Sunday, August 1, 2010

August Designer Focus: Alexander Wang

A native of San Francisco, Alexander Wang relocated to New York City at the age of 18 to pursue his dream of becoming a fashion designer. Two years later, in his sophomore year of design school, he was already perfecting his relaxed, urban chic aesthetic with his own line of deconstructed knitwear. In 2007, the precocious Parsons graduate unveiled his first full womenswear collection, which soon thereafter was displayed in over 200 stores and had garnered the distinction of the "model off-duty" uniform. Over the course of the last three years, Wang's collection has not only been received with triple-digit waitlists and more editorial space than any other contemporary designer, but has also earned him the prestigious honors of Vogue/CFDA Fashion Fund winner and Swarvoski Award recipient for both Womenswear and Accessories.

In designing his collection, Wang is particularly inspired by how women dress during the "in between, wayward" days of their lives. Describing his design ethos, Wang says "Anyone can get all dressed up and glamorous, but it is how people dress in their off days, that is the most intriguing." For it is during these "off days," Wang believes, that a woman's personal style really emerges.

Today, Wang's collection has expanded far beyond the grunge-inspired looks that led to his being named "the T-shirt master," with his line growing to include sharp, tailored pieces and sleek, discreetly sexy cocktail dresses. Yet even as he explores this uncharted territory, Wang still exhibits his signature flair for the unconventional with deconstructed shapes, lean layers, and unexpected cut-outs.

With his Fall 2010 collection, Wang displays his penchant for juxtaposition, taking the Wall Street businesswoman and the plunderous, freewheeling gypsy as his inspiration. "It's about women who make money and women who steal money," he says. The result is a compelling reworking of traditional suiting elements that is at once more polished and more deviant than his previous efforts. The gypsy element of Wang's inspiration is manifested in the injections of velvet, chenile, and lace that lend a dark Romanticism to the otherwise sharp and modern silhouettes.

This month at McMullen, you'll find an open-backed shirtwaist dress, a chiffon trimmed wool sheath, luxurious asymmetrical sweaters, and sharp suiting that is anything but ordinary.

Fitted dress with intertwined chiffon panel, $650

Merino wool draped back tunic, $370

Come in to McMullen on Piedmont to see the collection and McMullen on Grand to see Wang's line of relaxed knits, T Alexander Wang, and handbags.

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