NEW YORK, United States — The invitation looked like an eviction notice. “The seriousness of the actions suggested in this notice warrants your immediate attention.” It also promised (threatened?) “standing room only,” and “no after-party.”
The severity of tone carried over into the collection Wang showed: dominatrix black on black on black served up to pounding techno. Massive topcoats and jackets over leggings, second-skin jumpsuits and body stockings paired with spike-heeled, stud-trimmed booties and heavy chained bags showed a Wang woman hard as nails. Even when she turned femme, the flounce on her skirt was trimmed in studs. Fish-net and chain mail polished off the dressier looks. They looked like Weimar cabaret girls.
Wang has always drawn energy from the women in his world, celebrating their energy, their edge as much in his notorious after-parties as on his runways. But he was clearly not in a party mood this season. Grim and dystopian, more likely. His choice of venue — a once-magnificent Harlem theatre now crumbling and under threat of demolition — was a reminder of long-gone good times.
But perhaps in its strict, harsh edge, Wang's collection was tapping the spirit of resistance that is brewing across the land. And, in that dark light, its severe limitations and lack of creative spark could be repurposed as a no-nonsense new punk for an uncertain new age.