Kanye West showed the loftiness of his ambition Wednesday by commandeering the same presidential park Hillary Clinton used for kickstarting her White House run to unveil his latest fashion collection of body suits and stilettos.
Yeezy Season Four is the rapper and global sensation’s latest collaboration for Adidas, which has seen him fend off complaints the clothes are too expensive for the mass market he has in mind.
The event kicked off more than an hour-and-a-half late at the Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island, dedicated to one of America’s most beloved presidents, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and the site of a keynote Clinton speech in June 2015.
The delays left the small handpicked audience wilting in the heat and humidity for what was one of the most hyped events of New York Fashion Week, the biannual style fest that officially kicks off Thursday.
The show was a meditation on diversity: the overwhelming majority of models were black — a rarity on Western catwalks — after West demanded that “multiracial women only” apply to his casting call.
Models stood or sat barefoot on the lawn dressed in multiple varieties of the body suit — imitation speedos, skin-tight crop tops, bandeau strips, athletics knickers and cycling shorts in white, khaki, green and black.
Others descended an outdoor triangular catwalk dressed in ribbed vest tops worn with oversized, over-the-knee stiletto boots — the transparent plastic version of which his reality star wife Kim Kardashian was recently photographed wearing.
It was a body-hugging look of sports basics worn with oversized hooded parkas and puffers and sky-high stilettos. The heels were so tall and seemingly fragile that at least two models slipped or stumbled.
One had to kick off her pumps on the catwalk, returning for the final walkthrough with hotel slippers on her feet.
While the organizers kept the venue secret from the media until the last minute and invited only a select audience, the show was live-streamed on Tidal, the music streaming service run by rap star and West best friend Jay-Z.
In an uncharacteristic show of modesty, the musician told Vogue ahead of the show that he preferred to call his military-inspired study in neutrals “apparel” rather than fashion.
“I’m not saying that this is a fashion proposition, I’m saying that this is a human proposition,” he said.
“I want to make pieces that can be timeless,” he added. “Pieces that you can pick up out of a vintage store in 20 years and say, ‘Wow, I’m happy I have this.'”