Alexander Wang was determined to make a powerful impression with his autumn/winter 2015 collection. His mission, to carve out a different image to that of his other job at Balenciaga, never felt so urgent.
Wang’s gang stomped out as post-modern punks with stringy oiled hair and giant-soled Frankenstein-like boots. It wasn’t pretty. Not that Wang ever does pretty. And it wasn’t really punk – not the authentic, gritty stuff of angry youth. This was ‘styled’ punk: strip away the grimy hair and heavy footwear and you had clothes that targeted the shop floor with only a whiff of fierceness about them. Any aggression came from the high-necked liquorice-black leathers and the pitch-black tailoring seamed with silver studs resembling ball bearings. Remove the model Binx Walton from her red and black lumberjack check coat and, well, you have a very nice coat that could never be misconstrued as punkish.
There were a lot of great clothes here: slippery satin dresses, stiff (in a good way) leather jackets and sloppy (also in a good way) dressing gown-tied coats. But where was the sporty energy running through the clothes? Wang and sportswear are usually mentioned in the same breath. Surely sportswear is the obvious way to differentiate his eponymous signature from that of Balenciaga’s – like he did (brilliantly) last season. But no designer wants to be predictable. They want to delight and surprise. It’s their job, after all. So shouldn’t we applaud his desire to strike out in a new, bold direction? OK then, Mr Wang, bravo.