Alexander Wang, the business, has been the center of much industry discussion lately. In October 2017, after a critically-panned September event in which party buses transported models from two secret public shows in Manhattan to the final stop in Bushwick, Wang stepped down as the CEO of his company. He had served only 15 months in the role, and brought in former Goop head Lisa Gersh to take his place. Additionally, he hired Stephanie Horton, previously the chief marketing officer at luxury e-commerce giant Farfetch, as his first-ever chief strategy officer. It was clear that Wang, who founded his eponymous label as a family venture in 2004, was looking to make some game-changing moves within his operation, and that's when he dropped the biggest bomb of all. Last month, he announced that he would abandon the traditional fashion week schedule; instead, he will align with the pre-season calendar, debuting new collections in June and December with more consistent product drops throughout the year.
Wang is not the first designer to back out of New York Fashion Week — and he likely will not be the last — but fans of his epic Wangfest after-parties in September and innovative show formats collectively mourned the loss of another marquee name on the schedule. But before he implements his new strategy, he staged one final show for Fall 2018 on Saturday night, and he did so with impressive force. Set inside 4 Times Square, the former home of Condé Nast — and where Wang spent time interning at Vogue early in his career — the tongue-in-cheek corporate theme proved that he means serious business, but not at the expense of having a little fun.
Editors (including this one) who'd held stints inside these halls reminisced about the good (?) old times as they passed by a reception area underneath an Alexander Wang Group logo and took their seats inside makeshift "cubicles." Elevator music lightly played pre-show instead of the usual bass-heavy hip-hop soundtrack provided by Jesse Marco, Metro Boomin or some other big-name DJ. Fluorescent lights flickered as the models began to walk, and the excitement we've come to know from Wang kicked into high gear. With dark electro and the sound of clacking high heels blaring from the speakers, a futuristic range of tailored suiting, high-tech survival gear and, of course, sexy party dresses introduced us to the Wang woman who's set to take over the board room — if not the entire world. The sharp, slicked-back hair, slim sunglasses in collaboration with Gentle Monster, long leather coats, gloves and multi-strapped bags looked right out of "The Matrix," and a full flight suit, ski caps, a puffer coat and harness-like tops made the models appear more than ready for battle.
Instead of typical office blazers, Wang's versions had zippers in a variety of designs; his iteration of a skirt suit involved a leather mini with a fur jacket. Tweeds came in hot pink, black and white with statement buttons or zippers, and button-down blouses were worn oversized and accented with branded screen printing. His sporty side came through in a series of sweatsuits that read "A. Wang Platinum" (as in a credit card) and long underwear with the company logo prominently featured on the waistbands. Many other old-fashioned classics were given a twist as well: there were cozy, cable knit sweatpants, a velvet blazer transformed into a mini-dress, a fur coat worn over sweats and pantyhose bedazzled with "CEO" in Swarovski crystals. Many of these silhouettes have been incorporated into Wang's collections before, but if he aims to help his customer build a wardrobe of pieces that she can keep evolving and expanding upon, there's no harm in updating his classics for customers new and old.
When Alexander Wang, Inc. launched, the target customer was a downtown party girl — a too-cool, carefree spirit who could roll out of bed, throw a drapey T-shirt under a leather jacket and be good to go. Over a decade later, this woman has grown up, but just because she has to wake up every day and take care of business, that doesn't mean she still doesn't want to dress like a badass. Luckily, Wang is right there with her, and no matter what newness is on the horizon for his company, he'll surely do all he can to make sure his woman continues to look like a boss. (In fact, he already released a small capsule of CEO sweats, socks and tights, which you can shop right now.)