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Alexander Wang Collection 1 Review-Alexander Wang

Earlier this year Alexander Wang announced that he’d be dropping out of New York Fashion Week, opting to present his collections in June and December instead of during the normal February and September showtimes.

When the invite landed on my desk, a large bumper sticker that looked like a sparkly American flag, I wondered what kind of show we’d be taking in. Americana themed, obviously, but would it be wildly different from anything we’ve seen in the past?

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With this show, Wang joins a group of designers who have left the official New York Fashion Week schedule (Proenza Schouler, Rodarte, Altuzarra, and Rag & Bone), effectively distancing himself from a New York Fashion Week that has become somewhat tired. To answer the question though…no. Wang stayed true to his downtown cool girl roots for Collection 1, though this is indeed a “new beginning, a new identity, and a new day,” for the brand, according to the show notes. And that’s not a bad thing. In fact, it seems as though Wang has a renewed focus thanks to his getting off of the merry-go round that is the deliverables schedule of the fashion industry.

So on to the clothes. “I share with you my pride in being an American with immigrant roots,” Wang wrote in his show notes. This nuanced upbringing manifested itself in the clothing—from the bandanas, the Dickie’s-esque khaki workwear and leather biker gang gear (clearly inspired by Wang’s West Coast upbringing) to the Jordan-esque sneakers, football jerseys, and windbreaker tracksuits that were so popular during the 34-year-old designers formative years.

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Dan Lecca

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Dan Lecca

The beauty look was very Bret Michaels slash Axl Rose. Most models wore wide bandanas in red, white, blue, black, or a mix of the colors over stick straight hair. The few who didn’t rocked to-be-expected model off-duty hair, down and parted in the middle, or braided styles created specifically for them.

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To really drive home his lived experience (#WANGUSA, per Wang’s Instagram), some models had a graphic painted on their faces that resembled the stars and stripes of the American flag, while others wore bedazzled face masks, perhaps a nod to his Taiwanese heritage.

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As the models stormed the runway for their finale walk to Childish Gambino’s “This is America”, it became clear—though it was pretty crystal before—Wang is now designing on his own terms, for a diverse group of men and women who love his collection, and feels no need to apologize for it. The mix of celebrities in attendance—from Pusha T (on hiatus from his beef with Drake?) to Rosie Huntington Whiteley—plus editors, and fans who won show seats through Instagram, are the citizens of Wang’s USA, a hodgepodge worth paying homage to.

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