Forget the universal panning of last season for a second and believe us when we say there's a hunk of fun to be had at a Kanye West show, and that we've seen plenty of shows in our four weeks on the road at fashion weeks that don't match up to this latest presentation in appeal or relevancy. But not at Paris Fashion Week, the home of haute fashion.
What's changed from the first collection? The bulk of the criticism lay in the fit of the clothing. When the world's most perfectly formed figures can't make something appealing, there's not much hope for the rest of us. That's been taken on board with a much more exacting fit, as has the gratuitous use of fur being scaled back. It's still unnecessarily there on the sleeves of jackets and again used on a rucksack which must serve as West's House Code after spring summer 12's introduction.
It was predominantly a leather collection: biker jackets appeared predictable from the front, only to be backless from behind, pencil skirts had a kick flare hem and skinny trousers ruled. Its purpose was to sell sex appealgratuitously sobut that doesn't seem to be a sticking point for a gazillion brands, namely Emilio Pucci whose designer Peter Dundas was sitting front row to support, next to Kim Kardashian, next to P. Diddy.
A Kanye West show is fun because it's expensive, because it has wonderful model names on its roster, because it's unexpected, because it has dry ice, because you've never seen souped-up go-karts lap the catwalk as a finale, because it feels like you're invited to the best party in town. And some place after that list comes the perfectly acceptable clothes. We know Kanye means business in the design world and with this second collection under his belt, we know it isn't going to be a fly-by-night fad. But being immensely enjoyable, fabulously entertaining and solid, even, is as much as he can pitch for right now. Certainly Paris Fashion Week wouldn't be as colourful without him.