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.