NYFW: ALEXANDER WANG S/S 2017

Alexander Wang S/S 17
Alexander Wang Spring/Summer 2017. Photo credit: Yannis Vlamos

Alexander Wang is bringing back the photo tee.

I’m not kidding. There it was, look number 18. Stock photo of a girl in a bikini on a plain white tee. Okay, actually, it’s a hoodie. I missed the drawstring when it came down the runway. He was also kind enough to toss a well-pressed cotton button-down shirt over that. Still, the concept is exactly the same as it was 40 years ago: iron-on photo of a hot girl in a swimsuit. The biggest difference is that 40 years ago the girl in the swimsuit was the late Farrah Fawcett. I remember because I really wanted one of those shirts and my mom wouldn’t let me get one. Now, I can’t afford one.

Beyond that, the most important thing I can say about this season’s Alexander Wang collection is that he can’t be accused of using excessive amounts of fabric. At least, not in his main collection. After waiting what seemed like an eternity, apparently because Madonna had difficulty getting through New York traffic, the show finally started a little before 10:00 PM. The looks were largely deconstructed pieces from some rich college boy’s closet. Pieces of button-down shirts were made into crop tops. Pieces of button-down shirts were made into shorts (he even left the sleeves on). But while there was a lot of deconstruction going on, the majority of pieces were well finished and looked as sharp as the original garments. There were a few frayed ends here and there, but not a lot.

Oh, and don’t forget that women apparently have to wear those strappy athletic bras that wrap around their well-toned abs a couple of times. They want you to notice so they can tell you they really don’t work out that much.

We also see plenty of variations on the slip dress in this collection. Again, Alex took his scissors to the silhouette and cut it up like a paper snowflake. He makes it work and if you have a slip dress hanging in your closet you might want to consider swapping it out for one of these, or perhaps taking your scissors and trying your own luck at creating something. The looks were inspiring in a kind of DIY way.

Wang hints at his finale with a set of stretch fabric clothes that might be best described as athleisure chic. You’re not going to actually work out in these clothes, but they’re going to show off that well-toned set of muscles you’re sporting—or emphasize just how much more work you have to do. The dresses with their neon piping really stood out on the runway, but it’s probably the biking outfits that will ultimately get more attention.

By the way, color-coordinated lanyards are the big accessory with the sportswear while daywear looks are styled with bags chained to the wrist. Wang also seems to think that shaved mink housecoats are a good idea. Those may not be some of his best moments.

What’s making headlines, of course, is the announcement via finale walk of Wang’s partnership with athletic brand Adidas. Since everything walked down the runway in a tight group, however, all wearing black versions of whatever style they were assigned, it’s rather impossible to say at this point whether Alex has actually done anything impressive with/for the brand. We know that he turned the logo upside down, but that’s about it. Everything else just looked like a jumble of black track suits. I’m sure we’ll see more detail once the ad campaign kicks in.

Ultimately, this Alexander Wang collection is designed for people 30 years younger than I am who don’t mind being a bit exhibitionist with their style choices. These looks show off a lot of skin, which is perfectly okay as long as one has the self-confidence to go with it. Making shorts from a button-down shirt is a pretty impressive piece of design work.  Re-imagining slip dresses gives women a chance to re-imagine their closets. There are a lot of fun and attractive looks for summer.

I’m going to start my own line of photo hoodies, though. I have better swimwear pictures. Bring your own button-down shirt to go with it.

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