Alexander Wang Fall 2019

by Long Nguyen

Alexander Wang opted out of New York fashion weeks in September and February to show his Spring and Fall collections in early June and December.

This past June, on an outdoor roof deck near South Street Seaport, Wang reset his brand after a decade with a fresh start, a new logo, and a new perspective that embodied his new products. Note cards on every seat read, “Today marks a new beginning, a new identity, and a new day for my brand.” This first collection served as a meditation on Wang’s experience of growing up as an Asian-American. The rock-influenced garments of oversized jackets, coats, worn-out denims, bandanas, black leather, and chunky belts served as a testament to his childhood of absorbing MTV pop culture.

Wang’s second collection was shown in downtown Brooklyn at a converted Williamsburg Savings Bank. The night was separated into two acts; it began with a cocktail and caviar party and later moved to the basement for the show. It was obvious from the accouterments of the show; the two-dollar bill gif invite, the old bank building, servings of champagne and caviar, that it was a reflection of the hard work necessary to make it in America, and particularly in New York. Rick Ross’ “Hustlin’” played loudly for the finale, capping the mood of the struggle for both riches and prominence that the music genre rising in the early 90s. Fashion caught a similar upswing.

Self-expression via dressing oneself was a clear dichotomy in the mixtures of materials and cuts. The designs ranged from white or black sparkling wool slim to boxy jackets, paired with heavy leather long skirts, elbow gloves, lime wool mohair cardigans and corset tops with black leather aprons. Wang displayed fringed matching mohair skirts and red wool peacoats with yellow spray paint graffiti done by the New York based artist Katsu. The garments represented symbols of privilege. Preppy rugby polos were transformed into asymmetrical ribbed short dresses with red and white stripes and cut out layers. Classic tennis sweaters were mutilated into oversized deep v-neck cardigans and boat neck ribbed pullovers.

The women’s clothes looked more polished and grown up this time, and perhaps also more sophisticated than in season one. There was an apparent emphasis on the range of products for men this season. Many of the models carried vinyl, leather, and leopard printed garment bags over their shoulders which called attention to their multifaceted work-life consisting of gym and evening wear outfit changes. One of the male models wore black stretch leather running tights and a green and white striped long sleeve tee, giving the impression he was on his way to the gym. Several of the male designs consisted of tux jackets, silk boxer shorts, and cashmere coats paired with denim shorts. Many of the outfits seemed to embody the idea of wealth and reminded me of luxurious icons like Hugh Hefner. The new range of menswear product was a highlight of the show and spoke to a similar aesthetic of Wang’s knitwear capsule in 2005.

The designer has had a long, impressive journey and has come a long way since his years at Balenciaga, which surely taught him the ropes of making high fashion products. His garments are well made but can’t feel precious simply because his customers won’t buy that kind of sensibility, at least not from him. The giant golden brass W buckle leather belt is sure to be the hot accessory for fall as a new status symbol.

Photos by Dan Lecca