Designer Alexander Wang returns to New York Fashion Week for a Fall 2023 collection and includes menswear looks entitled ˝Cupid’s Door˝
This is the first showing in NYC since the SS2020 collection presented back in May 2019. (Post allegations of sexual misconduct but settled and the accusers made a decision of moving forward).
It’s been a minute since Alexander Wang has been on the runway in New York City. In between that May 2019 show and now, Wang faced allegations of sexual misconduct that threw the future of his business into question. He made a public apology and his accusers announced they were “moving forward,” and he put on a show in Los Angeles’s Chinatown in April of 2022, but a New York City comeback has a different level of import.
A promo spot on his Instagram Reels starring Anna Delvey, the socialite fraudster under house arrest in an East Village apartment, seemed to suggest he wasn’t proceeding from a chastened place. Cheeky is more like it. That fits with the collection’s theme. He gave it a name, “Cupid’s Door,” and dressed the location in boudoir-ish style, with dusty pink velvet curtains and a mesmeric zebra-stripe carpet; lighting gels that cast a red glow over the whole place.
The show was divided into three acts. The opening women’s section also featured a lot of denim and faux fur in a variety of textures and silhouettes, some on the formal side for Wang, who’s always been called a downtown designer. Backstage he mentioned Wong Kar Wai films like 2046 and In the Mood for Love, which might have prompted the dressy vibes.
Next came a men’s grouping that was the coolest part of the collection, with casual, athleisure-y items like sweatpants and sweatshirts in soft, high pile fabrics, alongside cropped vests and more animal print pants. Look closely and these pieces were as sparkly as the women’s looks. “I wanted to bring a kind of different sensuality to the masculine items and archetypes, as well,” Wang said.
The ending was a series of silk fringe dresses suspended from heart shapes built on a foundation of sheer net that revealed as much as they concealed. For some reason, they conjured a memory of a long distant show, in the peak Alexander Wang year of 2011, whose hero pieces were made from spliced bias cut silk with fringes that spiraled around the hips and legs. Recapturing that heat won’t be easy, but when he came bounding out from backstage and made his trademark running bow you knew he was going to give it his best shot.
Wang rose to fame in New York 15 years ago on the sexy sellability of what used to be called the model-off-duty look: all slouchy blazers, shredded tanks and tees, and skinny cigarette jeans. He’s no longer the new guy on the block—in fact, he’ll turn 40 later this year—but he still has a handle on what the kids want. Sexy is enjoying a comeback of its own in the wake of the pandemic. Though the spiked platform shoes looked like a relic from another time, the oversized blazers, (Julia Fox’s studded with crystals); lace-edged camisoles; and low-slung python print pants were on the money, he even had boxer briefs peeking over the tops of waistbands.