If Alexander Wang designed hospital gowns, patients might not feel that squeamish about wearing them. And they’d be so much more luxurious.
At his spring fashion show on Saturday at the massive Pier 94, Wang choreographed one of his deconstructivist extravaganzas, with large white cages as far as the eye could see, and models coming…from everywhere, it seemed, walking in a complicated criss-cross pattern that tucked round and back on itself. No collisions, as far as we could see — his shows are, without question, precise.
That hospital gown reference isn’t quite fair — Wang’s spring gear is exponentially more sophisticated and appealing — but when you see a model coming at you in what appears a crisp smock top, only to pass by revealing an open back, as if the back of the shirt was slashed in two, well, “hospital gown” is the first image that came to mind.
The open back on his top, however, was sort of like a halter, with an unexpected ruffly bra-strap in back. There were other spine-showers, including apron-front leather dresses with wide, laser-cut pleats. In some cases, the glimpse of skin was in front, like the leather jackets or the trench buttoned at the top but held open at the waist, revealing models’ taut bellies. Picture the way your mother or grandmother buttoned her ‘50s cardigan — but much, MUCH sexier. (Taut bellies, alas, sold separately.)
There’s a playful attitude here, which is very Wang. (He’s one of the few designers who takes his bow after the show by sprinting onto the runway with a broad smile, waving enthusiastically.) The tongue-in-cheek vibe ran throughout. A slim knit sweater came emblazoned with the words “Parental Advisory: explicit content.” For a riff on menswear, Wang dreamed up a glen plaid-like print on a bra top and wide-leg short worn with white opera gloves pulled up to the elbow, “Wang” spelled out in studs. (There were lots more cheeky logos, etched in dresses and coats, to come.) And the shoes, oh, the shoes, which were like exaggerated Barbie pumps. (Remember those, how they popped right on her feet? These came as pumps, Mary Janes and mules — in white, pale blue and pink patent).
Inventive, all of it, but clearly a tough sell — this requires a brave customer. Luckily, Wang has plenty. But even the more timid out there will find it hard to dismiss a beautiful, long, black perforated-leather coat. It revealed a bandeau top (in springy peony) and white pleated mini skirt underneath. You can swap out the bandeau top and mini for a tank and white denim if you like, but his combo is much less revealing than it perhaps sounds. Much less so than, say, the sausage-casing micro minis you see on young women in the Meatpacking District these days.
Wang’s women flash that hint of flesh on their own terms.