NEW YORK, United States — Listen to Alexander Wang's shirt. It said "Holy Smoke" when he made his usual pell-mell sprint down the runway at the end of his show. There was more holy smoke on the catwalk in the form of a marijuana leaf motif intarsia-ed into a mohair coat and miniskirt. Backstage, Wang would say little more about his collection than this: "Pop Culture!" Ears frosted by a fierce New York freeze at first heard "Pot Culture!" High fashion indeed. But that actually suited clothes that worked hard at his signature street-y youth-cult-y vibe. "I'm just a mirror," Wang added, inferring that what he's always been best at doing is reflecting what's happening around him (which was also a definition of the word "modern" that he found on Dictionary.com, according to The Daily, the chatty paper of record for New York Fashion Week).
Still, anyone looking for a handy compendium of the here and now in Wang's collection would have been flummoxed. The Wang woman has often embodied an energetically sporty urban ideal, with the designer offering up occasionally sensational hybrids of sport, street and salon that also felt like a natural extension of his own world. You might even say there was something innocent about them. Not much of that was left with these new looks. The Wang woman came across as a rather self-conscious bad girl, with her dog-collar necklace, her chain-link jewellery, her grommeted black leather slip-dress and punky plaids and her pole dancer mohair. Hair and makeup emphasised the hard edge. A hoodie with COUNTY plastered across its back suggested Bad Girl might even have done a little time. And the stoner Charlie Starkweathers sporting the menswear looked like just the sort of Bad Boys she’d do it for.
The fact that Wang paraded his anti-socials through St Bartholomews, a Park Avenue place of worship where services are still held, also seemed contrived. You could almost picture the thought process: we’ve got this sacred spot, what’s going to look really wrong in this environment? Not that there’s ever anything wrong with transgression (especially in church) but this erred on the side of way too obvious. On the other hand, Wang did brand his girls and boys Strict and Tender, which sounded like a relationship in the making, so maybe the collection was his Valentine’s love story, and the best thing he could think to do with that was take it to church.