NYFW: ALEXANDER WANG S/S 2014

Every generation has that designer which defines the collective culture. For that generation just now reaching adulthood, that designer is Alexander Wang. Those of us who are light years older don’t need to even try and understand. This is a cultural reference point that is as meaningful for this generation as Diane Von Furstenberg was in the 1970s. Evidence of Wang’s cultural popularity was confirmed by the celebrities sitting front row: Kanye West, R & B singer Miguel, photographer Terry Richardson, and Courtney Love.

The set at Pier 94 was immense and white tape on the floor laid out what is likely the most circuitous route runway models have ever had to walk. The most popular rap music blared through speakers at volumes that left those over 40, primarily fashion editors, wincing. For anyone not deeply part of this culture, it was a difficult show to sit through.

What matters, though, is the fashion and on that note Wang made a bold statement, even if it wasn’t exactly a new one: Legs and midriffs are meant to be shown … and a little side boob doesn’t hurt, either. Throughout the collection, which started with super-short and sporty tennis skirts, hemlines stayed well above the knee.  Only a handful of dresses toward the end of the collection flirted with anything lower. Tops went for the inverted V look, fastened at the neck and then left open. While fabrics changed from leather to denim to knits to cotton, the aesthetic remained the same.

Baby doll dresses and tops were also put to strong use and then Wang went with a modified cropped T look applied to a variety of fabrics over slacks and shorts. Without question, the most popular item is a cropped long-sleeve shirt with sheer panels and the familiar “Parental Advisory: Explicit Content” label so prevalent through the hip hop and rap music fields.

For the most part, the pieces make sense when removed from the ear-splitting environment. The exceptions would be studded gloves with “WANG” spelled out, and a finale piece that very much looks like a knee-length leather apron. You may want to wear something under that if you don’t want to get arrested.

Is the collection wearable? Yes, as long as one is young enough and hip enough. Whether you meet that standard might possibly be measured by whether you have a child of sufficient age to wear the line. If they can, you can’t.

Alexander Wang is the fashion statement of a generation. Don’t complain. At least they aren’t leisure suits.

More from charles i. letbetter

NYFW: RAG & BONE S/S 2015

With all the emphasis that comes on glitz and glamour during New...
Read More