Alexander Wang F/W 2018
It’s not easy being Alexander Wang. From the beginning of his career he was one of the darlings of the fashion press and buyers. Handsome, easy going, soft spoken with an honest streak and talent he won over the industry with his ushering in of the athleisure era in high fashion. Then he got the job at Balenciaga and became a prince. But as it often happens, the pressure and snobbiness of Paris made him turn inward. As a result, Wang became more and more self-indulgent with his New York shows for his brand, culminating in the infamous Wangfest last season where the audience had to wait and wait to see not much in terms of a collection. Last night, Wang redeemed himself with his athletic armor office collection in all black. It hit a nerve.
Wang still has the ability to pull the top fashion crowd and instill some kind of expectation. He can be that good or flop. So the show’s clever office staging and effective lighting plus the beating techno soundtrack left a strong impression identifying Wang as one of the few designers who can do Zeitgeist, youth culture and fashion at the same time. It was a moment.
Wang is one of the few designers one can authoritatively create a new mood. Using an imaginary office space as set brought him to imagine a sexy wardrobe for women who work in an office but who are completely in charge of their own destiny and not in the hands of their male bosses. Very timely and hitting the Zeitgeist. The black leather jackets with multiple zippers and round pockets were strong, the piled on backpacks, slashed zippered coats and short skirts created desire.
Condé Nast has moved to Ground Zero so Wang picked his location slightly tongue in cheek as the premises were Vogue’s old Times Square offices now for rent. After Brooklyn and the Bronx for his two prior shows, it was nice to have Wang back in Manhattan.
Bottega Veneta F/W 2018
Bottega Veneta is now firmly in German hands. Tomas Maier has been at the creative helm for more than a decade turning out collections that whisper luxury. But after explosive growth for many years the brand has somewhat lost a little bit of steam. So it is in the hands of new CEO Claus-Dietrich Lahrs to bring in some new ideas. And it seems to work. Opening the biggest store called maison to date in New York City has led the house to show its new collection in Manhattan at the American Stock Exchange signaling it means business and tremendously helping the fledgling New York fashion week. Bottega Veneta now does co-ed shows and Maier has significantly rejuvenated his game showing colorful and vibrant clothes brimming with New York energy. “I wanted to bring Italy to New York” smiled the designer who lives in Florida after the show, which was held before a giant set of an elegant apartment with Bottega Veneta furniture and tableware plus select Italian design furniture from Gio Ponti and Gianfranco Frattini.
Maier knows how to do elegant clothes but clearly he needed to shave a few years off the target audience. It’s not about a lady or a gentleman anymore but a cool new millennial hipster who likes silk track pants with off set color stripes and shiny column dresses.
Everyone who is anything in fashion turned out for this, all dressed in Bottega Veneta clothes and the crowd was cheerful and in awe of the sophisticated European production.
What we noticed?
Bottega Veneta is all about owning the digital world now so the front row was not only made up of seasoned editor in chiefs but important influencers from all over the world. A big turnaround from the exclusive industry-only runway shows in Milan, now it’s all about being inclusive for the millennial crowd.
The show was opened by Julia Stegner, lately a little bit forgotten but a true German supermodel. And what an opening look. A marigold satin jumpsuit paired with a camel and fawn mohair coat to make a statement.