Rihanna was in the front row taping her tomato-red platform shoes, her blue Alexander Wang outfit rising so high up her bronzed legs that the hem was not too far from her matching hat.
And the music artist was one of the first to jump up as her favourite designer took his bow.
“It’s all about fetishising sneakers,” said Wang backstage, to explain the kernel of a collection that was focused on sportswear, raised to a high level of elegance and energy – with his signature sneaker patterns and lace-up fastenings on dynamic clothes.
“Sneakers are everyone’s obsession, so I thought, ‘why not do a show based on all the iconic pieces that I grew up with and speak to my generation?’” said the designer, explaining that these elements were worked in an artisanal way.
That meant graceful ankle-length dresses – still in sportswear fabrics – interspersed with the sneaker-inspired pieces.
Last season Wang played fashion games with clothes that changed colour according to body temperature. For summer 2015, he absorbed vivid colour into the collection, including weaves of red, white and blue for a bustier top, or vivid Nike-bright shades used for cute stretch dresses with short skirts.
Significantly, the models’ feet were not in those sneakers that gave a fillip to Chanel haute couture. Instead the shoes were walkable high heels.
Wang’s great strength is the energy that he gets into his collections. It was as though the laced-shoe images might burst open at the midriff, or the twisted shoelace effect on the chest stretch open.
But Wang has learnt a lot about fashion and how to temper the pace of a show since he started nine years ago. A soft, cloud grey was interspersed with the bright and cheery sneaker colours, making the clothes seem like a range suited to many generations.
This collection was important because the designer showed his rapid and dynamic fashion maturity – and also fed into American sportswear, which has suffered recently from a fading image.
It is hard to imagine how Wang can be so productive that he is able to cross continents, from New York to Paris to China. I guess he must just keep running on a pair of magic sneakers.