February 10, 2012 New York
Wang continued the trompe l'oeil theme of his pre-fall collection, this time taking "a surrealistic approach to fabric manipulation," as he explained in a preview. "It's this idea of shrink-wrap, lamination, covering up, lacquering." Nearly every surface seemed to have a slick sheen or gloss. He lacquered the tweeds on coats, hooded jackets, and even chunky wool sweaters. Leathers were glossy and seamless, and suede pants and coats came with waxed panels. The clothes themselves were also covered up. Wang sent out mid-calf-length skirts (with those great, soon-to-be-ubiquitous knee-high boots), buttoned-up coats, and fishnet turtlenecks pulled up over models' faces. This was definitely Wang in a more grown-up, if not dystopian, mode. (Those turtlenecks recalled surgical flu masks.) His designs exuded a new precision, as well as a new, expensive polish. And we're not just talking about the all-gold hardware. Ninety percent of the fabrics here were custom developed, and it showed.
Lately Wang has been shrinking from his so-called downtown reputation. But he also recognizes that his cool factor is part of his stock-in-trade. Witness his T campaign featuring freaky-cool, of-the-moment South African rap group Die Antwoord, who attended the show today. Wang, much like his fellow New York talent Marc Jacobs, is proving he can play to both sides. To wit, his new Pelican bags in vachetta leather. Their raised geometric motif may have been inspired by industrial metal crates, but they looked as structured and finessed as it gets.