Dispatches from New York: Alexander Wang & Altuzarra

Alexander Wang’s futurist fembots and Altuzarra’s colour pop

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By: Rebecca Lowthorpe Follow @Rebecca_ELLE

It took one hour to get out of the gridlocked traffic after the Alexander Wang show, which took place last night at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Dragging everyone out of ‘tha siddy’ is one thing, but not letting them get back in is quite another.

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It could have been a disaster for Wang had the show not been one of his strongest. Pah! Strong doesn’t even come close: Ferocious, more like. But what was this? Military, sporty, utility, futurist, techno? His models looked like a highly organised squad of killing machines, in their pencil grey, multi-pocketed coats designed to carry bullets and possibly the odd hand grenade. Saddle bags, slung purposefully across one shoulder and stiff leather thigh-high boots (with a white Cuban heel) also had futuristic army stamped all over them.

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The setting was Blade Runner-industrial, with glinting silver pillars and a revolving floor that carried Wang’s warrior women around for a spectacular finale. If great fashion is all about delivering one focused message, then this was great. And there were fabulous pieces: a blue canvas jacket, a rippling sweater with a high white neck, big, boxy, sports-mesh jackets seamed in shearling, and wide leather sweat pants. But I couldn’t help wondering who (not in the fashion world) would wear such stiff, intense fabrics. It all felt a bit fantasy fembot to me.

Altuzarra A/W 2014

Earlier, Joseph Altuzarra proved why he’s fast becoming the go-to designer of his generation for coats. They came in double-faced cashmere; both ‘faces’ represented in a contrast colour, such as olive and magenta, or navy and cobalt. They were also belted at the waist and cut close to the body – smooth and elegant.

‘This collection is as much about what something looks like on the outside as what it looks like on the inside,’ said Altuzarra, who had been thinking about the meaning of luxury. He had also been concentrating on ‘artisanal’ craft, which is why he sent hand-woven dresses and tapestry tops down the runway, their loose threads hanging. It was hard to imagine the same woman who will slip on one of his coats tackling such awkward, roughly woven shapes; these looked forced alongside slippery satin dresses and sinuous pale sheaths sliced with vibrant silks.

The biggest departure for Altuzarra was colour and he nailed this best with his intarsia fur coats, patchworked in vibrant checks. Those and the shearling ‘thermal’ jackets – cut generously big – will be the standout buys from this collection.

Alexander Wang A/W 2014: See the collection

Altuzarra A/W 2014: See the collection

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