ALEXANDER WANG FALL 2013
Well, can you blame him? I mean, come on, who could? A beaming Alexander Wang bounded out after his fantastic fall show radiating the kind of unbridled positivity and confidence that can get you all sorts of things in this life—even, as it turns out, a storied French fashion house that wants you to write the next chapter in its history. Of course, we’re going to be at fever pitch over the upcoming weeks waiting for Wang to make his Balenciaga debut in Paris—and there was something wonderfully teasing and wink-wink about sneaking in a few Cristóbalisms into his own collection, what with those rounded and molded volumes of the shoulders and backs of his capaciously ovoid leather, wool, and fur coats and jackets. As it turns out, the couture-y fifties was just one decade Wang was looking at. He also had his eye on the thirties and forties, he said backstage, still smiling from ear to ear. (Like I said, who can blame him?) “It was taking all of the wonderful evening wear from those decades,” he said, “and then turning it into sportswear. The last few collections have been so slick and urban, it felt right to challenge ourselves with something new.”
This, in essence, is what makes the experience of Brand Wang so compelling: a his-generation-minded approach to driving on and expanding who you are as a designer and what you are known for, without ever losing sight of who you are. And for all the nostalgia-tinged views of the past that Wang was working with here, he’s also a fearless modernist, pushing himself onward to make clothes that mean and say something in the here and now. The silhouette, for instance, worked with the aforementioned sense of sculpted shaping à la the fifties in the form of oversize sweaters and swinging jackets that stood away from the body, worn with lean skirts to the knee or narrow satin pants that sat under matching evening skirts slashed at the front all the way to the waist but didn’t look historicist because of the technological nature of the fabrics—many of them knitted, it turns out, imbuing the clothes with a very twenty-first-century sense of ease and comfort even down to the shoes, and swaddling his high mules in a cocoon of ribbed wool, or facing a pointy cutaway evening pump in a compact black knitted stockinette.
Similarly, when Wang switched his typical bodycon silhouette for something softer and tapering, like the drop-waist coats secured with intricately wrapped belts, they looked as straightforwardly comfortable as the athletic hoodies he was making a few years back. All of this came colored the same no-nonsense shades and tones—grays, whites, blacks rich with texture—that Wang and plenty of his peers are seeing for this coming fall. On paper, that might seem downbeat. In person, it was another story, the rigor only adding to the youthful athletic elegance of what was on offer. Like so much of what Wang can generate, his enthusiasm for it was infectious.