In sweltering heat, set to a slow, morose soundtrack, Kanye West debuted the fourth season of his Yeezy collection for Adidas at a park memorializing Franklin D. Roosevelt's famous four freedoms: of speech and worship, from want and fear.
Helping to kick off New York Fashion Week, West lured the fashion crowd, along with wife Kim Kardashian and two of her famous sisters, Kendall and Kylie Jenner, to Roosevelt Island just off Manhattan on Wednesday.
There, "multicultural" models, per his criticized casting call over the long holiday weekend, stood under a blazing sun as they greeted sweaty guests in beige and black leotards, bodysuits and other clingy, revealing foundation garments. Some were thonged. Some were two pieced and under-boobed. Some were non-distinct.
The invited sought refuge under the few trees available once the hour-long show finally began at Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park near a crumbling, long-abandoned hospital for smallpox patients and featuring white monuments to Roosevelt's 1941 "four freedoms" state of the union address. The rapper used a triangular grassy knoll for the show.
A handful of more than 100 models hired for the marathon afternoon (as opposed to fashion shows that usually take 10 minutes or so) just plain sat down in the grass where they stood barefoot, felled by sizzling temperatures and walking once or twice to a box of bottled water set up at the front just for them.
Music by performance artist Vanessa Beecroft heralded more models who actually walked, on a white runway that rimmed the knoll in thigh-high boots, including one poor soul whose stiletto-heeled pair weren't strong enough to hold her, forcing a sad wobble in her step.
The clothes the walkers wore were simple, loose fleece hooded looks, white dresses and fall zip coats, leaving one to wonder whether the anticipated Yeezy Season 4 was worth risking dehydration and time suck at the start of a busy week for the fashion industry.
Certainly the models were happy for the hype job and relieved to hightail it out of the sun at the same time. Among West's walkers was a fierce-looking Teyana Taylor, the star of his new "Fade" video. Among his other celeb guests: Pharrell, Spike Jonze and Tyga.