Alexander Wang found solace in the familiar for his New York runway return that unofficially kicked off New York Fashion Week. Cupid’s Door, a show that featured Pre-Fall and Fall 2023 womenswear collections and a relaunch of his menswear line, took place around the corner from Alexanderwang’s Chinatown headquarters. The three-for-one outing proves that Wang’s super slick, cool codes with a streetwear soul are alive and well. To further that point, the designer plucked Julia Fox and Sydney Carlson of Wildflower Cases to walk his runway and had VIP guests such as Ming Lee Simmons, Ava Max, Maliibu Miitch, Bloody Osiris, Saint Jhn, Deto Black, Nikita Dragun, Amanda Lepore in attendance to give cred.
This being the month of love and romance, Wang transformed a back-alley exhibition hall off Elizabeth Street in Chinatown into a double-heart-shaped runway thanks to the help of cleverly positioned pink drapes. To add a sultry boudoir touch, a zebra pattern rug covered the floor while synchronized colored lights added drama.
His first lineup focused heavily on outerwear, revisiting the chubby fur coat, which was faux naturally. The coats, worn to show off a bare, toned midriff, looked especially fierce as colorful python and zebra prints appeared as low-slung cropped pants and pencil skirts. The fur also trimmed denim outwear, which, on one long duster, felt clunky.
The designer combined popular tropes of his sporty side—boxers shorts sticking out above waistbands of tailored pants, for example—with tailoring and mixing in an edgy strap-only bra missing the cups. Frilly satin slip dresses flirted with equal parts sass and eroticism. Sheer layered separates played peek-a-boo or bras and panties, oversized suit jackets, vests, and even a men’s striped shirt were dramatized with shimmer. Signature platform mules and smooth silver grommet studded bags added a no-nonsense tough chic touch.
So did the mood of the diverse model lineup. They channeled energy that evoked goth queens Bettie Page and Wong Liu Tsong, better known as Anna May Wong, at least if the latter two were alive today and heading out to the clubs or boardroom in another galaxy.
Judging by the men’s casual-centric lineup, Wang’s women seem to be the boss ladies running the show while the dudes relaxed and cozied up in hoodies, chubby fleece, and python overalls because why not? As chill as they were, hints of daring were expressed in one bare-chested male model whose sweatpants hung so low that one feared one wrong move might reveal all.
For the finale turn, Wang explored both fringe and the heart shape on a women’s evening wear group that proved to be an exciting proposition with awards season in full swing. Bodices and booties were showcased in the double hump and V shape of the romantic symbol formed by layered fringe strips, while others bore extra-long fringe that swept the carpet.
As the men’s segment ended, a red-light display throbbed in the shape of a heart, as if it was frantically beating. Things may have been shaky in the house of Wang recently, but the love letter of a collection the designer showed was not only a Valentine for the press, retailers, and his fans but also an expression of self-love. Wang’s calling and company continue to grow—the brand will soon move to a new headquarters, and a new store just opened in South Coast Plaza—by staying true to his vision.
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