Alexander Wang was a teenager the first time logo mania came around in the nineties. "That was the height of me in high school, reading and obsessing over [magazines] and being a fashion geek," he said before his show today. Branding would seem to be top of mind for the designer, who is not yet 30 and heading up not only his own company, but also Balenciaga. But, he explained, the real reason for the logos on his Spring clothes was the nostalgia he feels for a time when "fashion was really fun, when there was wit and humor, and it wasn't so serious."
Now, Wang is on a first-name basis with fun, so when he thinks it's gone missing, fashion is in trouble. And he definitely scores points for his bravado in trying to resurrect it today. Translating the bold block letters of his logo into guipure lace, jacquards, and stamped leather was a cocky move, to be sure—one that could likely divide people. Genius or gimmick? We're going with the former. It's not hard to imagine the black leather trench laser-cut with a repeating ALEXANDER WANG pattern on the back turning into a thing. But it was the more subtle interpretations of the idea—like the menswear checks, big and small, that made you do double takes—that were the real winners here. The designers doing logos back in the day weren't half as clever. And with the VFiles of the world and other street-wear brands making bank by tweaking designer branding, it's delightfully meta to see Wang doing it for himself on the runway.
Counterbalancing the in-your-face aspect of the logos and the Explicit Content tees (another nineties callback, thank you, Tipper Gore) was soft men's cotton shirting. But button-downs unbuttoned up-to-there over boxers were no less cheeky. Also, if you thought the midriff was a once-and-done thing, think again. Now that he's got the Balenciaga thing going in Paris, this collection felt like a move on Wang's part to reconnect with the street. It's been an animating force for the designer since the beginning, and it didn't let him down this season.