If you are a regular reader of MNSWR then you’re probably wondering what this review’s doing here. The collaboration of a self-proclaimed ‘God’ of pop culture and rap with one of the two largest sportswear producers on the planet does not sound like a collection a magazine that ‘explores and celebrates the tradition of craft in menswear’ would be interested in. But if any part of the menswear industry receives this level of hype, it’s got to be worth a glance.
MNSWR readers care about their appearance, otherwise why are you here? You appreciate the art of menswear; designers who have studied the craft and their traditional working methods, bespoke suits, tailoring, history and grooming. This fascination does not translate into looking the same as the masses, in fact quite the contrary, you want to be the best dressed in the room, at the party or walking the pavement. Seeking inspiration you’ve got three choices; you look around, you look back or you look forward.
Unlike womenswear, menswear tends to be less about throwing out your entire wardrobe twice a year and more about building on it.
Modern, directional fashion is always going to leak into your wardrobe. Unless you are so committed to tradition that you bare the pain of heels to emulate men of the 16 th century, in the past few years you may have hung a bomber jacket in your closet – arguably classic with its armed forces heritage but visually post-2011 – or carried a digitally printed bag. You may even have purchased a face cream with a complicated formula certain to keep your face teenage. Unlike women’s wear, menswear tends to be less about throwing out your entire wardrobe twice a year and more about building on it. Architecture inevitably adopts new techniques.
So we come back to Yeezus our wannabe sartorial Jesus. Or more specifically, what we’re all supposed to be here for, the clothes. As every garment was cited as unisex, I shouldn’t discount any of them as menswear; however I will filter them for the MNSWR audience. There were a few of Kanye’s (and often MNSWR’s) favorite, the bomber jacket. Nothing new but also nothing offensive; many, many designers also showed them at NYFW. What was offensive was the drop crotch joggers that Kanye’s battling Alexander Wang for credit of. Both designers should be denying responsibility.
In the fashiverse, where sycophants climb on sociopaths to reach the top, if nothing else, you’ve got to respect Kanye West’s honesty.
The models swaddled in full body stockings was not a look I imagine many men emulating. However 2015’s tulle obsession shouldn’t be ignored entirely; a basic cotton tee can be updated with a sheer panel peeking out of the sleeves or forming a high neck. Another detail to update your wardrobe should be drawstring. Kanye featured drawstring hems on tops and coats allowing him to play with the models’ silhouettes. He added flared sleeves to a bomber and to shearling jackets in a nod to the seventies fever sweeping AW15; this is a subtle way you can embrace the trend without having to chuck everything out when the phase passes. There were a few very simple coats that yes, have been seen before, but not necessarily by the Adidas customer. In particular, an ankle-grazing charcoal mac with exaggerated pockets stood out.
Yes, Kanye’s influences are blatant. Blogs have dedicated pages to the side-by-side comparison (mockery) of Kanye x Adidas and these designers; Helmut Lang, Comme des Garçons, Issey Miyake and Yohji Yamamoto – who collaborated with Adidas long before the Yeezy was on the scene – are shameless points of reference. Designers once thought of as the height of avant-garde style, but who are now heralded as innovators and collected as classic pieces. Other designers, Anna Wintour’s heralded prodigy Alexander Wang for example, hipster courtesan Acne Studios, and Kanye’s adored Martin Margiela, owe everything to these same designers for opening up a dialog towards their understated yet directional pieces – ‘sportswear for the non-sportsman’ – and towards a minimalist thought process. Yes, the colour palette was typical of these minimalist urban brands, but it was not typical for a rapper; think Pharrell’s Billionaire Boy’s Club or even Biggie in those Coogi adverts in the 1990s. In the fashiverse, where sycophants climb on sociopaths to reach the top, if nothing else, you’ve got to respect Kanye West’s honesty.
“I’m not going to try and act like I was influenced by a fucking dog walking down the street that broke its ankle that I had a heartfelt discussion with. I had a heartfelt discussion with all of these fucking Helmut Lang images that I stared at for so many years. I had a heartfelt discussion with my Tumblr.”
In Kanye’s own, million meme-spawning words; it ain’t Ralph though.
Written by Ms. Harriet may de Vere