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Inside Alexander Wang’s Los Angeles Show

The designer staged a festival in the centre of the city’s Chinatown.
Alexander Wang's first runway show in nearly three years took place in Los Angeles on Tuesday.
Alexander Wang's first runway show in nearly three years took place in Los Angeles on Tuesday. (Lauren Sherman)

LOS ANGELES — On Tuesday at sunset, in the centre of Los Angeles’ Chinatown, designer Alexander Wang opened a one-night-only market for the public, with local eateries including Pearl River Deli and Golden Dragon serving shaved ice and dim sum from custom red stalls decorated with the brand’s logo. The plaza’s stores, including Wishing Glory Shop, welcomed in a trail of guests, pink $5 vouchers in hand. Once admitted, everything was free — except for the commemorative t-shirts and pieces from Wang’s new body wear collection, set to launch later this year.

The proceeds from the sale of those items would benefit “the Los Angeles Chinatown corporation’s maintenance and preservation of the historic Chinatown central plaza,” according to the company’s website. While past WangFests, as they used to be called, were often alcohol-fuelled, there were no plastic cups in sight, other than those filled with boba tea.

Later in the evening, at 9:10 p.m., Wang staged a runway show on a raised platform at the plaza entrance, illuminated in red lights, surrounded by a larger, if contained, crowd. (Late-arriving guests were turned away at the door.)

Model Adriana Lima walking in the Alexander Wang show on April 19, 2022.

There was denim, low-rise leather, trench coats, ruched leggings, torso-baring shirting, plunging-neckline body suits and crotch-high boots, worn by a truly diverse mix of models — Alessandra Ambrosio and a pregnant Adriana Lima among them. It felt like an updated version of the designer’s well-known “off-duty” look, modernised with ruffled trimming and plush fabrics. Celebrities in attendance included “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” stars Lisa Rinna and Erika Jayne, who might be interested in the collection’s sophisticated attitude. The show’s finale featured white t-shirts and underwear from the new leisure line draped and cut into dresses and blouses. At the end of the show, Wang took a bow, but not his signature cartwheel. Confetti was released into the sky.

The party, held smack in between the two Coachella weekends, was Wang’s boldest attempt yet at re-entering the fashion conversation here in the US, where he was publicly accused of sexual assault in late December 2020. While much of the company’s focus has been on China, where both sales and online presence are growing at a steady clip, the brand has also upped its US stockists, remaining a reliable vendor for many multi-brand retailers in the West.

“I appreciate his artwork, his fashion, what he tries to do to bring that energy into the world,” said Astraninne, a 38-year-old artist and designer from Beverly Hills, who attended the show wearing vintage Alexander Wang croc-embossed vest. Regarding the allegations, she said: “Whatever was said or done, I wasn’t there, so I’m not siding with anybody.”

Read more on Alexander Wang’s comeback plan — and the state of his business — here.

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