At that point, we had frivolous matters on our minds such as, will we spot Kim Kardashian sportingthose monstrous see-through plastic boots? Will Kanye perform a surprise single, cuz that’d be rad?
A later notice instructed us to take a shuttle bus departing from the Meatpacking District, which would bring us to Roosevelt Island for the show. The bus, packed mostly with media folks, took about an hour and a half to make it to the island; in retrospect, we’d have done better to hop the tramway over the East River.
Once the bus finally let us off, we were in for another hour-and-a-half wait. The sun came out, blistering hot, as we stood in a crowded mass outside of the abandoned ruins of Renwick Smallpox Hospital, awaiting further instruction. This was around 3 p.m., when the performance was supposed to begin. We were marooned on Yeezy Island, true fashion victims.
Among the complaints of the commiserating crowd:“I don’t really want to go anymore”;“It’d be amazing if we all just left, and no one was at the show”; and finally, what we were all thinking:“This better be the best show ever.”Just as it finally seemed we would get that performance as everyone was ushered through the gates into Four Freedoms Park at the far tip of the island, all we got was more waiting. It was 85 degrees, without water or bathrooms, and minimal shade.
We soon learned the conditions had taken their toll on the participants, too. As part of performance artist Vanessa Beecroft’s conceptual installation, around 50 models clad in nude bodysuits stood still on the lawn, appearing elegant and stoic, until at least three fainted. In each case, when their fellow models rushed to their aid and departed the lawn to procure water, we were pretty certain it wasn’t part of the show.
When West’s models finally emerged — wearing a mix of above-the-knee heeled boots, nude leotards, army jackets and hoodies — to circumnavigate Beecroft’s models on a raised white platform, all appeared well, despite the ominous tones of the chosen music. That changed when one model,Amina Blue, grimacing and struggling to walk in heels that appeared several sizes to small, finally just took them off, to applause from the crowd. Asecond modelalso removed her heels, after almost collapsing. Were these innocent wardrobe errors or a playing out of the old adage that one must suffer to be beautiful? Either way, we aren’t buying it.