Approaching Kanye West's debut womenswear show at Lycee Henry IV on Saturday night, the crowd was far from typical. Street style photographers were crowded out by a small but eager pack of paparazzi, and the outre outfits that flock around the fashion fringe hoping to be let in at the last moment were gone, replaced by teenage hip hop kids hoping for a star sighting.
The front row too was unusual, in that it featured a wider range of fashion A-listers than you'd see at almost any other event. There were the designers West has supported over the years, like Azzedine Alaïa, Alexander Wang and Jeremy Scott, a pack of editors any designer would be rapt to attract, and, of course, a nebula of celebrities.
Another of those designers was Josh Goot, who just as the show music started to swell, slipped discreetly into the venue. The designer's presence at the show was a final confirmation of what has been a very open, but officially unconfirmed, story in the Australian fashion industry for months.
In the weeks leading up to the debut, rumours swirled about the collaborative nature of the DW by Kanye West line. Who was involved and how it was coming together was a matter of daily speculation on the internet. Many of the stories were outlandish - like the one suggesting West had housed a small horde of star design students in an abandoned night club where they were busily sewing in his name - but many of the whispers about the collection's creators proved true.
One of the instrumental consulting forces on the range was rumoured to be Goot's long-term girlfriend, Australian Harper's Bazaar fashion editor Christine Centenera, who was apparently being flown to Paris and London on a fortnightly basis to work with West.
Just how intense the fashionista's involvement had been was evident on the catwalk. The whole collection smacked of Centenera's signature style, a mix of sport-luxe and amped up glamour that has seen the editor become something of a street style sensation.
Centenera was far from the only Australian in the picture. Local models Abbey Lee Kershaw and Bambi Northwood Blythe walked in the presentation, alongside massive international stars like Chanel Iman and Anja Rubrik. Behind the scenes, Mark Vassallo, former fashion director for Australian Harper's Bazaar and Grazia, and a highly regarded Australian Fashion Week show producer, confirmed that he performed a similar role for West. "It was an amazing experience for me as producer of the show," he said via email. "Kanye is a legend and so passionate about his new line."
Vasallo's work was well received, with most reviews praising the production values of the catwalk presentation.
Técha Noble, of Sydney based creative collective The Kingpins, was also involved in creating West's clothing range. The artist flew to London for an intense two-week session that saw her working on pieces for the line "sometimes until six in the morning."
"He's incredibly hands-on," Nobel says of working with the musician-turned-designer.
During her time at West's London studio, Noble saw scores of big-name creatives walk through the door. "Kanye is incredibly interested in collaboration. He approaches fashion the same way as music, with a very fluid sense of immediacy. He treats everyone as an important artist and he's always in the present."
"He has a few Australians around him, he seems to feel at home with us," Noble notes. Joining the Australian contingent working on DW by Kanye West is a group of London's brightest, including menswear designer Katie Eary, knitwear star Louise Goldin and Central Saint Martins professor Louise Wilson, who has been responsible for nurturing some of Britain's best design talents.
West repeatedly confessed to nerves in the lead-up to the collection's debut, which is hardly surprising given the reputation for mediocrity attached to typical celebrity fashion lines.
A regular at the shows for several years now, the sincerity of West's fascination with fashion is undoubtable. His fan-boy status, huge well of resources and army of collaborators meant that expectations for the debut were set very high.
Ultimately, reviews were mixed with critics pointing out the range's similarities to Balmain, and critiquing the large quantities of fur employed for a spring/summer collection, while praising the line's balance between luxe and street.
But critics agreed on one point: the collection shows promise. Forthcoming seasons should be well-attended with many fashion commentators tweeting their curiosity about West's next move.
Noble is also optimistic. "With Kanye, it's always very much about a fluid exchange, a battle or a creative conversation. The studio was a really exciting place to be working."
Alyx Gorman is the fashion editor of The Vine. Follow her on Twitter @AlyxGorman.