If you take away only one thing from Alexander Wang’s SS17 New York fashion show, it will be – athleisure is here to stay.
Hot on the heels of sport/fashion collaborations such as Kanye West’s Adidas Yeezy’s and Rihanna’s Fenty line with Puma, Wang’s debut of his Adidas Originals by Alexander Wang line dominated headlines following his show on Saturday, considerably overshadowing his own collection as fashion editors and fans alike salivate over the promise of lower-price merchandise.
Apart from being a very timely (not to mention lucrative) career move, judging by the successes of past fashion collaborations with sports brands, it also somewhat solidifies the credibility of these collections. Given the most recent examples of Rihanna, Beyonce and Kanye’s efforts, the reputation of these lines had been somewhat tarnished by the very obvious celebrity fanfare attached to them.
For the fashion industry, a sports collection created with a high-profile designer such as Alexander Wang may restore some lost faith in athleisure collaborations. Conversely, although unlikely, it could sink his profile to Kanye West depths, with similar cries of easy money and little creativity. Only time will tell on this front.
In all fairness, his main line has always been heavily influenced by sportswear – the man created athleisure. This season takes a departure from the decidedly gothic approach of the previous, ditching the acid wash and heavily kohled eyes for surf-bleached strands and breezy baby blues. Drawing inspiration heavily from water sports, stomach-strap bikinis and what can only be described as dry-weather wetsuit wear felt refreshingly upbeat for the designer.
Never fear, loyal customers – Alexander Wang purists will delight in the latter third of the collection, revolving around the same inky silk slips, jumpsuits and cool-girl tailoring he is so beloved for. It certainly feels more confident than AW16’s thinly veiled Supreme references, and the result is a collection (and a designer) that looks a whole lot fresher for it. Whilst his models stomped moodily down the runway, Wang bounded out at the end with his usual exuberance, but this season, it felt especially well earned.
by Thomas Marrington