"Did you notice anything?" asked Alexander Wang at a preview earlier this week. He paused a beat. "There's no black!" That's right, New York's prince of downtown darkness is turning toward the light. "I was looking for something optimistic," he said, "something pure."
The show began with a series of all-white looks that felt—for anyone who recalled his witchy Wall Street Fall—as fresh as cannonballing into a pool in late August. He worked a construction motif into these deconstructed looks: Coverall straps crisscrossed on the backs of loose, smocklike dresses; there were stiff canvas carpenter's jackets and pants, and industrial materials like Tyvek and what looked like silver insulation. White paint was in the models' hair, and the slashes of rose gold here and there were meant to evoke duct tape.
Spring, Wang explained, was also a reaction to the ubiquity of a look that he had a hand in popularizing: If everyone does a skinny jean and motorcycle jacket, it isn't new anymore, is it? His success with that genre has been enviable. The construction theme was, indeed, a crossover from the building boom he's experiencing in real life—an expanding studio, a new Tribeca apartment, and his first store, on Grand Street. So the trick here was to turn the fashion page while still letting his dedicated Wang-ettes preserve their street cred. Yes, they'll love a scribble print created by having his staff doodle on butcher paper. But while the finale of ivory, mint, and terra-cotta had a certain beauty, it's not clear whether his proposal of midi hems and dresses that read Belgian instead of Boom Boom will be the right solution.