Cold-blooded Critic Cathy Horyn is to fashion as Kanye West is to music—both are unapologetically honest when reality checks are overdue, using language as their choice weaponry for attack. When West speaks, the music world listens, and such is the case in fashion with Ms. Horyn, who’s recently found a home writing for The Cut after years at the New York Times. Though it seems West has the fashion industry wrapped around his finger—Anna Wintour’s sat front row for two seasons—the rapper’s sophomore collection, “Yeezy Season 2” didn’t even slightly impress Horyn, who published a scathing review called, “Kanye West Is Fooling the Fashion World.” Perhaps Yeezus has met his Pontius Pilate.
“A great to-do is made over Kanye West, the Designer,” Horyn begins, admitting she was embarrassed to find herself running up Tenth Avenue, but “feared panic at the door” before the show. Notice how she’s completely unconvinced that West is a real designer, slyly slipping in her skepticism like a bitchy pro. “Yeezy Season 2 was kind of amusing,” she continues condescendingly. “Again, West worked with the performance artist Vanessa Beecroft, and again, he showed hoodies, baggy pants, and beige under-things, as if time these past six months had stood still.” She’s right—this presentation did look uncomfortably familiar, blatantly recycling that same putty palette and watered-down Hood By Air aesthetic as seen in “Yeezy Season 1.”
Horyn’s heated critique gets hotter when she brings up “the mind-lock that Kanye has managed to put on the fashion world.” Being that fashion’s a community easily swayed by hype, she certainly has a point; does Ms. Wintour really care about West’s clothes or is she a brilliant social climber and marketing maven? “This second round of drab, broken-down basics proved he can’t be taken seriously as a designer, but nevertheless many people in fashion do seem to take West seriously—they keep showing up expectantly for his performances—and that makes them fools,” Horyn says. “Because they wouldn’t bother with this stuff if it were offered by an unknown, and if it’s the spectacle they seek, it changes as little as the clothes.”