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Alexander Wang Hits the Reset Button Without Erasing the Past

The designer presented a new take on ideas he has been exploring for a decade.
Alexander Wang Pre-Fall 2016 | Source: Courtesy
By
  • Lauren Sherman

NEW YORK, United States — Time to refocus. Fresh off the designer's 10-year anniversary and free from his former role at Balenciaga, Alexander Wang's Pre-Fall collection was a proposal; a collection of looks which embodied what his brand stands for in terms of both aesthetic and philosophy, said Wang.

Part of that was the way the collection was positioned. “From the beginning, I didn’t want to be defined by price point,” the designer said before a showroom presentation. And it’s true: Wang was one of the first designers sold on the contemporary floor to have a real aesthetic point of view. Because of that, he can sell things with four numbers after the dollar sign as briskly as those with two. Now that the word “contemporary” is out of fashion, with labels consolidating their price points under a single umbrella, Wang is well positioned to ride the omnibrand wave.

But he faces clear challenges. When the codes of your collection rely on elements that have — and will — appear in fashion for eternity, things risk going stale fast. This season, the designer did a more-than-respectable job of reinvigorating the visual tropes that have defined his 'off-duty model' style for the past decade by grommeting a puffy bomber, lengthening a classic black moto and using leopard print on a suddenly chic fanny pack.

If Wang's girl were to ever become a lady, this collection would be her chance. Below-the-knee a-line skirts were bordered with rows of grommets, while a collarless tweed blazer was constructed with a flouncy tweed peplum on the back. Double-slit pencil skirts sat high on waist and jackets were decorated with geometric metal brooches. His sense of play came through on the palm-tree embroidered souvenir jackets and silk blouses, with a nod to the pole dancers that performed at his 10th anniversary party, via motifs on an argyle sweater.

Armed with skills he seems to have picked up from his time in the Balenciaga ateliers, Wang is also working to expand his label’s presence in eveningwear. This season, he presented a deep-v black gown draped with a skinny scarf, as well a high-cross neck style, bordered again with grommets. A pink slip dress, ruched at the neckline, could fall into that category as well, depending on the event. Prices start at about $900, which means he has the opportunity to catch more customers than he ever could have “across the pond.” It was easy to leave Wang’s showroom feeling that he was confident about what’s now, as well as what’s next.

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