The music pounded through the vast pier building on the Hudson River: smashing through the ear drums, reverberating off hefty machinery, the unstoppable noise mixed with eye-popping images on screen of delivery trucks in action. And that was before the Alexander Wang show had even started. But there was a story behind the tale on screen. In a new collaboration with Adidas that dominated the show and was given prominence in a dramatic revelation as the finale. The clothes will be offered for sale from mobile pop-up stores in trucks circling downtown Manhattan. Another gimmick – albeit a feisty one – to get the digital and physical tills moving.
So much smart marketing — or as front row guest Madonna's black cap read: “WANGFEST”. But what about Alexander Wang's new collection itself?
With rappers, rockers and significant others in sexed-up outfits finally in place, the fashion presentation started with pretty, underwear-inspired outfits. The only real hint of sexism here was an image of a girl in a bikini printed on a male top.
Wang's clothes — minus the aggressive music — were all sweetness and light: a feminine fullness to shorts that might come like French knickers, trimmed with lace; or as a gently ballooning skirt.
To counteract the sugary colours, Wang offered tangy shades like neon green, vivid purple or turquoise. The underwear effects came too in more sophisticated dresses, suspended from bra tops and with ankle-length mesh skirts.
On the Adidas side, there were upside down logos as disruptive versions of the iconic sportswear company's symbols.
Take the show out of its achingly cool rapper context and mute the painfully loud music, and Wang was showing how he is still brimming with fresh ideas. From shoe lace strapping on a bared waist to flat sandals with glittery triple straps at the ankle, the designer has found a cool way to feminise sportswear, bondage straps and all.
With such fashion talent, does Wang need to create shows for fashion pros that are designed as one big party? Yes! Because these shows are no longer aimed at an insider audience. He is just being smart and on-message to create a “happening” that will go viral across the internet.