Alexander Wang’s fall was a big production, a power play on and off the runway. First things first: Before getting to the collection, you had to get there — the Duggal Greenhouse in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The horror. In fact, those able to arrive early found entry a breeze, while many guests arriving from 7 p.m. shows got stuck in irritating entry gridlock, a condition repeated in reverse, only more so, on the way out.
In the lead-up to the show, the conversation had been endless. How are you getting there? Water taxi? Car service? Which bridge? Will any walking be involved? The maps, step-by-step driving directions, VIP parking passes and Uber codes issued by Alexander Wang’s p.r. to soothe the experience also fueled a commotion that kind of competed with the clothes.
Given all of the outerborough hoopla, Wang’s show had to be good; no one would let him forget it if he dragged everyone to Brooklyn for a flop.
He met that challenge with an impressive collection, one technically advanced with a powerful point of view.
“We started with this idea of extreme conditions and started thinking about survival,” said Wang during a preview, mentioning National Geographic, the great outdoors, competitive sports and the urban landscape. This Darwinian mentality translated to sporty silhouettes lavished with detail. Spare, seriously tailored tunics layered with sharp shirts provided a baseline look that Wang built out through the show. He added puffy utility pockets and then moved into a colorful, paisley foulard moment, before escalating the fabric development into very cool knotted leather-and-tulle sweaters and fluorescent jerseys made of woven shoelaces. The leatherwork continued in interesting coats and tunics with raw-cut hems.
Wang takes an almost obsessive approach to infusing his brand with a sense of play. Accessories were designed like thematic toys: utility handbags with detachable compartments molded into shapes for a lighter, an iPhone, a Moleskine notebook and a flask. Two boot styles — one like a shin guard, one over-the-knee — were likened to shields. And the ultimate special effect: the Lazy Susan finale of all-black outfits that turned colors — purple, green and blue — thanks to heat-sensitive fabric.
Net-net, Wang’s survival chic collection was slightly upstaged by showing in Brooklyn, but the move solidified his position on the fashion food chain. On Saturday night, at least, he turned the industry into a bridge-and-tunnel crowd.