The 23-year-old designer taps us into his fashion 101. By Christene Barberich
Few American designers over the past few years have made as sincere an impression on young women as Alexander Wang. The ladies love him. They can't help it. To them, he is more than just a clothing designer--he is a kindred spirit.
When you hang out with Wang's designs, you get the sense they already belong to someone--a street-smart ingénue who's part modernist, part vagabond. "The woman I design for isn't afraid to experiment," Wang says. "If she's a size 4, she'll try out a dress in a size 10, just to play around with proportions."
Perhaps Wang's greatest achievement as a new designer is his grasp of un-prissy elegance. His stuff is fun and flattering, but it still has plenty of substance. "I love to play with contrasts, the idea that something is so bad, it's good!" he says. This balancing act can be traced through all of his pieces, luxe or casual. He cuts a mean dress but manages to give it a sense of humor with an unexpected menswear fabric, an asymmetrical neckline, or switched up proportions.
It makes sense then that Wang's own style exudes a no-nonsense clarity that suggests there may be a lot going on beneath the surface. At 23, he already takes comfort in a trusted uniform, while his home in the East Village serves as a free-flowing expression of his converging aesthetics. His muted gray Cheap Monday jeans seem to share the same "whatever" attitude as the Chanel shoebox propping up his living room window. Mixed together, it's all good.
1. The Alexander Technique.
"My daily uniform consists of all things comfortable to me--simple and urban chic. I love worn-out slouchy T-shirts worn with my favorite over-washed Cheap Monday jeans. After so many washes, they end up fitting like a glove."
2. Kick Start.
"I have a pretty big collection of sneakers. I wear them all the time, every day. I think I like them because they're just not as pretentious as dress shoes, so I wear them with everything. My favorites are the Nike Dunks, low or high-top."
3. The Things We Carry.
"I have this thing about not looking like you're trying too hard, in both my designs and in the way I dress myself. That's why my very plain and functional backpack works for me. The man purse or "murse" is way too over-the-top. But a backpack is much more laidback."
4. Arranged Seating.
"My new leather tufted couch is a big surprise in a more modern space; that idea of juxtapositions again. I needed something in my apartment that roughened things up a bit. It was too clean and pure before. I always have to have that one element that throws everything slightly off."
5. Board with Life.
"I live just a few blocks from Tompkins Square Park. I spend a lot of time there, and love to watch all the skateboarders in the basketball courts. It's more about the whole culture, the boys, their girlfriends. I used the idea of a skater's girlfriend as an inspiration and what she would wear as a sort of muse. This girl who moved across the country and immersed herself in this crazy skate culture. Sort of like me."
The 23-year-old designer taps us into his fashion 101.