If you were waiting for Kanye West to emerge during New York Fashion Week, keep waiting. He was nowhere to be seen at the presentation of Season 5 of his Yeezy Collection on Wednesday, adding to the mystery of what’s going on with the musician and designer.
West has been photographed here and there, including Tuesday as he prepared for his show, but he’s kept a low profile since late last year. He had a series of onstage rants, followed by the premature cancellation of his Saint Pablo tour, a hospitalization and a very public visit to Trump Tower.
Typically, designers walk out to see the audience after showing their collections. But once models at his New York show made their final walk, West didn’t emerge, as he’s done at all of his other presentations.
And although it was all set up like a traditional fashion show, with a prestige-ordered seating chart and all, Wednesday’s event felt much more like a presentation. The audience sat in a darkened room and watched images of models wearing the collection projected on a two-story cube in the center.
The only time they saw those clothes in person was when the models filed out at the end.
That’s where things got murky. Was something else going to happen? But West never stepped out to give the universal signal that the show’s over, folks. His wife, Kim Kardashian, remained seated, but she eventually got up to head backstage before pausing to motion for Anna Wintour to join her.
Among West’s models: Halima Aden, a Muslim Somali American former beauty contestant who wears a hijab and became the first to compete fully clothed in the swimsuit portion of the Miss Minnesota USA pageant. She’s since been signed by IMG.
The Yeezy show was one of his most restrained yet, and official invites didn’t come until hours before the event.
This in contrast to his Season 4 show in September, which was quite the spectacle and was live-streamed on Tidal. Shuttles took attendees to a secret location, which turned out to be Roosevelt Island, where some models collapsed under unrelenting heat.
And his Season 3 collection unveiling at last year’s Fashion Week, which coincided with the release of his “The Life of Pablo” album, couldn’t have been more different from Wednesday’s event. Models stood on a giant platform in Madison Square Garden, in a presentation inspired by refugee camp photos. Thousands gathered in the stadium, and in theaters, to watch the much-hyped affair.
Although Kardashian has slowly returned to the public eye and social media after being robbed at gunpoint in Paris last year, West has been more under-the-radar. He was absent at Sunday’s Grammy ceremony, where he was nominated in five categories.
His most public moment in recent months came when he met with then-President-elect Donald Trump, who said the pair “discussed life.”
The two smiled and hugged for the cameras in the Trump Tower lobby. Later, West fired off a series of tweets explaining that he “wanted to meet with Trump today to discuss multicultural issues.”
“I feel it is important to have a direct line of communication with our future President if we truly want change,” he also tweeted.
West hasn’t said much publicly since — but he did delete those Trump tweets just a few weeks ago.