Fresh from declaring an improbable bid for the US presidency, Kanye West hogged New York fashion week Wednesday by unveiling the second edition of his military-inspired, Star Wars-esque clothes — and dropping a new song.
His pregnant reality star wife Kim Kardashian and their two-year-old daughter North — who sobbed her way through her father’s fashion debut last season — at front row between Vogue queen Anna Wintour and Givenchy creative director Riccardo Tisci.
Canadian rapper Drake, who was seen getting amorous with Serena Williams backstage at her fashion show on Tuesday, was also in the audience, and West’s reality star sister-in-law Kylie Jenner was among the models who strutted the catwalk.
But it was no classic runway presentation. Instead, models marched out in military formation in utter silence, apart from a foreman barking orders for them to walk or turn around.
West revisited the body stocking, high-rise leotard and tights look that characterized the first season of his line — sponsored by Adidas — and still not available in retail stores.
The Yeezy woman of spring/summer 2016 cuts an androgynous figure kitted out in grey combat boots, high-rise leotards, matching tights and masculine, bagging tunics and military-style jackets.
There were caps and hoodies. Hair was swept back, and eye make-up heavy. Under strip lighting, the desert hues — green, orange, yellow and tan — appeared translucent and very pale.
For men, there were long overcoats in black and grey, which looked to be in World War I trench warfare style, with more combat boots.
It was a show with attitude and pretention, purporting to be subversive. One male model was seen on the catwalk puffing what looked like a cigarette despite no-smoking bans in New York.
On social media, many were quick to hail the new West song, dropped in the finale, as the chief highlight.
The rapper-designer then ambled out in a sweatshirt past the line-up of ethnically diverse models to smile and pose.
As with practically everything that West sets his mind to, the show came laden with controversies.
British tabloid The Mirror reported that he asked models to sign a $10 million non-disclosure form not to discuss him, Kim or any of the Kardashian family, annoying some of the models.
The 38-year-old also angered some designers who said his last-minute scheduling would unfairly suck attention away from their shows in rival slots.
The select few were sent invitations on vacuum-packed, camouflage tee-shirts.
For lesser mortals, the rapper announced that it would be live streamed at cinemas in 36 cities across the world, including in England, Ireland, Denmark, Paris, Frankfurt and Sydney.
Fans could register online for two passes to attend, which in the United States at least were immediately snapped up.
Wednesday’s show was a return to the headlines for West, who last grabbed attention on August 30 for announcing an improbable run for the White House in 2020 at the MTV Video Music Awards.