A quick scan of the crowd gathered for Alexander Wang’s exclusive H&M debut reveals the fashion set’s new unofficial uniform: sleek black everything and sneakers.
It seems that every editor present ditched her stilettos for October’s multi-part extravaganza — a morning press conference downtown, with an evening fashion show way uptown, followed by an after-hours pop-up shop and concert — which is totally fitting.
Wang has championed effortless, off-duty dressing since launching his label in 2004. For Spring 2015, the designer drew inspiration from “the phenomenon of sneaker culture.” Now his much-hyped H&M collaboration — hitting stores Nov. 6 — takes on active wear.
“A lot of my friends are gym fanatics and go to SoulCycle,” explains Wang about the starting point for his capsule.
The designer, who has a sixth sense for how trendsetters want to dress, stresses that sporty clothes are no longer relegated to the gym.
“There’s a lot of people like me: I’m not an athlete, I don’t work out, but I wear gym clothes almost everyday,” he says while picking at a plate of grapes backstage. Rehearsal for tonight’s runway show got pushed back, and so did any chance to eat.
Further proving his point that fitness inspired fashion is officially a “thing,” Beyonce and TopShop recently partnered to produce an athletic label.
“People have such active lifestyles that they want to be comfortable. They want to be able to move and take the subway and run around,” says the designer.
If there’s anyone who understands our fast-paced lives, full of multitasking and meals on the go, it’s Wang. In addition to designing his eponymous multimillion-dollar brand, the 30-year-old was named creative director of Balenciaga in 2012. And somewhere in the mix he managed to create this collection for the Swedish fast-fashion retailer — which, he stressed during the morning press conference, isn’t a lower-priced version of his hits. These designs are brand new.
“I always try to push forward and discover a new conversation that I haven’t necessarily done before, while staying very true to the approach of ease, the approach of being unpretentious, the approach of being comfortable,” he says.
Sporty clothing fits the requirements. Specifically, says Wang, “the idea of sports at night.” Anyone who’s attended a Wang after-party knows that the designer prefers to burn his calories on the dance floor.
Cutout scuba dresses, tech-inspired leggings and quick-drying crop tops work just as well at the club as they would at, say, Equinox.
“I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel,” says the designer. “I love fashion; it’s fun, and I think it should be celebrated.”
An hour later, acrobats stormed the racetrack runway. They jumped and flipped on trampolines before supermodels such as Joan Smalls, Karlie Kloss and a bevy of shirtless men took the floor.
Confetti came down. The “Wang”-embossed sweatshirt sold out early. And like his epic fashion week after-parties, guests danced the night away to a surprise performance. This time, it was Missy Elliott commanding revelers to “Get Ure Freak On.”
The smart ones raged in sneakers.