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Welcome back Alexander Wang! Tonight, the designer showed his first runway collection since leaving Balenciaga late last year, at a solemn church in midtown Manhattan, and it was FUN.
It's not like Wang's namesake line was put on hold, but for the past six seasons Wang had been splitting his energy between the two brands. Fall 2016 got Wang's undivided attention for the first time since spring 2013. All that freedom and focus resulted in a collection that — despite it's tough girl attitude — truly joyful.
In lieu of sporty Alexander Wang, the designer offered punked-up versions of all the high school movie tropes: the prep, the stoner, the goth, the club girl. Dog collar chokers, pot leaf prints, mini skirts, and mohair beanies defined the "I dare you to mess with me" look, juxtaposed by the show's venue.
Commentary on femininity seemed evident from the very first look, which had "girls" printed across a fuzzy tank top as well as on tights, the word hugging the front of each thigh. Immediately following was a sheer top with "strict" blocking out the breasts (similar to those parental advisory tops from spring 2014) and "tender" across the tights. "Violator" and "faded" made appearances, too, in outfits that ranged from working girl skirt suits to school girl sweater and pleated skirt ensembles. Half way through the show, the silhouette of a pole dancer appeared on a men's sweater (above, slide 15), echoed later in women's looks (slides 20 and 22).
All of the ideas of what a woman, or a girl, or someone navigating the space between the two (ok, fine, cue Britney: "not a girl, not yet a woman") had feeling of radical reclamation. There was nothing meek about these girls, even if they were outfitted in minidresses or crop tops.
Supporting Wang's vision of a holds-her-own girl was front row was full of them: Taraji P. Henson, Zoe Kravitz, Solange Knowles, and — in spite of everything — the undeniably profitable Kylie Jenner.
See of the looks in the gallery above, with enough bad bitch inspo to carry you through fall 2016.