The Alexander Wang Fall Collection is What Mall Goth Teen Dreams are Made of

Now that Wang's Balenciaga days are behind him, he can fully focus on his beloved bad girls.
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Alyssa Vingan Klein
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Now that Wang's Balenciaga days are behind him, he can fully focus on his beloved bad girls.
Peyton Knight, the ultimate Hot Topic teen, at Alexander Wang. Photo: Imaxtree

Peyton Knight, the ultimate Hot Topic teen, at Alexander Wang. Photo: Imaxtree

Moments after Alexander Wang's fall collection walked the runway on Saturday evening, the designer posted an inspiration photo on Instagram: the storefront of a '90s-era Hot Topic. Even if you weren't the type to shop at the antiestablishment emporium, you're likely familiar with its wares, as well as its clientele — angsty youngsters with a penchant for piercings, Manic Panic hair dye, loud music, smoking weed and pissing off their parents. This season, with his stint at Balenciaga behind him, Wang went full speed ahead with that sort of subversive attitude, and the result, while cliché at times, was a whole lot of fun.

The designer staged the show inside of a church, which should have immediately signaled that something slightly profane was about to go down. Models stomped out with a whole lot of attitude — and some with freshly bleached, dyed or chopped hair — wearing thick leather collars, studded booties and Supreme-like box-logo beanies, tops and tights with words like "tender," "strict," "faded" and "violator" on them. Wang made his fondness for strip clubs known at his 10th anniversary party in September, and a pole dancer motif showed up on sweaters and embroidered onto super-preppy pink corduroy pants. There was a series of street-smart jackets lined with multicolored shearling, but in a nod to his beloved bad girls, they had the word "county" (yes, as in jail) printed across the back.

Perhaps a wink to his days spent in Paris, there were Chanel-inspired tweed skirt suits and dresses, but Wang's versions are short, skintight, lined with leather and "pierced" with metal hoops. But the most prevalent motif was the marijuana leaf, which appeared on handbags, a mohair skirt and coat, and embroidered in lace on silk camisoles and party dresses. Fittingly, the designer's favorite squad of too-cool-for-school models closed the show: Binx Walton, Anna Ewers and Hanne Gaby Odiele. Lexi Boling, perhaps the baddest of the bunch, made an appearance as well.

To take his signature running bow, Wang emerged wearing a jean jacket embroidered with the words "Holy Smoke" — sending the tongue-in-cheek signal that yes, he's back, this just happened and he's playing by his own rules. This collection certainly isn't for everyone, but his young, rebellious customer base will likely go gaga over the pieces and the message they send. Don't forget, this is the man whose $1,000 "Parental Advisory: Explicit Content" sweatshirts flew off shelves. We wouldn't be surprised if the same happens this time around — that is, unless mall brands knock it all off first.