Whoever said you couldn't wear stripper pole sweaters and pot leaf-clad tights in a church has clearly never met Alexander Wang. As I descended upon St. Bartholomew's church in Midtown Manhattan on the Saturday morning of Valentine's Day weekend, I observed the chaos that unfolded as one of the biggest names in fashion - and one of the biggest rule breakers - prepared for the Fall 2016 Autumn/Winter show. The alien-like models wandered in trying to maintain their "cool downtown girl" vibe all the while trying to resist the array of vegan and raw snacks (Disclosure: they did a better job avoiding them than I did.) Some of fashion's biggest models began to arrive and quickly were dragged in a million varying directions. Seeing the production and energy that was poured into the "effortless cool girl" look of a Wang model was almost a little ridiculous. Bleached eyebrows, and random (quite extreme) haircuts later, and lead artist Diane Kendal still maintained her cool, calm, and collected vibe around bumming cigs and God knows what else. At one point, a co-worker turned to me and exclaimed, "So weird; for her, this is just another day of work. Look how chill she is!"
While most of the Wang girls were nothing short of edgy, professional, and "normal," there were "diva moments" if you will. Let's just say it involved me trying to put a sticker on a $4,000 Saint Laurent jacket and one very angry model. Who knows, maybe if I were a muse to one of the top designers of our generation I'd let it go to my head a little. I hope not. The biggest takeaway from Wang's show was that fashion has so clearly morphed away from designers simply dressing the models and having them walk. Now, there is a much more in-depth relationship between designer and model/muse, which carries over into not just their runway show, but in the case of Wang, his entire #WangSquad culture. Still hoping they're looking for new members.
Perhaps Wang being my favorite show of the season is due to a little "backstage bias" so-to-speak but there were other shows that caught my attention, as well. Ralph Lauren is and will always be one that excites me and it is because despite the amount of time that passes, he is always 100% genuine to the "Ralph look" he created so long ago. It changes, but in more subtle ways than with other design houses. The element of cowboy glamour, American preppy, and Adirondacks-chic is always a staple for Ralph. Favorite looks included a one-shoulder, navy velvet gown complete with a cut-out, floor-sweeping gold silk skirt with a tight black turtleneck, and a camel suede bomber jacket that may be the comfiest thing around. What I appreciate so much about Ralph Lauren is that amongst all the crazy, eclectic, and boundary-destroying collections that designers put out, he always turns out clothing that is flattering and actually wearable. What always strikes me about "Ready to Wear" collections is simply the fact that most women, however fashion-obsessed they are, would not wear so many of the wildly creative pieces that descend upon the runway. However, you must applaud the creative genius alike of both designers like Ralph Lauren and Alexander Wang.
Fashion Week was in fact, a lot of running around. Racing from one show to another to pick up things like the fact chart, stealing models from the hair team when you just knew they were keeping them too long, and even fetching up-and-coming models their food. While it wasn't as glamorous as the whole idea of it has been since I was a little kid, it doesn't make me love it any less. It just makes it more human and real, which in a way, is even better than having it be this shining idea of utter perfection that made the whole industry seem somewhat unattainable. While getting yelled at by a very angry model in a Saint Laurent jacket was not part of the plan for my Valentine's Day weekend, it certainly was an experience I will have in my back pocket, and for that, I am appreciative.
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