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It's been four hours since Kanye West's album release-meets-fashion show wrapped up, so you probably know the big points: The Kardashian-Jenner gang wore white Balmain x Kanye, The Life of Pablo was played in full, hundreds of models showed off Yeezy Season 3 (including Naomi Campbell) on a shantytown-like set, West shared his vision for a video game based on his mom in heaven, and replaced his presidential goals with fashion goals ("I told Anna [Wintour] this backstage; to be the creative director of Hermès is a dream of mine.").
But what was it like to actually be there? Leaving Madison Square Garden, I had a lot to consider. Like how would I answer the dozens of text messages asking "How was Kanye??" How do you fit thousands of people and soul-shattering bass into an iMessage-sized response?
All I've heard in the last 24 hours is, "Are you excited for Kanye?" Even my mom wanted the scoop: "R u cleared for Kanye? Who's your plus one? Will ordinary citizens b there?"
You should know from the outset: I am a Kanye stan. A true artist who is reflecting and shaping culture at scale, able to work through many mediums, there is so much energy pulsing through the father of two that I'm of the opinion that he fumbles when trying to express himself. He's bad at being a celebrity, like Taylor Swift is really good at being a celebrity. (I'll say right here that West's Bill Cosby tweet was gross and wrong and made me mad that I've financially supported the guy.)
"This isn't regular," our host repeated throughout the event. And sure, Kanye West's Creative Pursuits Party was not regular, but it also wasn't terrifically surprising.
I was surprised that the venue wasn't full. I was surprised to see Lamar Odom there, and even more surprised to see he and Khloe Kardashian posing for photos. I was surprised that the entire Kardashian-Jenner clan wore Balmain, not Yeezy Season 1, 2, or 3, and I was surprised that the whole thing was relatively calm, that kids didn't try to hop security; that there weren't really kids there at all but young adults who'd clearly ditched work mid-afternoon. (On that note, I was surprised that the tickets cost so much: Two seats rung in at $550, which is a week and a half of full-time, pre-tax paychecks if you're working at $8.75 an hour, New York state's minimum wage.) The event was streamed on Tidal, the Jay Z-helmed music service attempting to take on Spotify and Apple Music, so anyone with an internet connection could watch for free. I appreciated that, because I like to think that Kanye is more interested in expressing and sharing ideas than raking in money, that Kanye does it for the kids, that Kanye is punk. (He's not.)
It's safe to say that everyone outside the fashion section — filled with Bergdorf Goodman's Linda Fargo, Vogue's Virginia Smith, Vetement's Demna Gvasalia — was there for the music. But if you're wondering about the clothes, well they were classic Yeezy. Sand-colored bodysuits with tall boots and tight maroon turtlenecks with oversized, military-influenced trousers for the girls. Boys wore big, big sweatshirts over big, big pants and backpacks with fancy jogger pants. Earthy brown tones, berry shades, and lots of military green dominated, with pops of orange-red and sunshine yellow on colorblocked knits, the only really new thing. A few pieces included Adidas logos, as the German sports brand will be producing this collection (they produced Season 1, but not 2).
The most impressive element of the fashion portion of Our Afternoon With Kanye was the sheer number of bodies. The models remained stoic and stone-faced while Ye ripped through sex-filled tracks. What is it with newly-minted celebrity parents asserting their post-baby sexuality?
At the top of the show, West asked the crowd to dance if they liked the tracks, but despite some head bopping, no one really let loose until the designer turned his iPod over to his creative director, Virgil Abloh (not before he showed his video game concept twice, because the crowd did not go wild enough after the first viewing: "This shit was hard to do, man," he said, his visibly disappointed face magnified on the jumbotron. "This isn't regular.").
I put so much thought into how I was going to answer those "How was it??" texts and I didn't get a single one. Why would I, when they could watch it over Snapchat, via Tidal, in a movie theater, or pretty much anywhere else. No one in my life needs to ask me — a person who was there, right there — for information on Kanye's big show, because he gave it directly to them.