Talk about pressure. Alexander Wang’s exit from Balenciaga, his other design gig in Paris that lasted less than three years, was announced at the end of July. It was said to be a mutual parting of ways, the designer stating that he wanted to concentrate on his namesake brand in New York.
So here we were, last night, at his SS16 show and expectations were skyscraping, even if he’d had less than two months to concentrate all his efforts. He needed to wow a sceptical industry that had witnessed him, not struggle exactly, but never quite nail the Parisian high fashion thing. And it had been some time since his own-name brand had pulled off a really big-hitting show. You could say this show would be the making or breaking of him.
Perhaps being released from Balenciaga – working two jobs in two different time zones – prompted what happened next. Or maybe celebrating his first 10 years in business had something to do with it. Whatever, the downtown dynamo, freshly liberated from long haul, stuck two fingers up at haute fashion and punched cool square in the face.
It was tough tailoring meets Nineties streetwear, with a bit of cowgirl (fringing), skydiver (parachute lacing), biker (quilted leather jeans) and boudoir chic (silk pyjamas) all in the (well-styled) mix. Way more credible than last season’s clod-shod punks, this had an authentic street vibe that will make him oh-so-cool with the kids and more relevant than ever to his 30-something generation, with so many more plausible clothes that addressed their lives, be it a parka fringed in black leather, a lingerie dress headed to the next red carpet, or an oversize hoodie.
Who needs Paris?
1) A stonking FROW lined with Kylie Jenner, Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, Lady Gaga et al.
2) The string vest – yes, really.
3) Ankle-skimming denim skirts. Belted, natch.
4) Silk pyjamas – you will want them. And these won’t be the only ones you’ll see on the runway this season.
5) Long lingerie dresses, already trending in NY.