Alexander Wang and Joseph Altuzarra Wake Us Up to the Fact That Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries
It was at the moment between the end of a fascinating runway show on Saturday night by Alexander Wang (which was heavier on presentation than message) and the beginning of his raucous after-rave where a car was spray-painted and McDonald's and Slurpees were on the menu, that the New York spring collections showed their first signs of life. This is going to be a season of fun, trashy clothes, almost basic and ridiculously easy for fast fashion to knock off, but also relentlessly energetic and hedonistic in an it's-the-end-of-the-world-so-let's-party sort of moment.
It does seem like we're headed in that direction, does it not?
In essence, Wang's show, in which the models' hair and makeup was drawn in a way to make them look worn out and sweaty, as if they had been up all night social media-ing or coming from a SoulCycle marathon or doing something far less wholesome, was his latest reflection on a sampling of elements from popular culture both present (athleisure, bikini tops, elastic waist lingerie skirts, a new collaboration with Adidas Originals that looked to be inspired by the Dauntless faction from Divergent) and past (board shorts, neon lanyards, Madonna in the house).
While the first trends of the season—reworked shirt dressing, pajamas, neon ripped from activewear and swim markets, and body-con knit dresses seen at Wang and elsewhere—are not at all original, they manage to convey some sense of excitement for now. Wang's especially bore his distinctively youthful twist, literally in the Adidas examples that featured an upside-down logo.
Energetic ideas could also be found in Sander Lak's take on neon at his label, Seis Marjan, that featured slip dresses in the full color range of a box of highlights, and the dresses with fold-over details (now "dipped" in lavish embroidery) from the red-hot label Monse by Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia, which have proved so popular since their founding a year ago that we're seeing their sideways striped shirts and twisted shapes landing on other runways this season. Bikini tops worn as daywear are going to be universal for spring, seen at Wang, Altuzarra, and even crushed velvet versions from Victoria Beckham.
Fashion people, at least, can tell them all apart, and will hopefully be able to tell them apart from the versions that are surely headed to a Zara near you this very moment. Walking into Joseph Altuzarra's show on Sunday evening, I ran into Jenna Lyons, president and creative director of J. Crew, who had just finished her presentation of clothes for real people by showing them on real people, which was very smart and unexpected. Also unexpected: She clocked the blue T-shirt I was wearing as one of her own, so there's hope.
Altuzarra's cheery-cherry show, delicious if you like colors and fruit, but not for the minimalist at heart, included a cherry print that was repeated on blouses, dresses, and skirts, and suggested too in red embroidery on gingham. Lemons, watermelons, and strawberries were there too, but it was the cherry motif that struck a historic chord, recalling the humble homemade children's dresses of the 1950s and '60s. Besides being charming, the look offered a welcome note of optimism.