Exclusive: Alexander Wang To Debut Collection Menswear-------
Alexander Wang is on a roll. The designer not only opened his first-ever flagship and revamped his entire online presence, while designing two labels, Alexander Wang and T, and finding time to hit his fair share of parties. For Fall, he’s introducing men’s ready-to-wear, too.
“It’s about the right timing, the right opportunity, then one thing leads to another,” Wang said at his studio last week about his first men’s collection. His first foray into menswear came via his casual T collection three seasons ago, which began small and gradually grew to include leathers and some outerwear. That line recently earned him the CFDA and GQ‘s Best New Menswear Designer Award, a win that surprised even Wang himself. “I got nominated and at first I was like, really?” he recalled with a laugh. “They really encouraged me and reinforced the idea that [they] think it’s the right time, and I was like, well, let’s do it!” The CFDA redoubled its encouragement when this year’s CFDA Award nominations were announced. There, Wang—who’s already won the Swarovski awards for women’s and accessories in 2009 and 2010, respectively—was not only nominated for the womenswear Designer of the Year trophy, he also found his name among the finalists for the Swarovski emerging-designer award for menswear, for T by Alexander Wang.
The alignment of the stars—not to mention the nudging of the industry—doesn’t get much clearer than that. In addition to which, Wang says menswear is among the most requested category at his new Soho store. So for Fall, he is set to debut his namesake menswear collection, though he stresses that the initial offering is small enough to be considered a capsule. It will be available at Wang’s own shop and Barneys New York, and at stores including Dover Street Market, Colette, and Joyce internationally. Prices begin where T men’s leaves off, at around $375, and climb to $1,150 for outerwear (one outlying all-leather trenchcoat tops out at $2,150).
“It started with a lot utilitarian references, something that I’ve always felt a close attraction to,” Wang continued. “And the idea of mixing—I’ve always liked to take something very dressy and bring it down, [take] something very, very casual and elevate it.” So Wang’s suit pants are actually tracksuit bottoms in utility nylon or leather; his outerwear (some of the strongest of the 14-style collection), traditional overcoats tricked out with varsity-jacket leather sleeves. Sporty jackets in wool felt and gabardine include silk tuxedo collars, and slubby sweatpants are shown with baggy, knee-length leather shorts. And while the heavy boots styled into the shots above aren’t by Wang, the designer says men’s accessories will be added for his second collection, in Spring ’12.