If any New York designer is setting the agenda in modern fashion it is Alexander Wang, whose latest collection was a surgically re-constructed interpretation of the modern urban uniform that managed to be beautiful and gutsy, bizarre yet plausible - all at the same time.
Sent out on a catwalk in an industrial pier on the Hudson River on Saturday, Sept. 8, this spring 2013 was as hyper rich in novel cutting and seaming as it was restrained in its choice of color. Entirely devoid of prints, the palette was just three colors - black, white and silver - albeit taking in with ecru, cream, onyx and anthracite.
"Exotic and animalistic!" trumpeted Wang in the post-show backstage, after a finale where an octet of blond models all in white stood like chic sentries before a sudden change of lighting rendered all the outfits fluorescent.
Throughout, Wang dissected active sports clothes - T-shirts, board shorts and parkas - giving them a wonderful paneled finish that had cool architectural volume, yet never looked stiff.
"We wanted the garments almost to feel like they were floating on the body, but still holding a very strong volume," Wang told FWD, explaining that he had used fishing lines to hold all the separate pieces together.
The show opened with arty combination of Bermuda shorts topped by tailored tuxedos and mini fracks in leather, all anchored by sexy centurion's boots. It climaxed with a pair of beautiful halter dresses - one in aluminum crocodile, the other in black - with huge front slashes and dissected necklines. Talk about flawlessly cut.
Through the clothes won applause and even cheers when veteran model Liberty Ross appeared in windbreaker and pencil skirt, before rising to a roaring crescendo for the spectroscopic finale.
"We wanted at the end for all the girls to look other worldly. Starting with a uniform and then go futuristic," added the designer, dressed in his own typical uniform of loose black T-shirt and pants.
Wang is not one of those designers who get their inspiration from art movements or foreign travel or research into historical periods. Instead, his ideas emerge from his imagination, and his canny observation of urban lifestyle. There is no more contemporary designer in America today.