Alexander Wang staged one his most memorable shows in awhile at the South Street Seaport in New York City on Sunday night.
“Today marks a new beginning, a new identity, and a new day for my brand,” notecards on each seat read. This was Wang’s first show after the designer announced at New York Fashion Week last season that he would be breaking away from the traditional fashion calendar. Instead, he’s started to show his collections during the months of June and December—a move that many designers have decided to follow.
For Wang’s Spring 2019 collection, aptly titled “Collection 1,” the 34-year-old designer was inspired by his roots as a child of Asian American immigrants. At a time when immigration is a divisive subject in the US, “Collection 1” was a personal ode to the melting pot that is America rather than a political statement.
“I was inspired by [my parents] coming here and not speaking English, going to the grocery store and not knowing how to buy food, and all the jobs they had to do to build a better life for me. And taking that story and infusing it with pop culture Americana references that I grew up with,” Wang told Harper’s Bazaar.
“I wanted to find a new way to express inclusivity and create a new narrative of what that might look like.”
The references were many: voluminous 80s-era outerwear a la big-shouldered blazers and leather jackets, Western boleros, Guns N’ Roses-inspired bandanas worn across models foreheads, nods to Chinatown by way of embellished shopping bags, skimpy bra tops, and the brand’s signature mix of athleisure and gritty downtown influences.
The Pier 19 venue was filled with some of Wang’s favorites like A$AP Ferg, Pusha T (the one currently beefing with fellow rapper Drake), and the designer’s father (!)—his first time ever seeing one of his son’s shows in person, according to Vogue’s Nicole Phelps. The finale saw models like Bella Hadid and Kaia Gerber storm the stage to Childish Gambino’s “This is America.”
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