions can seem like a case of elephant giving birth to mouse, he still deserves credit for colossal ambition and what must be superhuman energy.

The show - underwritten by Adidas, which manufactures his phenomenally successful sneaker line - was far from West's only concern during a week when he performed on two consecutive nights at a sold-out Madison Square Garden.

Yes, his reality television star wife Kim Kardashian was at the Yeezy 4 show.

She appeared with her cover-girl half-sister Kendall Jenner at 4.16pm, exactly 76 minutes after the appointed start time. West was seen pulling in at 3.06pm. The make-up team wheeled its trunks up at 3.15pm.

The hand-picked crowd at the show, which was also live- streamed, included Vogue editor- in-chief Anna Wintour and racing car driver Lewis Hamilton.

The runway presentation, when it started at last, was a blank episode. Not much occurred until a young model could be seen staggering, almost crippled by stiletto- heeled boots.

Hobbling, slumping, she stopped at several points to find balance and recompose herself. Who can recall what she had on? Who cares?

What focused everyone's attention was her fragility, the humanity of this person unable to move forwards or backwards, hindering the progress of the models piling up behind her, trapped.

A funny thing then happened. Someone from the audience - Bergdorf Goodman retailer Bruce Pask - leapt up from his seat. He put his arm around the woman to support her.

The two of them walked to the end of the runway to hearty applause from the crowd.

"She said, 'I think I'm going to pass out,'" he said later as the crowd made for the exits.

"I told her, 'Don't worry, honey. Just hold on to me. It's going to be all right.'"


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 09, 2016, with the headline 'Kanye's show almost fell flat'. Print Edition | Subscribe