I Snuck Into The Yeezy Show And Sat Front Row
Yeezy Season 4 was a disaster. Mainly due to the far location, late start time, fainting models, broken heels, and massive heatwave. But also because they let me fully sneak in.
I walked into my office on 26th street at 9 am, assuming I’d be glued to my computer writing about cool fashion week events I wouldn’t have the luxury of attending. My editor suggested I try to ask some of my connections for passes to Yeezy Season 4 happening later that day, and so that’s exactly what I did. Only all of my “connections” are selfish assholes who wouldn’t help me even though I’ve written multiple articles on them! So I got pissed and decided I would try to sneak in on my own.
I used social media sleuthing and Google to figure out all the details I could. The Cut published an article suggesting the show was on Roosevelt Island. Where on Roosevelt Island? Nobody knew. Even the biggest industry insiders didn’t know what was happening until 12 hours before the show began. I didn’t mind though — I was going to Roosevelt Island! The article also revealed that guests received an invite instructing them to gather at a top-secret Manhattan location where a shuttle bus would be waiting to take them to the show’s undisclosed venue. I figured I’d bypass that.
I left my office to try and find an outfit that looked fashionable enough for Yeezy himself. I tried on somewhere around 15 outfits until I found one dirty enough to pass for the fuckery that is high fashion. I ended up wearing some black Uniqlo trousers, a tan short sleeve turtleneck sweater, and vintage military boots a size too small. Nothing fit because it all belongs to my friend who lives close to my office.
I tried to take the train, but I failed. I was getting really nervous because however much I like to downplay my interest in Kanye West… he’s still a mad genius who I will one day tell my kids about. So, melted and afraid, I hopped in an Uber with Simone. She drove a gold Hyundai. I spilled my coffee on my turtleneck.
“It’s okay. It’ll be fine,” I thought. But what lie should I use to get in to the actual show? Wait, where is the actual show? Thanks to a magical tweet from New York Times fashion director Vanessa Friedman, I figured it out.
Yeezy is happening on Roosevelt Island, folks, in Four Freedoms Park. Interpret as you will.
— Vanessa Friedman (@VVFriedman) September 7, 2016
Once I had my location, everything became a bit easier. I still was unsure of what lie I would say when asked for my ticket or name. I thought about using this one: “I’m a super poppin’ writer who everyone is dying to have cover their fashion show.” I also thought about this one: “I’m a ‘multiracial model’ walking in the show.” I’m half Mexican and half Welsh (lol). I decided not to decide. I knew I had to be able to think on my feet.
I started sweating profusely when I realized I’d be standing in line next to famous people, fashion critics, artists, and buyers whom I’ve spent my entire life admiring. I’m 23. I said a little prayer on my drive to the island. It went something like, “Please let the security guard throw me a mother fucking bone.” Deep down, however, I knew I’d get in. That’s why I took a $38 Uber to Roosevelt Island I guess.
My Uber driver dropped me off as close to the entrance as she possibly could. After 5 minutes of walking I stumbled into a ginormous line. A few street style photographers asked to take my photo. My coffee stains became really embarrassing.
Strange gates opened as if we were being let into Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. Kanye legit had us waiting and walking for 10 minutes. Then waiting and walking for 5 minutes. Then waiting and waiting and waiting for close to an hour. I didn’t mind because I wasn’t invited. But pretty much every person around me let out a sigh or a moan at one point or another.
There were three gates to pass through. Guests were asked to show their tickets at each one. I got through the first one super easily. I just walked through and nobody stopped me. Then I saw Kim Kardashian’s bestie, Jonathan Cheban, at the second gate. I somehow snuck in with him. Perhaps we looked like we were friends? Then I got to the third and final gate. Here, they checked everybody’s tickets and I started to freak out.
I decided to go with this banger: “I think I dropped my ticket back there! Can you look my name up?” Annoyed, the guest list man pulled out his iPad and asked me for my name. I NEEDED A NAME! I saw a fashion blogger I know semi-well walk through the gate after flashing her ticket. I told the man with the iPad her name. He handed me a ticket. It was literally THAT easy.
When I walked in a few people asked me to take photos of them. I think they were bloggers or something. They said they loved my “angles.” IDK. Large men all wearing “Security” shirts blocked off the high steps leading up to Four Freedoms Park. We waited there for a solid 25 minutes. I didn’t mind. But again, I wasn’t invited.
