Christian Siriano and Alexander Wang Make Fashion Statements on Diversity and Power Brokers

It’s great to see designers continue to push a positive message about diversity and powerful women on their runways, even though quite a few major names still don’t get it.

But let’s focus on a couple who do: Christian Siriano is celebrating his 10th year in business on a high that owes a great deal to his outspokenness on the issue and his embrace of larger models, smaller models, older models, models of different races, sexual orientation, and gender identity. Whenever a non-sample-size celebrity feels spurned by Big Fashion, take heart, for Siriano will be there to custom-make a confection that is practically guaranteed to make any woman feel confident on the red carpet. And his personal brand of activism works in large part because he is sincere.

Their show, out in Bushwick on a rainy Saturday, drew a self-selecting audience of editors who like being provoked. The fine designs were conventional, though. Neither a knit dress nor a cool-looking pair of easy jeans with a treatment roughly outlining the hems was likely to cause offense, and the tailored pieces were rather traditional, even cozy looking.

In the after hours, Alexander Wang’s show got off to a strong start. On the 21st floor of what was formerly the Condé Nast building in Times Square, specifically in the old offices of Wired and The New Yorker, he had created a pseudo corporation complete with a cubicle-lined runway. On another floor, the backstage included a space that was once the office of Graydon Carter at Vanity Fair. His desk was still there, according to Wang execs.

Alexander Wang
JP Yim/Getty Images

The first half-dozen looks came storming out, worn by models with slicked back hair and black sunglasses, their black body-con dresses trimmed with sunbursts of zippers. Later pieces were updated with logos that said “CEO” or riffed on Platinum credit cards. This was Wang’s ode to the power suit and women who run the world in miniskirts and sweatpants, although they looked more like corporate raiders from the Matrix version of McKinsey & Co., here to audit your expense reports and assassinate your redundancies. It may not have been an intentional message on the current state of magazines, but the space, oddly vacant, looked like a ghost town, and many of the guests who had previously worked in those very halls looked, as they were heading for the elevators, as if they might have been suffering from PTSD.

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