No argument, Alexander Wang is one of New York's fashion stars. His latest laurels: a GQ/CFDA menswear award, and the opening of his first flagship just days away. And yet, for the past two seasons, his ready-to-wear collection has received a mixed response from editors who thrive on Wang's buzz and retailers who do gangbusters with his ever-expanding T line.
But with today's show, Wang made a triumphant return to form that injected the sexy, tough, cool-girl attitude he's built his brand on with a heightened sense of luxury. The designer explained in a preview: "We're almost poking fun at decadence and luxury." Almost, and well, really just enough. All the lush, cocoon-y outerwear was clever, not clownish or immature in its hybridizations of bomber jacket-turned-poncho, boyfriend blazer-turned-fur coat, and a tuxedo jacket with puffer sleeves.
You could simultaneously get the jokey comment on the current fur mania with his mink-wrapped sunglasses and boudoir bobbles on high-shine metallic loafers while still thinking it all looked pretty great. And it did. From all those coats to the smart split-up-the-side heavy-ribbed knits paired with glitter drainpipe jeans (perfect for the "Billie Jean" effect on the runway) and a rose-hued satin skirt of slashed ribbons, to his various riffs on the tuxedo for evening.
"We're looking at where can we push our language further," said Wang, noting that his aim was to create a point of difference from his lower-priced lines. You saw that here in pieces that magically morphed from chunky hand-knit to needle-punched angora to satin, a special effect you'd never see in T. That's the result of newly sourced factories in Italy, where Wang will also be producing his shoes. The designer is clearly on a roll, and with the hire late last year of the company's first president, Rodrigo Bazan, whose résumé includes Alexander McQueen and Marc Jacobs International, Wang's future is burning bright. And that's no joke.