With Beyonce, Rihanna and Diddy among the royalty on his front row, Kanye West rolled out his Yeezy Boost shoe line for Adidas on Thursday as his baby North fussed in mama Kim Kardashian's arms next to a stone-faced Anna Wintour.
Models, men and women, wore minimal neutral tights or black jackets to let the shoes shine in a tech-driven unveiling that included a simulcast of the presentation to 42 theatres on three continents around the world.
A mysterious Yeezy website with a countdown clock had gone up last week to stoke excitement over the highly anticipated release, West's inaugural collaboration with Adidas Originals. Only 9,000 pairs of the 750 Boosts will be sold, at $350 a pop, on Saturday with more available Feb. 28 worldwide.
Kanye's voice was on blast talking about art, freedom and fashion as the show opened in a cavernous space downtown, followed by the calming drone of a trumpet then a blast of loud, edgy music as his models stood solemnly in rows. They marched in lockstep to take their turn in front of a scrum of cameras before walking off in single file to make room for the next line.
Backstage after the show, West was chill and smiling, a pair of his new Yeezys with their thick white soles and wide strap across the laces in place. A side zip and front perforations complete the look of the lead style, which comes with a spare set of laces.
The rapper has big plans to create more Yeezys, for women and kids as well, after leaving Nike for Adidas more than a year ago.
How do the trainers symbolize Kanye?
"It's not me. It's the people," he said. "I think that there's something that people have been wanting and missing and this is my proposition, you know, to contribute in some way. I want to contribute to society through usable art."
The star-studded presentation also drew West buddy Jay Z and Justin Bieber. Kardashian Momager Kris and Kim sisters Kendall and Khloe smiled from the front row against the backdrop of New York Fashion Week's opening day and the NBA All-Star game this weekend.
SUNSHINE ON A WINTRY DAY
Fashion Week always seems to hit New York when the weather is at its most extreme. Lubov Azria, half of the husband-wife design team behind BCBG Max Azria, acknowledged that on Thursday as the label presented its Fall 2015 collection, a mix of jaunty streetwear and more timeless, bohemian looks like flowing dresses with colorful embroidery.
"We come from California, so what do we know about the cold?" Azria quipped backstage. "So we had all these gauzy dresses, and then we came here and felt the weather and said, 'No, that's not gonna work!'" The answer: Lots of layering over those dresses, including loose, comfy sweaters with huge cowl necks, and warm, soft coats with big fur pockets.
The loosely draped sweaters, which looked especially cozy on a February day, appeared in a variety of styles, including some with a sleeveless poncho effect. Some high turtlenecks were even shown covering the model's mouth. The garments were meant, Azria said, to be draped in different ways according to the woman's preference, and could also be worn as big scarves.
"I often want to cover myself with a blanket, and that's what I was thinking of," Azria said.
Among the celebs who turned out: Rocker Pete Wentz and models Coco Rocha and Petra Nemcova.
A TRIP BACK IN TIME
At Creatures of the Wind, design duo Shane Gabier and Christopher Peters went for an esoteric cultural theme: They called their show "an exploration of definitive moments in American psychedelic culture."
Gabier said the designers were particularly attracted to the blacklight rock-band posters of the late '60s and early '70s — posters using inks that became fluorescent under black light. A number of the garments on the runway were made of a "deco metallic silk" — in pink or black — that looked both psychedelic and Art Deco at the same time, melding looks from the '20s into those from the '70s. "We're seeing elements of subcultures that repeat themselves," Gabier said.
The show was also about Americana, and the most obvious examples were mink stoles in various hues — mahogany, plum, teal, black and white — featuring huge stars.
As for shoes, the designers favoured python and crocodile, another nod to the '20s, Gabier said. The footwear was walking-friendly, a welcome sight at any Fashion Week, but especially one in which wintry weather and icy sidewalks will play a major role.
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