On September 16 2015, Kanye West revealed his second designer fashion collection, titled “Yeezy Season 2.” The collection is the follow up to February’s highly-anticipated “Yeezy Season 1,” wherein Dr. West collaborated with adidas Originals to realize his first ever high fashion line.
In typical Kanye fashion, cryptic invitations, printed on garments, were mailed out to celebrities and influencers only one day before the collection’s NYFW runway slot. You can guess what happened next. Fashion blogs exploded; Instagram accounts around the world over-posted photos of their vacuum-sealed t-shirt invites; sneaker forums devolved into rampant speculation as to which new colorways of the 350, 750, and 950 Boost would drop with Season 2. Theater livestreams of the show were announced in 36 cities around the globe. Then, with the eyes of the world upon New York City, Yeezy Season approached.
Yeezy Season 2 is more of what made the first season so brilliant: a dystopian, anti-fit approach to sportswear with decidely luxury touches throughout, all executed without compromise. Whereas Season 1’s neutral-leaning color palette incorporated greens, whites, and blues alongside the standard beige/grey/black of most high-end streetwear, Season 2 presents a gradient color palette of muted earth tones within a relatively narrow color range. Some models emerged dressed in two to four shades of the same color with matching 950 Boost boots to match – a far cry from the vibrant hues of Season 2’s NYFW. The visual interest, then, is the result of something entirely more complex than color: silhouette and proportion, arguably caused by the unfinished rawness of West’s vision.
As with Season 1, the inherent movement within every look stole the show: traditional body proportions are thrown out the window in favor of excessive, draped layers. Over-the-top outerwear clouds the silhouette of the models while in motion, then hangs unobstructively when they stop. Destroyed hems, frayed seams, and oversized outerwear all create jarring visual contrasts against the sterility of skin-tight beige bodysuits. It is avant-garde designer fashion reminiscent of Rick Owens, Ricardo Tisci, and Jerry Lorenzo.
It is also reactionary – perhaps a critique of the slim-fit perfection of the 2000s, which saw tailored, traditional pieces by the likes of Thom Browne and Dior-era Hedi Slimane that dominated the world stage. West rebels against barqoue menswear by skewing expectation rather than seeking to perfect it. For example, a fashion staple like the venerable MA-1 bomber jacket may be cropped well above its standard length, then paired with scooped and elongated layers for a look that not only challenges, but also exaggerates, convention. Yeezy Season 2 is masterful as a result.
Would I wear everything from the collection? Likely not. Then again, I’ve said the same about other West projects over the years, only to watch luxury sneakers, monochrome palettes, and oversized outerwear sneak into my wardrobe. For years, Kanye West has been one of streetwear’s foremost influencers – now, it’s his turn to create rather than consume. It’s hard to walk away from Yeezy Season 2 without feeling like Kanye West is on something that we just haven’t figured out yet. I can’t wait for the day we all do.