In his fierce “take no prisoners” spring/summer 2014 show, Alexander Wang sent down the runway a united tribe of urban Amazon warrior women. Their brightly colored body-con dresses, second-skin pants and stiletto sandals with high rims framing the soles all born from that most urban item of clothing: the sneaker.
It’s a testament to Wang’s talents that the starting point of his collection was so well woven into the fiber of his designs that their origins only truly crystallized in the mind with the arrival of an undeniable and highly covetable thread-embossed dress (exit 16). Then the plisse tops, the mesh-inserted shirts, perforated mini-skirts and padded, armor-like, fitted dresses with micro-pleated skirts could no longer deny their footwear roots.
How smart of Wang to take the current high-end designer fascination with sneakers and turn that trend on its head. Instead of offering up his own crystal covered or embroidery embellished version of the journeyman shoes, he elevated it onto the body itself, showing how a pair of pristine Stan Smith sneakers could translate into some crisp white “tennis anyone” ensembles, or transfering the ribbing on the heel of a running shoe into a big bar-code belt on a black jacket, and make it look cool.
What also was apparent in this show was how influential Wang’s time at Balenciaga has been on his signature collection. Just his deft use of pleating throughout the lineup -Mariano Fortuny would be proud – proves that this designer is continuously able find the new in the familiar.
He is also playful enough to put a pebble in his sneaker story show. For a collection that got its starting point from the most comfortable footwear ever created, Wang didn’t produce a single pair of them on his catwalk.