Image: Kanye West directs people during his Yeezy Season 3 Collection presentation and listening party for the “The Life of Pablo” album during New York Fashion Week February 11, 2016. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
By Piya Sinha-Roy
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – More than 20 million viewers watched rapper and fashion designer Kanye West put his own twist on a New York Fashion Week runway show on Thursday as he debuted a new album and clothing collection at famed music venue Madison Square Garden.
West, his reality star wife Kim Kardashian and her family, including former NBA basketball player Lamar Odom, entered the Manhattan venue to cheers from the audience.
It is the first time Odom, the estranged husband of Khloe Kardashian, has been seen in public since he fell into a coma after using cocaine at a brothel last October and was hospitalized.
The event was streamed for free online via subscription music service Tidal, garnering around 20 million viewers according to the platform. Tidal, which touts hi-fidelity streaming, is co-owned by a group of music’s top artists including West, Jay Z, Rihanna and Beyonce.
As West played new tracks for his upcoming “The Life of Pablo” album, dozens of models were unveiled standing on raised platforms in the center of the arena, wearing the new Yeezy Season 3 that West designed for sports brand Adidas.
The collection, launched on the first day of the city’s fashion week, featured West’s penchant for neutral tones but included bright pops of pink, red and orange across the collection of leotards, tops, leggings and parkas worn by a diverse group of models.
West also announced an upcoming video game called “Only Once,” which he said was about his late mother Donda West’s journey to the gates of heaven.
The show quickly became a top social media trend, as fans tweeted about the collection and the music.
One particular explicit lyric regarding Taylor Swift on new track “Famous” garnered a strong response from fans as West rapped that he had made the pop star famous, referring to the their infamous 2009 MTV Video Music Awards incident where West interrupted Swift’s acceptance speech on stage.
Swift and West had since buried the hatchet, but fans speculated the new lyrics could incite a feud between the two music stars.
Also getting in on the action, former drug executive Martin Shkreli tweeted out a letter addressed to West offering to buy “The Life of Pablo” for $10 million so that it would be released solely to him, and kept from the public.
Shkreli is currently being sued over his Wu-Tang album “Once Upon A Time in Shaolin,” the sole copy of which he bought for $2 million.
West has yet to respond to Shkreli.
(Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Andrew Hay)
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