Opinion Brief

Kanye West's 'painful' fashion debut

The vainglorious musician unveils his new fashion collection in Paris — and many critics urge him not to quit his day job

Saturday night during Paris Fashion Week, Kanye West followed in the illustrious footsteps of celebs-turned-designers Lindsay Lohan, the Olsen Twins, and Victoria Beckham by debuting his first fashion collection. West's dramatic womenswear line for Spring/Summer 2012 featured luxurious materials, streamlined silhouettes, and an abundance of zippers and bare skin. Not surprisingly, it polarized critics. Was Kanye's extravagant runway show promising, or a "painful" sign that the hip hop impresario should stick to music?

This would have been impressive without Kanye's ego: For a debut collection it was "quite good," says Jess Cartner-Morley at Britain's Guardian. Indeed, it reminded me of Stella McCartney's early work. Too bad it was unveiled with so much pomp and ego in a stately library transformed into an ultraviolet light box. Such an immodest presentation puts Kanye on the same level as fashion's seasoned veterans, and his gaping necklines and imperfect fits just don't compare. "If Kanye is serious about fashion, he needs to dial the circus down a little."
"Is there room at Paris fashion week for Kanye West's ego?"

It was downright hideous: "Heavy beading — including one breastplate of a top — recalled the Flintstones," while "strips of crocodile hung without reason from a leather skirt," says Christina Binkley in The Wall Street Journal. A "very large and furry fur backpack" seemed unseasonably strange for a spring/summer collection. All the opulence of Kanye's luxury materials "can't blind people to a lack of creative marksmanship." Kanye should remember that it takes "years of study and practice… to create Azzedine Alaia or Alexander McQueen."
"Good thing Kanye West has a day job"

He should stick to music: Kanye is a "musical and lyrical genius," says Malcolm Harris at The Huffington Post, but the "poorly constructed dress made of cut bands, a fur throw rug, and an asymmetrical jacket" that Kanye sent down the runway didn't demonstrate much talent for fashion design. Sadly, Kanye showed "a tone-deaf collection, absent of any voice, vision or direction." I hope he won't show another collection "until it is at the level of [his] musical masterpieces College Drop Out, Late Registration or My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy."
"Open letter to musician Kanye West: Kanye, please stop!"

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