Earlier this week, an accessories editor at a major magazine told me she was forced to ask the staff's stylists to stop using Alexander Wang's lace-up sandal boot from Spring 2009 in their shoots. Consider that: a contemporary designer snagging a seasonal honor—Most Favored Editorial Shoe—usually taken by the likes of Balenciaga or Louis Vuitton.
Defined purely by price point, his is a contemporary brand. But it's a label Wang politely chafes at, and over the past three seasons he's become sui generis: a designer with the creative chops to increasingly earn a place in high fashion's conversation, but whose clothes are accessible to more than just the one percent.
Situated at this powerful vantage point, Wang chose Wall Street's Masters of the Universe as his starting point for Fall. He took the traditional banker's suit—a push into uncharted territory for this Master of the T-shirt—and deconstructed it in a dark and sexy vein. It was "about growing up, about progress," Wang said before the show. "It's a lot more sophisticated, more polished." Polished yes, but hardly proper. Wang knows his girl, and she's not following the office dress code.
Cropped blazers, tailcoats, and vests exposed slivers of skin and were worn with thick ribbed thigh-high legwarmers, often yanked down over chunky heels. Matching backpack straps were crisscrossed in front to give a bondage vibe. Layering was part of the story, but Wang's goal was to do it in a more precise, less street-chic manner, slicing away extraneous elements. A key part of that was his new trouser, a sort of glorified belled legging that his leggy front-row fans will no doubt jump all over.
Perhaps as a counterpoint to his gray flannel inspiration, Wang also made the case for velvet in all forms, including chenille. That seems a tough sell, even for him. Then again, there's a good likelihood that the growing number of worldwide Wang-ettes—some of whom surely caught the show live-streamed on SHOWstudio or on the massive American Eagle LED billboard in Times Square—will love every little bit.