2016 ended in grim reality for the world’s most famous reality TV stars, the Kardashian-Wests, who were befelled by a series of surreal events. After Kim retreated from public eye following her robbery-at-gunpoint, Kanye suffered a spectacularly public nervous breakdown that landed him in the hospital. His physician said West had suffered “temporary psychosis.”
There were reports of a split as Kanye was hospitalized in Los Angeles, before emerging to fanfare over a meeting with President-elect Donald Trump in New York (West claimed he wanted to discuss “multicultural issues” with the incoming president).
Now, the couple is signaling a return to normalcy in the Kardashian-West Kingdom. After a three-month hiatus from social media, Kim surfaced yesterday with a candid photo of her and Kanye with their children, North and Saint. She captioned the grainy, sentimental image “family” and posted it on her Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook profiles.
The happy family photo dropped hours before a Page Six report that West was trying to “be a little more restful” after manically throwing himself back into work, preparing the launch of a new clothing line and a Yeezy Season 5 collection.
The gossip site didn’t confirm whether West would present Season 5 at this February’s New York Fashion Week, showing the Fall 2017 collections, and neither West’s rep nor the CFDA responded to The Daily Beast’s inquiries on the matter.
Of Kanye’s health, his personal trainer Harley Pasternak told Us Weekly: “He’s really a fit guy … Kanye’s active. He’s exercising. He’s eating well and he’s got a great family.”
Sources also told the magazine West had been receiving outpatient treatment in Los Angeles. “He’s doing a lot better,” one said.
Needless to say, West has a tendency to keep the fashion world waiting breathlessly for details about his fashion shows, which don't traditionally appear on the CFDA calendar for New York Fashion Week, including the schedule for next month’s shows.
Each Yeezy show has proven more enigmatic and over-the-top than the last, leaving some critics exhausted but in awe of the spectacle and others uplifted and inspired by his fever-brained creations.
But many left last season’s show in a plainly bad mood. After an hours-long, torturous scavenger hunt of sorts, guests finally alighted on the location for West’s Yeezy Season 4 presentation—the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park on Manhattan’s Roosevelt Island—which remained secret until they got there.
Most arrived via the F train or a (dis)organized shuttle bus to a tram that carried them across the East River, then shuffled in line towards the park beneath the relentless sun. As my colleague Tim Teeman noted, umbrellas brought in the event of rain became enviable accessories as people jostled for a spot of shade beneath the park’s trees.
West managed to provoke controversy before the show with his casting call for “multiracial women only,” then caused more uproar when one of his dehydrated, street-cast models fainted in the heat.
The clothes were variations of what we’ve seen in previous seasons— “lots of closet staples for Kanye’s true believers and otherwise,” Vogue.com observed dryly. “The over-the-knee stiletto boots need a good deal of work. And the same goes for the execution of his shows.”
If you weren’t a member of the Kardashian family, ferried there by limo, the show was hours of fresh hell with little payoff.
The whole fiasco seemed like a predictably elaborate trolling scheme by West, outperforming his blockbuster Yeezy Season 3 presentation at Madison Square Garden, which coincided with the deafening premiere of his Life of Pablo album. Some 20,000 people packed into the venue to see the charade, and another 20 million watched it online via Tidal.
West’s very existence is a kind of divisive performance show. His fans argue it’s a deliberate act that proves his artistic genius, and his detractors say he’s a megalomaniac whose talent is dwarfed by his celebrity and ego.
But even the fans have been disappointed by his recent behavior, from impulsively tweeting his support of Bill Cosby to pledging allegiance to a President-elect whose campaign rhetoric was frequently racist.
Planet Fashion will be there if West presents a new collection next month, but they’ll be hard-pressed to take the designer seriously if his performance veers into absurd theater. They’d be well advised to stock up on energy bars and extreme weather clothing just in case.