NYFW: ALEXANDER WANG F/W 2014

I don’t think anyone really wanted to be there. That is, not Brooklyn. Though it was understandable, given his theme of global warming, why Alexander Wang chose the environmentally friendly Duggal Greenhouse to show his fall/winter collection, that knowledge did nothing to make the trip any more pleasant. Does anyone ever want to be in Brooklyn on a cold, snowy, Saturday night? Not really.

Yet, the place was packed because, after all, this is Alexander Wang and he is almost as well known for his showmanship as his clothes. Those sitting front row may have been fashion’s elite, but everyone from the third row up was just there to be entertained, and they weren’t disappointed.

The set was industrial-styled columns made of air ducts and the show started with flashes of lightening, thunder, and the sound of rain. Models arrived on the catwalk with their hair pasted down to short, manish combovers with wax eyebrows that made it look as though they’d been shaved off. Were they robots? Mannequins? Wall Street bankers?

Fundamental to this collection are the coats. Some were made of suede down, which is heavy and warm, but delightfully soft. Others, fashioned like rain slickers, were made of silk, not exactly the most weather-friendly fabric on the planet. What caught everyone’s attention, though, were the pockets. Lots and lots and lots of pockets, military style of a sort, but designed to carry smart phones and iPads and notebooks and an array of writing utensils. The feel was that of an urban survivalist.

Dresses and day wear, and there were several, were again made of laser-cut leather, suede, and silk. While Wang may be ecologically friendly, he’s not so animal friendly as to give cows a break. He even had leather dickies to go with masculine styled double-breasted suit coats. Is anyone going to actually wear a dickie like that? Some of the dresses had ragged hems that looked very much as though someone had taken the bolt of cloth and ripped it against the grain, giving it that caveman/Flintstones look. Again, a bit of a survivalist feel, but more like getting your hem caught in a subway turnstile during rush hour type of survival.

Then, there were the boots, or sometimes what appeared to be boots from the front. They were tall, with above-the-knee panels, like riding boots, but they weren’t all really boots. There was several that were high heels, boot-like in front, but totally open from ankle to heel, which is definitely not weather appropriate. They looked interesting, but one could easily lose one in a snow drift.

Highlight of the show was when yet another set of models came onto the stage, standing in a circle, and as the stage began to revolve, their coats began to change color: black to blue, yellow to purple. What sort of magic is this Wang has conjured? Heat-activated leather, fashion technology at its most amusing.

Then, the show was over and everyone attempted to leave Brooklyn at the same time. The line of town cars and taxis stretched endlessly. The traffic jam lasted over an hour. One might have actually made better time walking from Manhattan. Was a fashion show, any fashion show, worth all this?

When clothes hit the shelves this fall, the show will be a distant memory. And those coats? You might want to pre-order yours now. Don’t expect them to stay on store racks very long. The collection is bound to be a hit.

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