From darkness comes light. Or in Alexander Wang’s world, from fall’s dark opium dens and Wall Street Goth girls comes a season of optimism. “I wanted to explore a purity and honesty,” said Wang, preshow. “As you can see, there’s not one hint of black.” And in that manner, he joins the myriad of other designers thus far who are working that buoyant and lightened-up mood on the runways. The point of difference here, chez Wang, is one that’s uniquely his: an added inspiration in construction. “I’m in a constant state of construction,” he joked.
“Did you notice anything?” asked Alexander Wang at a preview earlier this week. He paused a beat. “There’s no black!” That’s right, New York’s prince of downtown darkness is turning toward the light. “I was looking for something optimistic,” he said, “something pure.”
The show began with a series of all-white looks that felt—for anyone who recalled his witchy Wall Street Fall—as fresh as cannonballing into a pool in late August. He worked a construction motif into these deconstructed looks: Coverall straps crisscrossed on the backs of loose, smocklike dresses; there were stiff canvas carpenter’s jackets and pants, and industrial materials like Tyvek and what looked like silver insulation. White paint was in the models’ hair, and the slashes of rose gold here and there were meant to evoke duct tape.
Spring, Wang explained, was also a reaction to the ubiquity of a look that he had a hand in popularizing: If everyone does a skinny jean and motorcycle jacket, it isn’t new anymore, is it? His success with that genre has been enviable. The construction theme was, indeed, a crossover from the building boom he’s experiencing in real life—an expanding studio, a new Tribeca apartment, and his first store, on Grand Street. So the trick here was to turn the fashion page while still letting his dedicated Wang-ettes preserve their street cred. Yes, they’ll love a scribble print created by having his staff doodle on butcher paper.
On the most literal level, those notions turned up in the workwear vibe pulsing throughout. Wang riffed on overalls and wide-leg carpenter pants, and added ribbed elastic waistbands to slouchier trousers. Denim jackets came accented with swaths of copper paint, and a flyaway silk trench had utilitarian crisscross straps at the back. And those foil details throughout were a reference to duct tape.
Wang also continued with last season’s deconstruction motif. The result was much layering and ultrarelaxed silhouettes. At times, things turned slightly Japanese (the belted judo jackets and kimono-esque dresses); others, more baggy, hip-hop-style. The effect wasn’t always successful, however, occasionally seeming more haphazard than nonchalant. But on the surprisingly feminine side: those sheer organza button-downs were lovely.