News & Runway

Alexander Wang S/S 2011

After watching Alexander Wang on the Sundance Channel’s The Day Before, I have a newfound appreciation for what the 26-year-old designer does.

In just a few short years, his shows have become a must-see for all the top editors, buyers, and the downtown girls (think former muse Erin Wasson) who have come to embody his collection.

Even Bill Cunningham was sitting in the front row at the designer’s show.

Wang has worked very hard to get to where he is. As with all young designers, however, Wang has to keep proving himself to the fickle fashion industry to seal his spot as one of the next generation’s A-listers.

The tech savvy and forward-thinking designer (in the documentary, I learned his show last season was the first to be broadcast on a huge screen in Time Square) recently expanded into accessories.

He created countless sought-after booties, and an “it” bag called the Coco Duffle that was worn by everyone from Mary Kate Olsen to Kristin Cavallari.

Wang’s latest bags, structured and tasseled, will no doubt cause a similar frenzy, as will his strappy sandles and lace-up peep-toe booties.

As for the clothing, Wang opted for more white and pastels this season – I wonder if it’s in response to Anna Wintour’s comment, which you’ll see in the The Day Before, about there being a lot of black in his collection last season.  Either way, it was refreshing to see the designer explore some new directions.

There was plenty to love in the lightly slashed, loose-fitting long white dresses (some of which included the transparent paneling that’s shaping up to be a major S/S 2011 trend), as well as in the vests, cropped jackets, pencil skirts, and wide leg pants.  But one has to question just how flattering some of the more avant-garde pieces, like the huge cut-out tops, the baggy knee trousers, and the collage-like dresses, are (Rick Owens gone bad, anyone?).

Similarly, a number of the pastel garments seemed like they wouldn’t have very much hanger or practical appeal. Does anyone really need a pistachio knit with one long sleeve and one half sleeve?

The designer was most successful when he mixed silver metallic, futuristic touches with cream, slouchy, easy-to-wear looks – downtown sportswear chic at its finest.