The security guards all moved. I looked at a few guests full of confusion. They looked back into my eyes just as confused. “So, should we go up now?” I asked an important looking stranger. “I think so?” she answered. We walked up the steps together. But I ditched her when I got to the top and saw a ton of Yeezy models standing in the grass. There were lots of famous people too, but so many that it was hard to care about any one in particular. Pharrell is really hot in person.
I sat on an empty bench because why wouldn’t I? I think 3 hours had passed since I started my mission and I was tired! About 5 minutes after pulling myself together on the park bench, I looked up. Who was directly across from me? Only Anna Wintour. I think she was staring at my coffee stained shirt in disgust. But she was wearing glasses. And probably didn’t look at me once. Whatever.
I felt truly disrespectful sitting across from Anna like that. So I stood up and moved seats because I’m just not at that level yet… clearly. I mean, I snuck in! Anyway, I thought I found an ideal seat. It was across from Carine Roitfeld. She’s important too, but I’m not afraid to look at her in her eyes. Plus, she seemed so infatuated with the clothes on the Yeezy models, I knew she wouldn’t be concerned with looking at who was sitting across from her.
To my dismay, I picked another wildly inappropriate seat. When the Kardashian’s made their entrance an hour late, Kim, Kylie and Kendall all walked in and sat directly across from me. “Jesus Christ,” I thought. They smiled at me… and everyone. I continued to sit front row.
Models began to walk the runway. The clothes were predictably Yeezy x Adidas. “Oversize hoodies, parkas, T-shirts, bra tops and tight-knit tank dresses in pale colors, mostly worn with over-the-knee boots,” as WWD put it. The clothes were too tight and the shoes were too big.
Anna Wintour began to text until a hobbling model got her attention. It was truly so painful to watch. Like, the model legit walked down the runway from start to finish with two broken heels. I couldn’t even record it because it hurt my heart. I became sad for Kanye. You can sense how badly he wants to be respected by the fashion world. So much that he does foolish things to get that respect.
Kim and Carine seemed to be upset that nobody was helping the broken-heeled model get off the runway. They were making angry faces and gesturing for somebody to help. I almost did, but I figured I’d be kicked out of the show. Bergdorf Goodman’s men’s style director Bruce Pask hopped on the runway and helped her walk. But not until the very end. I’m sure Kanye shed a tear. Kendall looked like she wanted to laugh.
— MEFeater Magazine (@mefeater) September 7, 2016
After the model fiasco, Anna Wintour gave up and left. Kanye came out to do the least glorious bow I’ve ever seen from him. The show ended. I noticed models on the grass had fainted. I thought it was performance art. But no, it was just 85 degree weather and a lack of direction about their role in the show.
— Robin Givhan (@RobinGivhan) September 7, 2016
I looked at my face in the front camera of my iPhone. My makeup had fully sweat off and was dripping down my face. Kim Kardashian’s makeup still looked perfect. I laughed. Hysterically. By myself.
As I shuffled back to my normal, not-at-all famous life, I joined some Yeezy models in a Yeezy cheer. Then I followed the crowd towards the top-secret shuttle bus. I was let off around the corner from my office.
I snuck in and had the time of my life, sure. But I got in because I’m smart enough to know what’s up. And in my opinion, Kanye seemed to be wildly out of touch with this show. Neither the fashion nor the production was flawless. In fact, the entire show was messy. From the hour long shuttle ride to the music festival-like gates and the lack of security to the uninformed models… Mr. West really missed the the mark here. Not to mention, the show took about 4.5 hours and started over an hour late.
“This is behavior that would not be tolerated from true design visionaries — Karl Lagerfeld or West’s friend Riccardo Tisci,” said WWD. But had he made a stronger impact with his all black model cast and staging it on the lawn in Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, Kanye’s lack of consideration would have at least been tolerable.
The show felt meaningless, even though I was surrounded by some of the smartest, most beautiful people I’ve ever seen in my life. It was just hollow. And coming from a man as passion-filled as Kanye West, it felt totally unacceptable. Spanx can only get you so far in fashion, and unfortunately, hobbling models and a disorganized production team don’t help.
I do wish I snuck into a show that gave fashion the revival it deserves. To be honest, that is what I expected. But the show, which was a live production by Vanessa Beecroft, was just as boring as every other fashion production Vanessa has been a part of. Same old shit. And fashion is never going to get cool again if we continue on this path. Hey Kanye, I have a few ideas on how you can successfully combine pop culture and fashion. And thanks for the invite!