Saturday Night Live: Alexander Wang, Baja East and Altuzarra
The black marijuana leaves set on white wool mini skirts at Alexander Wang on Saturday night settled it: if it’s been the season of fashion-uptightness, that’s just not going to cut it at Alexander Wang. So for that, the designer, who is now focused absolutely on his own label (he designed his final collection for Balenciaga and showed it last October in Paris) gets a round of snaps. In lieu of streamlined skirts and thick wool trousers, he developed a series of attractive tweed suits, well made for sure, that were clouded by the harsh jewelry, ripped jeans, some tights that read “girls” across their thigh space and t-shirts that read “strict.” There were mohair tank tops and parkas, too, but the most industrious talking point at a Wang show (beyond the distillation of a certain energy the designer has both manufactured and maintained in record time) is almost always the accessories. Last night there were studded boots and lace up combat shoes as well as flatforms that look a little like hush puppies and small bucket bags. An easy sell, no question, but who’s after the lifestyle?
Apparently, they who wear Baja East. The shows were held back to back and from elevated streetwear they traversed to laidback loungewear in under an hour. There’s something about this lifestyle — that is, mind-blowingly expensive knitwear that you think looks cool because of its wearer’s ability to style but is actually the total brainchild of a design duo who is so invested in having fun with clothes, no matter what you think about them, you kind of want to buy in. The jewelry on set displayed marijuana leaves one more time — Rihanna can’t be far — and the extremely cozy knits, some paired with sneakers, others with shearling shower flip flops (futile at worst, hotel room-apropos at best) will make for digestibly wearable garments once pulled apart.
The night ended with Joseph Altuzarra’s math equation, which he gets right over and over again.
Here’s how his collections work: you start with the sportswear — something familiar, but still a little curious. Last night, it was equestrian: high waist pants lined in fringe, multi-microprint tops, fringe dickies and shearling coats. It’s cool and you get it, but you’re not sure how or why. Then the clothes become slightly more corporate. The skirts set in, a couple of unconventional dresses, like those of last night’s scarf dresses. You wonder why these silhouettes, sometimes similar to Jason Wu’s never actually harken back to Jason Wu and you think: I could be this woman. So what if my lifestyle doesn’t match hers? Then she gets cool again (more riding pants, now velvet, vertically striped turtlenecks) and in the middle of it all, you find yourself caught up in her footwear (last night that meant upholstered ankle boots set in white with black micro florals, or those that were thigh-high and exotic skin.)
Finally, there are sparkles. This is often literal, but sometimes, it’s not. The closing looks are breathtaking. Every single time. They’re loud but demure and kind of sneaky. They’re powerful and for as long as I’ve been attending this show, they elicit a very loud clap. Last night it only happened in a set of four: one blouse, one skirt, two dresses, but it was impactful enough to recall the equation and realize its success once more.