In January, Alexander Wang announced that he was shifting his New York Fashion Week runway schedule to June and December rather than the traditional September/February model. Instead of showing two main collections and two pre-collections per year, he will go to market just twice annually with strategic product drops throughout the year. The first collection under this cadence came to pass on Sunday at 8 p.m. – an unseasonably cold, rainy and windy evening on the roof of Pier 17.
Wang called the lineup Collection 1, and left a note on each guest’s seat explaining that the show marked “a new beginning, a new identity and a new day for my brand.” In the message, Wang thanked everyone for attending and allowing him to live out his dreams, while serving up a reminder that he has immigrant roots and is still showing in New York. Gracious, topical and a little bit pointed at his fellow American designers who took their shows to Paris.
The timing of Wang’s coed show and the name of the delivery were new indeed, but as far as brand identity went, it wasn’t a rebirth. The models walked to a heavy metal soundtrack wearing bandanas Axl Rose-style with street rock garb culled from the early days of MTV, here revised for today’s new-gen Insta-model set. There were oversized jackets — tailored, destroyed denim and leather ones — plus itty-bitty shorts and leather skirts. Bra tops, corsets and chainmail made it sexy. Jerseys, track pants, tube socks and sneaker boots made it sporty. Bolo ties, belts with Mercedes hood ornaments on them, and decorative black surgical masks made it edgy and ironic.
Clothes-wise, everything felt within the world of Wang. The show’s experimental side was purely a matter of scheduling. Wang staked his claim early on the June/December shift, sparking a lot of talk, but, thus far, little action from other designers willing to take the leap with him. He’s a loner, for now. Fortune favors the bold, but it’s too early to tell how New York Fashion Week June will fare, and Wang along with it.