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Tuesday, February 17th 2009

notes from ny: alexander wang

The designer, Alexander Wang, at the end of his Fall '09 runway show.

Pairing mentor with, er, mentee, we bring you DVF and Alexander Wang for our second installment of show coverage.

I can’t lie, when I first heard that the CFDA had assigned DVF to mentor Wang, I was a little baffled: Little Mister Edgy with the Reigning Queen of Wrap Dresses? But after seeing the two designers in action it dawned on me: both clearly love and respect women, and both give them clothes to make them feel strong, confident, and sexy. They also seem to share a certain generosity of spirit (complimentary margaritas at the Wang show) and dare I say warmth (I watched DVF kneel down so she could talk to a friend’s child at eye level) in an industry generally not known for these qualities. (To say the least.)

Indeed, Wang’s show at Roseland Ballroom on V-day felt like the ultimate valentine to the modern femme-fatales of the world. (He wants them to stay safe though, so he included a condom along with the candy hearts in his gift bags.) This five-alarm spectacle included a smoke machine and the kind of soundtrack you not only hear but feel in your sternum: old school Beastie Boys to Bombs Over Baghdad.

But enough about the trappings, let’s talk about the clothes, specifically what you’ll be seeing on the site come fall. Fashion Director Kate’s now signature “That’s so shopbop” (Should she trademark that?) was bestowed upon many pieces from the Alexander Wang show, so let’s hear her take.

Two looks from the Alexander Wang runway, including a dress (at right) that's "so shopbop."

Roseland Ballroom didn't feel much different than when I go there for shows: drinks, bumping music, dark as hell! I found myself wishing I had worn more leather.

SEEN: Erin Wasson in a multicolored brown fur coat and Balmain black and white tie-dye bell bottoms, Alexandra Richards looking cute in a black dress and ivory blazer. SJP walking in and sitting next to Anna Wintour: she is mini and beautiful, dressed in head-to-toe black Alexander Wang. (Near as I could tell.)

The show opened with Welcome to the Jungle, a fitting soundtrack to the fierce (sorry but there’s no way to avoid using this word when describing these clothes) ’80s-inflected cutout dresses, jumpsuits, studded-down-the-side pants, and croc-embossed leather blazers (shades of Mugler) that stomped down the runway. (Literally—these girls were on fire.)

Fashion Director Kate notes the sheer trend will carry over from spring, and she predicts the bra-cup look will have a presence in more than one collection this fall.

Predominantly inky black punctuated by moments of white (deconstructed button-downs), tweed, and deep purple, this collection features leather, fur, and more leather. (Wang has said he was inspired in part by “carnivores” and the connection isn’t hard to make.) Lots of cool old-made-new silhouettes here, too—slouchy pants with fitted tops, biker shorts styled with combat boots.

Some major take-away points from the show: the one-shoulder dress is here to stay, mixed-media is clearly an emerging trend (here it manifested in jersey paired with leather), sheer is still big news (but here it’s showing up in unexpected places), and leggings are still going strong (Wang showed tweed, leather, and suede ones).

The silver paillette open-back dress was “so shopbop,” but so was so much of this collection! Practically everything felt like an Editors’ Pick, so expect to see lots of Alexander Wang’s fall line in a few short months.

--Kate, Morgan, Maureen

Stay tuned for DVF show coverage!

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