Can an icon be loved and loathed?
Judging by the adulation and repugnance heaped on Kanye West, both might be a requisite for the ultimate status as a pop star. Two days after his Yeezy Season 4 show — which irked fashion editors and livestream viewers alike for its egoistic grandeur and lack of promised spectacular climax — Kanye was back in New York in the thick of fashion’s elite at the Harper’s Bazaar Icons party at the Plaza.
He covered the infamous September issue of the magazine along with wifey Kim Kardashian and took the stage at the black tie bash as musically gifted cover stars want to do.
And, after many had grumbled about hoofing it to the outskirts of Manhattan and giving up hours of previously over-scheduled time during the week of jam-packed shows, a ballroom’s worth of glamazons flocked to hear him perform.
The rapper commanded such a packed crowd that there were reports of celebrities, including Pamela Anderson, who gave up getting in the mix and turned away.
So why does this undeniable influencer continue to display such an inferiority complex?
Perhaps it’s the visceral disdain for the fashion community to the scent of trying.
“I tried to listen to all the reports and tried my best to stop trying,” he said to a crowd, which couldn’t stop Snapchatting and Instagramming the star. “But I just couldn’t do it. I just couldn’t stop. No matter what they write, I just couldn’t stop.”
And therein lies the disconnect. In an industry that despises trying to fit in, Kanye wears his artistic efforts like a badge of honor. And though there’s a contingent that appreciates that attitude so much as to court it — namely Carine Roitfeld, whom Kanye hailed for selecting himself and Kim for the icons list and promoting them in other ways over the years — there are many who want in on the fame but hate on that unseemly effort; and all those body suits, body con dresses and oversized coats from his Yeezy collections that are largely meh.
But despite those slightly unimaginative and overwrought fashion efforts, at the end of a long day at fashion week, fashion people are more than willing to Touch the Sky with him.