Alexander Wang: Hipster Territory
I am worried for fashion. Are there really enough edgy music stars to go round with a craving for studs, frayed denim, hefty oversized sweat tops, military caps, mesh vests, khaki and shoe-lace effects running down trousers?
Perhaps Alexander Wang has a right to claim a slice of that hipster territory. He certainly had an army of celebrity music people trampling their way to the front row under the glare of flashing smartphones. Not stopping at a music soundtrack, there were also sound and light effects on the long horizontal runway, where an eye-popping video, inset with sparkly dots, produced yet more pop cool.
There is a cheerfulness around Wang – not least from the leaping, long-haired designer himself - that brings an energy to his shows. The models strode out as if on the way to some music festival where the look was shiny leather jacket and two layers of torn denim shorts, their bare legs ending in studded sandals. They might equally have worn long dresses – a fresh look from Wang – split at the side into loose panels. However, there seemed to be a surfeit of horizontal stripes, which is fine for sweat tops, but a bit chunky for trousers.
There was nothing wrong with these off-beat casual outfits, sometimes linking a taut leather bustier with a bottom half in loose, long denim. But none of the clothes seemed particularly new, nor different from what Wang has done before.
Perhaps I was too eager to imagine that giving up his role at Balenciaga (whether he resigned or was pushed) would bring the designer fresh energy, a new turn, a big difference. Instead he seemed to be preaching to the converted.
There is always a fine line for a designer between a repeat and a signature. The laced-front trouser legs are, I suppose, something that Wang owns – at least for his age group. And it is sometimes good to have a designer who keeps things simple.
It is just that we have seen so many of the same ideas before – and, indeed, a similar celebrity audience – from Riccardo Tisci at Givenchy. And that designer came to New York this season and raised his game. Whereas Wang did not.