After a brief detour into laser-cut logomania, Alexander Wang has returned to his roots for Pre-Fall, offering a collection that takes cues from menswear to temper his trademark shapelessness with structure.
Everything that first drew us to Wang's designs is present here: the fluidity of his lines, the inviting volume, the touch of whimsy. One look pairs over-the-knee riding boots with a black, mid-length frock set off by tasseled fringe running down the back. Broken down, each piece could integrate easily into most wardrobes. Presented together, though, and the garments create an equestrian look inspired by horse and rider in equal parts. It's a knowing wink from Wang to his audience -- a reminder not to take this too seriously, that it's only fashion.
Wang mentioned decay as a central inspiration for this collection, and the notion shows up throughout in chewed-up, worked-over garments that look as though layers have been peeled away. One outfit pairs a moth-eaten, mandarin-collared button-down with cropped trousers featuring leather knee patches. Another sees Wang layering a crisp, white leather jacket over a rough-cut tunic and full-cut trousers, both crafted from suiting wool. The decayed garments seem to be frayed naturally and haphazardly -- since Wang does precision so well, he might've tried more exact, symmetrical erosion. As exciting as it is to see a strong designer stepping outside of their comfort zone, it's also satisfying when they play to their strengths.
There's clear commercial appeal to this collection, too -- the accessories are classic Wang, and are set to be surefire hot sellers. Bags are rendered in black with fluorescent green, blue, red and yellow accents, which hark back to colorful past collections. The standout is a cylindrical black tote with Wang's trademark studded underside and a neon green pull.
Over a year since taking the reins at Balenciaga, it's clear that Wang is not neglecting his namesake label. This is another strong, confident collection, a return to basics after an exploratory Spring 2014.