Picture this: Katherine Hepburn, alive and well, sitting on a Ducatti in riding leathers, smoking, and all of this is taking place outside of a haute techno club in the glamorous near future.
It sounds like a lot, but believe me, it’s everything.
That’s the vision that came to mind when first viewing the new Alexander Wang Spring collection. I swear I got high on the fashion.
Okay, I know that vision is nowhere near what Alexander Wang was thinking about when designing this collection, but it’s the version that works for me. In reality it was sneakers that inspired the designer, who reinterpreted iconic versions of sporty shoes into fabulously modern clothes. Look closely at the collection and you can spot Adidas’ trademark stripes, bodycon dresses emulate the bold panels of Nike Flyknits, heavy mesh-lined cutouts resemble the breathable panels of cross trainers… the list goes on. With such rich and varied inspiration fueling his creativity, it’s easy to see how Mr. Wang has catapulted to the forefront of high American design- and how is S/s 2015 showing is just so fierce.
His talent is truly something to behold. Without a doubt, had he not been the designer, this show could have easily gone in a gimmicky direction. As it is, this collection is full of incredibly sharp, sexy clothes that women are going to want and wear. They just work… while being incredibly cool.
The looks are, to my mind, more polished than sexy. Although sex is a major part of this collection; there are cutouts galore, skirts are thigh-high, dresses fit the body like a second skin, there is net and spandex, leather and sheer fabrics- yet none of it comes off looking too vampish. A classy sexpot is who these clothes are for- a modern woman… and thank goodness. Silhouettes are kept simple and sleek, with a lot of emphasis on the shoulders- I’m talking shoulder pads!- and the collection is heavily menswear-inspired, with trousers making up about half of the looks.
This season’s offering is full of sharply tailored jackets, crisp white shirts, sweater vests and incredible tuxedo pants. There are also shorts, wispy halter-necked crop tops, bondage dresses, tough riding jackets and long shifts. Everything is very fitted- almost molded- around the contours of the female figure. Its show-stopping stuff, with almost every piece possessing a definite look-at-me quality. Can’t you see Sofía Vergara in almost every look?
Color-wise, it’s pretty basic: black, white and grey being the main scheme, but there are bright pops of cobalt blue, canary yellow, scarlet, orange and neon yellow to be seen throughout. There’s not a lot of adornment in this collection, with only a few of the looks featuring beads and extra embellishments, but it’s rich in details. There’s a lot of texture apart from the varied materials used, with many of the clothes featuring an array of different finishes (texture-blocking perhaps?); it wasn’t unusual to see hard plastic, leather, rubber and mesh together in one garment- or even wool with silk and textured rubber. Perhaps one of the most interesting garments to be seen was a grey rubber mini that’s textured to resemble sneaker treads (left, on photo below). Maybe its a little too literal a representation of the show’s theme, but it’s engaging.
It’s plain that for this collectio,n Mr. Wang returned to the designs that made girls first fall in love with him. His return to streetwise downtown cool presents a refreshed version of his aesthetic; it’s futuristic, but a little bit vintage and with a lot more artisanal details.
It’s also clear that Mr. Wang not only drew inspiration from his own past when designing, but studied now-iconic looks from other fashion greats. I can see a 1980s version Yves Saint Laurent’s Le Smoking tuxedo in the lines of the jackets, some Issey Miyake in the white shirts, a little Jean Paul Gaultier in the net panels and the bondage dresses. Maybe his time at Balenciaga is turning him on to fashion history?
To my taste, it’s a magnificent collection. I would wear every single look straight off the runway, including the accessories. Amongst my favourite pieces are the black and yellow beaded shirt, button-detailed cigarette pants, black and white tuxedo suit, white tie-waist jacket, cobalt blue crop top, black mesh-lined motorcycle jacket, belted white shirt dress and the white pleated mini.
This is going to be a big collection for the house- so many of the looks are just too lust-worthy to be forgotten and I can predict that this will be one of the most sought-after collections coming out of the Spring shows. I’m already preparing to fight for the pieces I love!
I’m saying this now: come spring, super sharp cigarette pants and lightly padded cropped jackets will be huge.