Last season, Alexander Wang showed his eponymous collection mere weeks before he was due to make his much-buzzed-about Balenciaga debut. The posh collection was somewhat of a departure for him, and many reviewers noticed it was more than liberally sprinkled with Balenciaga references. But Wang’s Spring 2014 collection, which he showed yesterday at his usual venue at Pier 94, was pure Alexander Wang. It was one of the strongest and, indeed, most Alexander Wang-y, collections he’s shown in many seasons.
Wang is obviously not shy about his affection and nostalgia for all things ’90s, and he took that inspiration to new heights for spring. The first look out, a short pleated kilt with a crop top, would not have been out of place on Clueless. After that, the 90′s bombardment didn’t stop: Jumpers, mary janes, slip dresses, tops printed with the “Parental Advisory Explicit Content” logo (which debuted in 1990), Claudia Schiffer hair, Aaliyah soundtrack. Courtney Love was even sitting front row, for heaven’s sake.
In the first third of the show, some of the models were wearing leather gloves with cut-outs spelling, “WANG.” As the show progressed, I slowly realized, “Holy shit, he’s bringing logomania back.” His name appeared repeatedly on laser cut leather tops, on the waistband of dresses, and incorporated into prints. “I grew up in the Nineties when everything was about blatant advertising,” Wang told WWD. “So I said, ‘How do we take that and do it in our way?’” I’m not sure how this is going to play when the looks hit stores (because blatant logos all over everything is still pretty tacky–except for Home Depot), but the logos were incorporated pretty skillfully–I think most show-goers didn’t realize that we were looking at his name repeated hundreds of time in a pattern until a few looks in.
The logos, in addition to being a nod to the commercial ’90s, could also serve to separate Wang and his namesake label from the other house he designs for–a little place called Balenciaga. (This idea came up during an email discussion I had with Leah after the show–she was supposed to go, but got stuck in horrid traffic and since I was lurking around backstage, I got to cover Wang for one more season. #sorrynotsorry.) The set, which was a geometric maze punctuated by tubular sculptures, was reminiscent of his store, further adding to the theory that he’s doing a little branding reinforcement. And to hammer home the message that he’s still Alexander “I Design for Cool Downtown Girls” Wang, model Erin Wasson–his long-time muse and collaborator who styled many of his early shows–closed the show.
But lest you think this was a total throwback collection, it wasn’t necessarily. There were tons of modern elements, and his sexy separates constructed of menswear shirting and plaids were standouts. And let’s not forget about accessories. Yes, there were mary janes, but they weren’t the flat clunky ones of yore. These were elevated on a platform with a sculputural heel and pointier toe, and finished in white and pink patent leather. And one of those large, boxy, baby pink bags is going on my spring wish list for sure. As long as it’s not covered in logos.