While show notes for Alexander Wang’s Fall/Winter 2016 presentation spun a yarn about a collection that “deliberately opposes standard definitions of beauty and taste”, the presentation itself fell straight into the abyss of standard definitions of taste, as they apply to the sub-cultures celebrated by the neo-rave/health-goth/punk kids of Instagram. What looked to be a punky-fun celebration of femininity, which was denoted by newcomer Katie Moore with freshly shorn-and-dyed locks launching the show in a sloganized look that spelled “Girls”, turned out to be a fashion-backward mirror of the down-market apparel’s sale bins. Wang is a notable designer, whose sporty streetwear has been a major selling point for his eponymous brand for over a decade, but it seems like well-trod fashion tropes got the better of him this time around.
The collection as a whole rested its laurels far too much on millennial-generation styling.
The show began inside the Byzantine theatre of St. Bartholomew’s on Park Avenue. The church still functions as a place of worship, so Wang’s collection, which depicted exotic dancer silhouettes, crop tops, and creepers, came off as somewhere between ironic and sacrilegious. For any 90s brat, the clothes were familiar; mohair sweaters, shredded shorts, denim jackets, and combat boots all nodded to the grunge era. But there was also a hip-hop element at work in the collection, signified by fuzzy ski caps, low-slung loose trousers, hoodies, and over-sized parkas. A paint-splattered maxi, Chanel-esque suiting, and a beautiful ivory angora cardigan saved the presentation from being too predictable, but most of the looks were tough to swallow. The collection, as a whole, rested its laurels far too much on millennial-generation styling, which means the design element was all but tossed out the window. That’s disappointing news for fans of Wang’s inventive street-style sportswear.