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Kanye’s Yeezy and Saint Laurent: The Year’s Wildest 24 Hours of Fashion

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GQ StyleKanye's Yeezy and Saint Laurent: The Year’s Wildest 24 Hours of Fashion

A behind-the-scenes photo portfolio from the two most disruptive fashion shows of 2016.

This February, as the fashion world grappled with uncertainty about how to unveil new collections in the era of Instagram and instant gratification, two game-changing shows took place less than 24 hours apart on opposite sides of the country. So we made a mad dash with photographer Pari Dukovic to document them both.

First, Saint Laurent hosted an unprecedented rock 'n' roll fashion circus in Los Angeles—far from its usual slot during Paris Fashion Week—showing men's and women's clothes to decked-out celebrities at the Hollywood Palladium, a notorious rock club. The scene inside the Palladium was head-spinning: Bieber pulled up on a skateboard. Sylvester Stallone looked statuesque in a suit. A phalanx of current and future Rock & Roll Hall of Famers turned up: Mark Ronson, Courtney Love, Lenny Kravitz (with Lisa Bonet and Zoë in tow), Joan Jett, Father John Misty, and many more. Then the rock ’n’ roll fashion show turned into an actual rock ’n’ roll concert.

But we had a redeye to catch.

That’s because, just hours later, in New York City, Kanye West went even bigger, unveiling both Yeezy Season 3 and a new album at Madison Square Garden before 15,000 paying fans and Balmain-bedazzled Kardashians. West stood at a table on the floor of the Garden and, from a laptop, played his new album The Life of Pablo publicly for the first time. Hundreds of models posed on giant platforms in the middle of the arena. And fans stood in long lines at merch booths to buy Pablo T-shirts and hoodies. We even briefly spotted Frank Ocean. (He was wearing a Napster tee.)

Months later, now that the fall collections have hit stores, it seems unlikely that these two outsized shows—both held outside the structure of the traditional fashion week system, and both designed for consumption by the masses—can represent a new normal for the fashion industry. These weren't tidy presentations. They were big, far-flung, and glorious one-offs. It was 24 hours of fashion under the big top—and it might never happen quite like this again.

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Saint Laurent | Los Angeles | February 10, 2016 | Traditionally, Saint Laurent presents during the men's and women's Fashion Weeks in Paris. Instead, the house combined the shows and held them off-calendar, some 5,600 miles away.

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Yeezy | New York City | February 11, 2016 | Just hours later, Kanye breaks the mold for fashion shows and album-listening sessions, revealing Yeezy Season 3 and The Life of Pablo simultaneously at MSG as Anna Wintour, Jay Z, and many more look on.

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Saint Laurent | A squad of ushers loiters outside the Palladium before red carpet arrivals begin.

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Yeezy | Backstage, after the show at MSG, Kanye changes into a new piece of merch that memorializes his mother, Donda West, and his father-in-law, Robert Kardashian.

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Saint Laurent | clockwise from top left, Lady Gaga, Sly Stallone, Justin Bieber, Joan Jett, Father John Misty, Alexa Chung, Courtney Love, Lisa Bonet, and, center, Lucky Blue Smith.

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Yeezy | Kim Kardashian West wearing custom Yeezy x Balmain backstage at MSG.

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Saint Laurent | At the Palladium, models walked to a soundtrack by Canadian garage-rock band PyPy. Later, the event turned into a party with performances by Beck, Joan Jett, and more.

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Saint Laurent | The show would prove to be the final menswear presentation of the Hedi Slimane era.

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Yeezy | West actually unveiled two collections at the Garden: Yeezy Season 3 (seen here) and his The Life of Pablo merch.

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Yeezy | The Yeezy invite included a 1995 photo of a Rwandan refugee camp that inspired West and collaborator Vanessa Beecroft's production.

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Yeezy | Kendall Jenner at the Garden.

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Yeezy | Standing at a folding table on the floor of the Garden, West played Pablo from a laptop.

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Saint Laurent | At the Palladium, ushers wore commemorative baseball jackets that later hit Saint Laurent stores—and sold out fast.

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Yeezy | Kanye on the floor of the Garden with Sakiya Sandifer and Pusha T by his side.

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Saint Laurent | Mark Ronson outside the Palladium.

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