By Melissa Fares
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Three months after being hospitalized for exhaustion, rapper Kanye West made his first major public appearance on Wednesday, turning up for his Yeezy fashion show during New York Fashion Week.
With his wife Kim Kardashian West in the front row next to Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour, West debuted the fifth season of his high-end athleisure wear collection for Adidas to the fashion world’s elite.
The show, which has become one of the most exclusive presentations during recent fashion weeks, was not live-streamed on the music streaming website TIDAL as some of West’s shows have been in the past.
Many social media users expressed their frustrations when they learned they would not be able to watch online, but critics were positive about the 39-year-old singer’s latest runway show, saying the emphasis was on his new collection, rather than him.
“To me it felt like the most traditional fashion show that he’s done,” said Rickie De Sole, W Magazine’s fashion market and accessories director, who was at the show.
“It had a polish to it. It felt like a serious fashion show. It felt substantial and there was less hoopla. It really was all about the fashion,” De Sole added.
The collection was dominated by denim, high-waisted jeans, hoodie sweatshirts, baseball caps, cargo pants, knee-high boots and, of course, sneakers.
Muslim model Halima Aden, the 19-year-old Somali-American who competed for Miss Minnesota wearing a burkini and who recently scored a major modeling contract with talent agency IMG, strutted the catwalk wearing a floor-length fur coat and a hijab.
Buzz had been building around the appearance of the so-called “Yeezy Runner” after West was photographed wearing the oversized white sneakers by paparazzi in January.
Kardashian appeared in athleisure wear herself, a sleeveless, see-through turtle neck shirt, track pants and an over-sized winter coat, all of which were maroon.
During the presentation, there were roughly 150 posts per minute about the Yeezy line on Twitter, according to social media analytics firm Zoomph.
The “Jesus Walks” singer emerged as one of Donald Trump’s most high-profile supporters during the 2016 election campaign and met the then president-elect at Trump Tower in New York on Dec. 13, making him the target of outrage and sarcasm from fans on social media.
(Reporting by Melissa Fares and Gina Cherelus in New York; Editing by Tom Brown)