Celebrity Deathmatch: Performance vs. Clothes at Alexander Wang

The CFDA has done a pretty great job localizing the events of fashion week; almost everything occurs within a ten-block radius spanning east to west and north to south between the Meatpacking District and Washington Street. In February, you almost have an excuse to wear peep-toe sandals in eight inches of snow (though worthy of note is this has been a rare sighting) because you’re never walking that far.

Not the case on Saturday night, though, when Alexander Wang was slated to show. He presented FW ’17 last night at the RKO Hamilton Theater on 146th and Broadway in a standing-room-only setting with very explicit “no after party” signage stamped everywhere — starting with the invitations and ending on the wristbands of show-goers. The ambiance felt akin to a heavy-metal concert at Terminal 5 on the west side, which made seeing some of fashion’s storied editors staking claim by the runway (stage?) all the more compelling.

Kylie Jenner was there. A$AP Rocky was there. Zoë Kravitz and Ansel Elgort came, too. An entire story wrote itself before the show even actually started.

That’s not unusual because there are two kinds of shows on the New York calendar: those of spectacle and those of clothes. The spectacle presents the clothing as an aside — think Tommy Hilfiger in L.A., while the clothes-focused shows force you to forget you’re sitting inside the most boring white box because the pieces look damn good. It is rare that you will find a collection that does both. Chanel is one of the true rarities. Alexander Wang might become another, but I say that haphazardly.

Last night, we got black blazers and catsuits and leggings almost exclusively. In the rare pop of something else, there were similar silhouettes rendered in houndstooth, some of which was adorned by chain fringe. Several of the models wore tights — riffing on Wang’s almost too-obvious theme, “No After Party,” but as Nicole Phelps pointed out for Vogue Runway, these clothes were essentially 40 proofs of party girl. Towards the end is where things got a little more interesting with complicated overlay mini dresses and flute sleeves freckled by studs and rhinestones.

Alexander Wang - Runway - February 2017 - New York Fashion Week

It wasn’t very different from the Alexander Wang we’ve been conditioned to expect, but I don’t know if that’s a problem.

Overall, fashion week in New York is off to a soft start. Fewer shows, fewer comments, fewer fanfare altogether, but there is something rather satisfying about the element of “fuckkit” in the air, both from the designers who are not trying as hard to hit all the notes they believe they must and those who attend their shows — sensible shoes on feet, phones in pocket.

Feature Photo via Getty Images; Runway Photos via Vogue Runway.


Leandra M. Cohen

Leandra M. Cohen is the founder of Man Repeller.

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