#NYFW

09.08.13

Alexander Wang's Nineties Moment

The designer's Spring/ Summer 2014 collection, which showed in New York on Saturday, was decidedly fun—and throwback.

By Saturday afternoon of New York Fashion Week, street-style stars (and real celebrities) swarmed into New York's Pier 94 on the Hudson River, where they were greeted by massive white cages bathed in a neon blue light.

Alexander Wang’s show is always among the most-anticipated—and well-attended—of New York Fashion Week. And Saturday’s spectacle was no exception: Kanye West, who had made an appearance earlier in the day at the show of his pal Louise Goldin, sat next to Terry Richardson—not far from Kerry Washington, Courtney Love, and Orange Is The New Black Star Natasha Lyonne.

Over the past two seasons, “Nineties Revival” has gripped the fashion world: we’ve seen crop tops, back packs, Birkenstocks, stickers, and even platform sneakers invade our closets (and runways) like never before.

And, from the look of Wang’s Spring/ Summer 2014 collection, the 1990s are here to stay. There were short, pleated tennis-inspired skirts with cropped blouses and open trench coats; loose, cropped pants made out of suit material—even sweaters with a vaguely argyle print.

But the real Nineties standouts were the clothes that came embossed with “WANG” over and over in repeating type—a direct throwback to the rise of logo-mania. There were dresses made out strips repeating his last name—and gloves imprinted with “WANG” in large letters down one side.

There were even shirts embossed with a “Parental Advisory Warning” in large type. If that doesn’t remind most of us of middle school, I don’t know what does.

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A Parental Advisory shirt, left, and a croptop at right. (Richard Drew/AP, Michael Dills/Getty)

The designer told Style.com before the show that he was feeling nostalgia for a time when “fashion was really fun, when there was wit and humor, and it wasn’t so serious.”

If “fun” is what he was looking for—then fun he certainly achieved. Since Wang debuted at Balenciaga last season, it was hard not to look at his namesake collection and wonder what had changed since he began the second job in Paris. Would it be as strong as it has always been? Would it reflect a newfound sensibility from his short time at Balenciaga?

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Terry Richardson and Kanye West in the front row. (Craig Barritt/Getty)

If anything, it seemed to be a reaction to the beautiful, but highly serious, collection he put forward at Balenciaga last season. Relative to that collection, this was playful, funny—and, well, definitely fun.

We asked Lyonne (a 1990s star in her own right) whether her character on OITNB would wear Alexander Wang: “I do think she would,” she said, laughing. “I think Nicky has some classier roots than she cares to admit. She portrays herself as more of a tough guy than she actually is. I certainly think she would like some high quality black clothing.”

And judging from Wang’s Spring/ Summer 2014 collection, Nikki would be right at home.