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Kanye Embraces Classic American Heritage With Yeezy Season 5

Kanye West has taken inspiration from the Wild West to build a new facet into his apparel oeuvre.

16th Feb 2017

Credit: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty

A lot was riding on this show following his critically disdained Yeezy Season 4 in Roosevelt Island last February. That show started a few hours late, saw various models quite literally faint in the sweltering New York heat, and prompted a swathe of influential fashion editors to state that they would never cover his collections again. No pressure right?

At first glance, it would appear that Pablo has delivered the goods.

Kanye took a more traditional approach to last night’s Season 5 show, and at last he made peace with some established members of the fashion hierarchy. This was most evident in his willingness to reschedule the entire show after nearly incurring the wrath of the Chief Executive of the Council of Fashion Designers in America, Mr Steven Kolb. The two had engaged in a brief spat after West had wanted to host the show at a time that conflicted with other notable designer’s shows. The two compromised on the condition that West rescheduled his show.

The affair was hosted at Pier 59 Studios, and was treated as a high security affair. As the invitees settled comfortably into their seats, the lights dimmed and the show started. Set to The Dream’s reference track of J. Holiday’s crooner classic ‘Bed’, different styles flashed on an obelisk - cascading, turning and fading to black between looks.

The collection had a heavy sportswear influence. One stand out piece was the highly anticipated Calabasas adidas tracksuits, a central piece of Season 4 that was given an accomplished remake in this edition. The Calabasas theme ran through a variety of pieces in the line, however most people were looking for more information on the YEEZY Runners that Kanye himself wore.

This collection appears to have marked a signifiant departure from Kanye’s strictly workwear and militia centric apparel. It was a pleasant surprise to see that this line featured a host of classic Western inspired pieces. Signature pieces include washed denim garments, flannel shirts and trucker jackets. The sensibility portrayed was that of a somewhat elevated everyman. A dystopian romantic who walks the fine line between JD utility and Selfridges’ desirability. It was an aesthetic that was further built upon through outlandish reflective fireman’s coats and genuine GORE-TEX outerwear.

West’s ideas of classic American style echo those of other in demand designers such as Raf Simons, who used his latest eponymous collection and his Calvin Klein debut to stamp an imprint of his conception of classic America on the underwear brand. The clothes appeared to celebrate American heritage from a modern perspective rather than present a stale knock of classic iconography.

That balance between past and present was captured so perfectly in the presentation of the show. It was clearly a show designed for the livestream friendly, moment capturing Instagram and Snap generation. Popular models such as Sofia Riche and Luka Sabbat ensured that the show would be seen by the so called millennial audience that old people love to talk about.

West did not show his face at the end of the show.

Here is a special clip from the show, courtesy of Highsnobriety

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