Kanye West’s team says the stiletto boots that faltered during the artist’s Yeezy Season 4 show Wednesday will undergo “rigorous” quality control before hitting retail. Meanwhile, West’s Yeezy partner Adidas — which in June announced a mass expansion of their tie-up — has disassociated itself from the style in a comment to WWD.
In the 48 hours since Kanye West and Adidas’ Yeezy Season 4 show, an outpouring of negative reviews, tweets and admonishment by the fashion industry has enveloped the industry. But one factor has yet to be addressed: will these clothes, and namely the collection’s cash cow category — shoes — sell? Particularly when some styles, very publicly, failed with minimal use.
The artist’s Yeezy line hedges much of its success on its shoes. The highly coveted Yeezy Boost sneaker style has fetched more than $5,000 on the secondhand market.
But at the season 4 show, it appeared that West was making a play to move away from sneakers — only pairing two of 38 looks with the athletic style. In their place were thigh-high stiletto boots that keeled with each step. Many of the boots’ heels were broken — leading one model to take them off altogether and another to hobble, creating an unsettling scene.
In a statement to WWD, Adidas disassociated itself from these styles. “These particular boots are actually not a part of the Adidas collaboration,” an Adidas spokesperson said, just three months after the German firm made a splash by announcing it had linked with West to create a special entity for the production of footwear, apparel and accessories, called Adidas + Kanye West. West’s spokesperson clarified that Adidas has never produced Yeezy heeled shoe designs.
They said these seemingly self-produced styles are in a state of reassessment — and their quality will be heavily addressed in the pre-production process. “As is the case with many fashion shows, the designs presented on the runway are often times still in the sample, prototype stage.
“We take quality control very seriously and will ensure that these models undergo further, rigorous trials before reaching the consumer,” said West’s spokesperson.
While West’s camp declined to reveal if stockage of these shoes has been delayed to accommodate this further development, members of the camp did clarify that market appointments for Yeezy Season 4 will take place during Paris Fashion Week, held from Sept. 27 to Oct. 5.
Buyers at current Yeezy partner retailers told WWD that the show’s collapsing footwear will not stop them from purchasing the styles for their stores.
Speaking anonymously, a senior buyer for a multibrand retailer — who has carried Yeezy heels before — said he plans to purchase these shoes as well. “We had the Season 2 thigh-high boots and those sold out — the quality seemed fine,” the buyer said. “When I was at the [Season 4] show and saw the boots, they seemed very appealing. Then I couldn’t understand why the heels were bending under at first, it was kind of confusing because Demna [Gvasalia] had done those heels that bent under for Balenciaga so I didn’t know if it was intentional. I like the idea of the boot. If they were in fact samples that were rushed, I’m sure they will perfect them for production. A lot of the time, people make things in a hurry for the show and unfortunately things like that happen. They are not going to produce shoes without sturdy heels, it’s not something I worry about.”
Another veteran-retailer-turned-consultant who has purchased Yeezy shoes in the past conferred, saying: “I would not hold a designer responsible for shoes breaking on the runway. Samples are meant for a very short performance and are not representative of final production. I think it’s not that big of a deal honestly, it wouldn’t stop me from buying them.”