alexander wang fall/winter 16 worshiped at the altar of punk

Mirroring the location of his final Balenciaga show, the designer presented his ripped and studded new collection at a church in New York yesterday.

by Alice Newell-Hanson
16 February 2016, 9:05am

Photography Jason Lloyd-Evans

Last season, months after announcing his imminent departure as the creative director at Balenciaga, Alexander Wang celebrated his own brand's ten year anniversary. He marked the occasion by turning Pier 64 in New York into a Hooters for a night, complete with stripper poles and flying dollar bills. When he presented his final Balenciaga collection in Paris the next month, the contrast couldn't have been more stark. He showed one of his most delicate collections yet, in white satin and silk, in a chapel in Paris, where the audience assembled in the shape of a cross.

Yesterday, for his first collection as a fully independent designer once again, it was the strip club and dollar bill mentality, not that piety, that carried over. Free from the strictures of stewarding a historic Paris fashion house, and comfortable in his own brand's decade-strong legacy, Wang took the time to explore his famous fun side.

But he still chose to do it on holy ground. Models in mohair, metal, and marijuana leaf-shaped lace pounded down the aisle of Saint Bartholomew's church on Park Avenue, to the thumping sounds of "Pilates" by New York-bred rapper Donmonique.

Pastel pink corduroy pants were embroidered with miniature pole dancers, where preppy palm trees or lobsters would usually go. Boxed logos (picture Supreme, or... i-D) bearing the words "Strict" and "Tender" appeared on fluffy beanies, oversized knits, and the thighs of two-tone tights. Black leather army boots came with metal cages over the toe and chunky suede heels were punched with shiny metal studs. As if in a continuation of his spring/summer 16 train of thought, Wang looked at the codes of youth and trappings of cool and remade them in his own uniquely modern New York image.

The overall effect brought to mind teenage trips to Saint Marks Place in lower Manhattan — for which you would layer on all of those signifiers of credibility: dog collars, mini skirts, animal print faux fur, hoodies, and angst.

Alice Glass, walking toward the end of the show, was the icon for this neo-punk spirit. She wore a fuzzy black sweater stitched with the word "tender" over a pair of tights. It was at once irreverent and worshipful of the age-old codes of cool.


Text Alice Newell-Hanson
Photography Jason Lloyd Evans

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