Text: Brandon Tan
For the second collection since his fashion week schedule departure, Alexander Wang gave us a new perspective on Americana—one free of stars or stripes. Recontextualizing the term “American Hustle,” from David O. Russell’s 2013 blockbuster to his own seasonless runway, Wang served his take on the classic ‘hustler’ persona.
Commencing the night with what was dubbed “Act One” of his Collection 2, the designer hosted a cocktail hour serving spoon-fed caviar and flutes of champagne to a surprisingly punctual fashion crowd in downtown Brooklyn. This move was a peculiar one for the industry deviant, who’s more likely to be offering McDonald’s out of food trucks at his notorious after parties. Little did we realize so early in the evening that he was setting a tone for what was to be shown shortly after.
Wang’s inspiration was made clearer in Act Two. In the basement of the same building, which had just received its guests with a full choir and passed hors d’oeuvres, there flashed red lights and Kanye West’s “Black Skinhead” thundered throughout. Behold, another appearance made by irony, but not its last.
Opening the show were several tweed numbers, a call to French class, quickly off set by flashy notes of American gimmick with logo plate belt buckles and gold Cuban links. Paradox had then become a definitive theme and not just a realized coincidence to Wang’s Collection 2, whose odd pairings made for a well-balanced diet of class and kitsch.
Silhouettes familiar to the American hustler paraded the runway, seeing form as three-piece suits, leopard-print furs and exaggerated collars. Stealing the show, however, was the designer’s translation into evening-wear as the white tee became a stunning gown on the back of Lexi Boling, paired with black velvet opera gloves. The tuxedo jacket also saw form as a skirt and floor-length dress, exemplifying Wang’s penchant for remixed classics. To close, he sent down revealing lace bodysuit numbers styled with draped sweaters, making them oddly conservative for what they were.
If the seasonless version of Alexander Wang’s world means a cocktail hour at the cost of an after party, but no compromise to the major fashions and thought-provoking cultural references he brings forth time and time again, then let it be.