After hearing about the makeup look from pro Diane Kendal backstage at the Alexander Wang show yesterday, I was about to tweet: “Someday Alex Wang will put his girls in a strong red lip—but today isn’t the day.” Yep, same old grungy Wang girl. Ho hum. But then a colleague said to me, “Look, Gisele is over there.”
The day quickly went from ho-hum to holy shit. Gisele was walking in the Alexander Wang show! She kept press at arm’s length backstage, telling photogs and reporters (who obviously gathered around her chair like the fawning subjects we all are) that she wasn’t giving any sound bites today. I’m assuming she didn’t want to hear the word “football” at all, after her little outburst from last weekend. Instead we all watched as she flirted with Guido Palau while he did her hair in the usual limp Alex Wang way. After taking about a zillion pictures of her looking perfect without makeup, I wandered over to a different section. There I saw Shalom Harlow (full disclosure: she is my model crush and I may have stared at her a little too long) and Carmen Kass getting their makeup done. Oh, and there was Karolina Kurkova, too. Best. Day. Ever. It’s well known that Wang isn’t afraid to use a 90s reference, and this season it was 90s models.
Karolina, who could not have been friendlier, chatted with me for a few minutes, where I learned that she was making t-shirts that have slogans like “Fashionista” printed on them. She also let slip that Wang had some special supermodel choreography planned for the end of the show. Intriguing. Last week NYMag reported that Wang wasn’t hosting one of his famous after-parties this season, and now I know why: Obviously he used up his entire budget hiring models.
At this point it was five minutes before show time, so I started heading out front to claim my seat. As I was walking out, Anna Wintour walked in, so obviously I turned right back around. She came to plant a kiss on Shalom Harlow and to say whatever it is Anna says to supermodels.
I finally made it to my seat to take in the front-of-house spectacle. Wang loves industrial installations on his runways, and this season it was a series of huge mirrored columns. I watched as Bill Cunningham, endearing in a red v-neck sweater of all things, took pictures of the hipper-than-thou crowd (hi, Peter Brant, Jr!) and all the international Vogue editors.
Right before the lights went down a creepy guy wearing a sailor suit and shorts and a tiny little person wearing a gold puffy jacket quilted with dollar signs, were shuffled into the front row. It turns out it was experimental/hip-hop music group Die Antwoord, who are starring in the Alexander Wang T campaign. Bill Cunningham looked thoroughly confused as he was snapping, and I figured out why when I finally saw pics of Yo-landi Visser:
How did she even see the show with those eyes? Anyway, the show.
A tribal/techno beat played throughout the show, and it was the musical equivalent of the clothes—slick and strong. I’m going on the record here to say this was one of Wang’s best collections in a while. It was outerwear-heavy, and everything was stiff, waxed, and lacquered, which gave an overall armor-like effect. The palette was the usual black and white, with burgundy mixed in. Accessories were stellar, in particular the knee-high boots and huge overnight bags.
The models weaved in and out between the columns, many of them with their faces half-covered in a turtle neck that made them look like they were wearing surgical masks. After a long finale march, there was a slight pause and then the supers came out, all in the same masks. And people cheered, clapped, and hollered, like it was a Heart Truth show rather than Alexander Wang. It was truly heart-warming. After a similar march, the supers stopped in front of the mirrored columns, and pulled down their masks. Fashion show drama at its best.