Alexander Wang has clambered his way up the fashion industry totem pole in a remarkably short time. He started his eponymous label in 2005 after graduating from the famed Parson’s school for design in New York. His sporty, urban aesthetic quickly caught on with Manhattan’s uber-cool It girls and spread across the world… all the way to France, where in 2012 Wang was named creative director of fashion house Balenciaga, replacing Nicolas Ghesquiere who, over his 15 years at the helm, had made the fashion house the go-to for the uber-cool It girls of Paris.
And Wang is not yet 30 years old.
Although the designer was born and raised on the west coast, his aesthetic undoubtedly has a very east coast vibe … very New York, in other words. His early collections featured a strong knitwear component and even as his brand has grown into a global powerhouse seen in the world’s most luxurious department stores and boutiques, Wang remains a fan of wool, most recently appearing as an ambassador for the Merino Wool. No Finer FeelingTM fibre advocacy campaign and a judge of the US regional final of the International Woolmark Prize.
At New York fashion week, Wang served up his signature urban chic in a typically pared back palette of grey, white and black peppered with soft, pale blues, pinks and yellows.
From the chunky soled, pointy-toed Mary Janes to the crisp minimalism and navel baring cropped tops, it’s apparent that Wang was having his 90s fashion moment.
Fashion’s current decade du jour informed much of the designer’s spring ready-to-wear, in particular his embrace of branding. For the most part, it was a subtler take than the original, logo-emblazoned looks of 20 years earlier, with Wang stitching his name in lace, punching it in leather and obscuring it in houndstooth prints.
Then there were the denim jackets and “Parental Advisory” logo mimicking the warning stickers slapped on CDs - and, really, what could be more nineties than compact discs and denim jackets? Well, apart from maybe culottes: and Wang had those as well.
Knits remain a cornerstone of the designer’s work with super-thin, argyle cardigans and high-waisted shorts featuring in the collection.
As the man himself says, creating fashion is “an emotion, it’s a feeling that first ignites the thought and the process, whether it’s colours or materials or silhouette or whatever it may be.”
It’s a feeling the Wang woman will share come spring 2014.