What is it that made this Alexander Wang collection just so damn good? Was it the creative dedication of taking one idea, the humble sneaker as muse, and exploring all possible roads it led to? Is it simply the fact that Wang is a talented designer, with an innate sense of the here and now and a clear understanding of his customer and her lifestyle or was it all about execution? It is all of the above, of course and one more; Wang has swagger, bravado, attitude – the good kind - and the kid knows how to have fun. This collection was tantalizingly exuberant, surprisingly elegant and yes, so so cool.
After all, let’s be clear here – the rise of the sneaker, trainer and athletic shoe as the object de jour has been well documented on countless street-style pictures and, of course, explored by none others than Raf Simons at Dior and Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel. Mary Katrantzou too played with classic brogues and high-tech trainers in her last Spring/Summer collection. You also have to momentarily wonder if Wang has spent so much time in the Balenciaga archive that echoes of his Parisian predecessor sneaked in to this collection – that high-waisted black satin trouser, for example, the sci-fi elements and robot paneling, the fringing on dresses. But Wang is too clever for that and Ghesquière too influential a designer for anyone to ignore. The truth is, Wang’s latest offering demanded a closer look, a road test or two, and to be taken at face value. Don’t overthink it, if it felt good it was good.
Nike’s neon Flyknits re-imagined as skin-tight, uber-short, scuba-like knitted dresses. Adidas’ Stan Smiths as tennis whites with just a flash of an apple green collar. From perforated bomber jackets, gym tops as gowns with sheer panels, mini skirts so finely pleated Madame Gres would have wept (one of Wang’s references alongside Fortuny and the old smelly gym shoe), and, of course, the shoe – Wang’s woven sneaker/heel hybrid – it was all amazing. However, there was something particularly attractive about the aforementioned black trousers that he showed, teamed with either intricately woven tops or matching bombers or barely-there camis. They were a quiet indication of how far Wang has come. For him, fashion is both a marathon and a sprint.