Sandy Liang Returns to NYFW with a Very New York Collection

Sandy Liang Returns to NYFW with a Very New York Collection

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Sandy Liang Returns to NYFW with a Very New York Collection

V caught up with the designer backstage after her first runway post-COVID

V caught up with the designer backstage after her first runway post-COVID

Text: Alex Blynn

On a bright Sunday morning, at an open-air tiered arena outside the Abrons Arts Center on Grand Street in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, packed rows of fashion devotees sat on concrete steps, awaiting the arrival of Sandy Liang’s SS/22 collection. Known for perfecting the ultimate downtown girl-normcore aesthetic, Liang’s audience mirrored that ethos perfectly: guests wore simple, luxurious day dresses and bright frilly spun-cotton frocks, matched with Doc Martens and well-worn Reeboks. Although the crowd was excited, the energy for the day, it being the last of the official NYFW, was a bit more subdued than run-of-the-mill runways. “The week before a show I wanna die,” Liang jokes with us backstage. “The pressure, the drama, the expense. It’s all too much! I question why I’m doing it at all. But then it all comes together and it’s beautiful. And I wouldn’t do this at any other time. I wanted a Sunday morning chill. Like, this is the end of fashion week, and this is not a fashion week party. Fuck that. Just show up, enjoy, and then be on your way.”

Photo Credit: Dan Lecca

As the music began playing — Liang’s shows are known for great soundtracks, and this season’s was no different, with dreamy tracks from Sophia Copola’s seminal work Marie Antoinette — a hush came over the buzzy crowd, as models with pin-straight hair and smoky eyes ascended the winding walkway. Many classic Liang pieces made appearances, like feminine fleece jackets and school uniform-esque skirts and cardigans, as well as those reminiscent of early-aughts pop culture, like low-rise parachute pants or Avril Lavigne-approved printed silk tank tops. But this season also included more adventurous designs, like a deconstructed, off-white formal gown, or an ankle-length white chemise pinafore with patchwork cotton applique. And just to make sure she is not mistaken for a ladies-who-lunch designer, Liang fitted all of her models with comfy, cool sneakers from Solomon.

Photo Credit: Dan Lecca

“This season I went for very Marie Antoinette, but gorpy!” Liang says. “It's that weird, fantastical girly element, but grounded with a little cropped GAP Kids-style fleece vest, or track pants that I saw in a Britney Spears music video. And then all jumbled together. It's very pop culture, but elevated with dresses that took hours and hours to make.”

Photo Credit: Phoenix Johnson

HauteLeMode blogger Luke Meagher, who sat front row for the show, was pleased to see the return of the NYC-native Liang to NYFW. 

“I think there's a great mixture of very frilly, petite stuff along with classic American sportswear,” he related to V after the show. “Sandy is a very good example of a designer who can mix two very different product categories together in a way that feels genuine, and doesn't feel awkward or messy or ill-fitted, ill done. Her pieces work in a way that's very sweet but still carries on the American sportswear theme. She’s from New York City, and the thing about the New York fashion world is, it’s not even trying to be fucking Paris. Designers here make clothing that is commercial enough and will actually sell, while still maintaining an interesting twang, something to make it special. And that’s what Sandy is a master at.” 

Photo Credit: Phoenix Johnson

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