We spied Alexander Wang wandering around backstage before his show chatting with family and looking cool as a cucumber. Balenciaga? Yeah, he'll worry about that one in a few weeks. As for his eponymous collection, it certainly didn't seem like he was distracted by his new second job.
In fact, all that hanging around in the Balenciaga archives may have given Wang a taste for luxury: This was by far the poshest collection we've seen from him. Though, make no mistake about it, there was still plenty of Wang's signature New York edge to be had.
From the first row packed with the cool crowd (A$AP Rocky, Zoe Kravitz, Natasha Lyonne, Alison Mosshart, Terry Richardson) to the soundtrack, which featured "Eye of the Tiger" (the theme from Rocky III), it was clear Wang wasn't in Paris just yet. He was, in fact, way down on Wall Street, in the Cunard Building right across from the famous bull figure. (The Westminster Kennel dog show was being held at Wang's usual venue, Pier 94. Why they didn't hook those two events up is beyond me. Anyway.)
The first models, as befits the musical accompaniment, were wearing huge boxing glove-esque fur mittens, some short and some to the elbows. That tough/luxe theme continued for the rest of the show. There was tons of fur--much more than we've ever seen from Wang, as well as fluffy mohair, giving the whole thing a cozier vibe than you usually get from a Wang collection. But the fur was a bit matted and decidedly downtown, adorning boxy coats and jackets, many of which had dropped waists.
I don't know how it's possible to make a collection simultaneously structured and slouchy at the same time, but Wang does it season after season. The oversized outerwear was anchored by trousers that were loose around the hips, recalling Wang's many forays into cool sweat pants. The palette was primarily black and grey, with a few pieces of rust thrown in, which mirrored the models' uniformly ginger ponytails (more on that hair later). A burned out tiger striped leather pattern was my least favorite, but I was surprisingly drawn to the few sparkly tops (I know, right?) that walked at the end of the show.
Last but not least, you can't talk Wang without mentioning the accessories. Wedge heeled shoes were covered with what I can only describe as foot warmers--imagine leg warmers, but from the ankle down. And there was a new bag shape, a really geometric three-compartment handbag that was both ladylike and thoroughly modern. Imagine an inverted acute angle triangle with the tip down, and then sew a structured pouch on each side and that will give you and idea of the shape.
Wang took his signature jubilant jog down the runway, bounding up the stairs onto the elevated platform that was the centerpiece of the venue. An elevated collection? Watch out, Paris.