Alexander Wang is seemingly unstoppable, and he's set to add menswear to the list of his conquests. It's a category he broached initially with his more casual T line. After growing it, he inched into the designer market with a capsule offering for Fall. The accolades began arriving almost immediately. He'd scarcely started men's T when GQ named him their Best New Menswear Designer of the Year; his first designer pieces hadn't even hit stores when the CFDA nominated him for its emerging-designer Swarovski Award.
"For me, when it comes to menswear, it comes down to uniform," Wang said of his aesthetic. "I really wanted to visit the classics and things that guys know and understand. It wasn't about reinventing the wheel and testing them. Just taking things and applying these details to the point where the details aren't the first things you notice. You're attracted to it because it's something that you recognize, and you fall in love with it because the details lure you and surprise you."
Sportswear pieces are the building blocks of the collection—the sportier the better. Track pants, running shorts, hoodies, sweatshirts, and varsity jackets are all key. Wang's own uniform, to be precise. The details range from minute to the maximal: mixed materials, and even shapes, sharing the space of a single garment. It lends them a bit of a Frankenstein charge. Wovens and knits bleed into one another; technical twill abuts glazed nylon finished off with a paper-thin leather Wang calls calf chiffon. Outerwear is the strongest category, with a combo bomber jacket the best of the bunch, but glazed cotton knits are strong as well, some intarsia-ed with subtle tonal patterning.
If there's a but, it's that Wang's classics and menswear's classics aren't always one and the same. Suffice it to say, there are no suits here. In broad strokes alone, the collection resembles the T line from which it grew. And more so than for women's, Wang freely admits, the customer for men's T and men's ready-to-wear is the same. The ready-to-wear can boast refinements in fabrics and fabrications, but its own aesthetic is still emerging. Clarifying it relative to T will be the designer's challenge going forward. The guy he's creating it for, Wang says, isn't a fashion guy—it's the guy his girl likes. That guy is sure to appreciate the tech-y, sportif cool on offer as well as its casual ease. But is he ready to pay fashion-guy prices?