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Alexander Wang SS16 Backstage
Left, Angel Rutledge (The Lions), right, Harleth Kuusik (The Society) backstage at Alexander Wang SS16Photography Evan Schreiber

Breaking down Alexander Wang’s spectacular SS16 show

“It’s about being an individual but also about being part of a tribe”: the designer discusses his anniversary collection – here’s five things you need to know about it

After last night’s Alexander Wang ten year anniversary show, Susie Bubble breaks down the extravaganza into a five point guide.


It’s all too easy to read Alexander Wang’s ten year anniversary show as a straightforward retrospective. Wang admitted he looked back, but by doing so also tapped into all the different attitudes of girls (and more recently boys) that have contributed to a thoroughly more nuanced Wang tribe that spans multiple genres. “This season we were thinking to ourselves, ‘What’s innovative? What feels modern?’” said Wang backstage after the anniversary epic. “So this is the rejection of innovative. What is around us feels modern. The everyday and the mundane is what’s most inspiring. We decided to look back. Let’s bring back the girls that have inspired me over the years. There’s no high concept. There’s no singular theme. It’s about being an individual but also about being part of a tribe. Finding peers that understand that loose similarity. I wanted to think about clothes that excited me and let the canvas and the girls bring them to life.”

The canvas was a big one for sure, with a never-ending video screen acting as a backdrop. But you could still pick out the different Wang tropes – from sporty to grungy to sexy – that were then stitched together to create his take on the mundane. Or dare we revive that buzz word of 2014 and call it ‘WangCore’? 


From a short-haired baby faced Wang showing a barebones collection of t-shirts to a longer–haired (but still baby faced) Wang sprinting down his ginormous shows, the video that played out on the 50ft long screen spanning the length of the catwalk recalled the past decade of Wang, year by year. The campaigns, the ambitious set builds, the muses, the raging parties and the chaos behind this behemoth of a brand – it was all there. It gave the impression that Wang made it big right from the start and you wouldn’t be far off the mark. It’s easy to forget that Wang’s “hanging out downtown” aesthetic was groundbreaking at the time, as his clothes rejected polish and plumped for an elusive attitude instead. Its freshness contributed to Wang’s meteoric rise and as the video showed, his is a blueprint that will be hard to emulate.


Alexander Wang shows have never scrimped on scale. We’ve always been plunged into infinitive–feeling darkness, dwarfed by the sculptural sets and deafened by the thumping soundtrack. In our minds, this show might have felt significantly bigger because of Wang’s recent departure from his position at Balenciaga. His attentions and energies can now solely focus on Alexander Wang the brand. And this show screamed “BRAND” as loud as it could, from the lenticular barcode on the show invite to the merch shop operating at the entrance so that late night revellers could buy a tee or two. Wang’s story has centred around commercial success and he’s not afraid to shy away from that. This show felt like a statement of his intentions – he’s scaled some dizzying heights already but can he reach a new zenith? 


How many miles has Wang clocked up over the years sprinting down the entire length of hits twenty or so catwalk shows? The video montage showed many of those runway marathon moments. As one of the few designers that doesn’t meekly poke their head out after a show, it’s always been Wang’s signature to celebrate the conclusion of his shows with an energetic spring in his step, shouting out to his long time supporters. As Wang ran the length of this very long runway, alongside his own logo towering over him, it left you wondering how many more miles is in him yet. 

“There’s no high concept. There’s no singular theme. It’s about being an individual but also about being part of a tribe. I wanted to think about clothes that excited me and let the canvas and the girls bring them to life” – Alexander Wang


As soon as Wang dashed into the darkness, the curtains pulled back to reveal a cavernous strip club complete with contorting bodies grinding their way down poles. Waitresses from Hooters came round handing out chicken wings and burgers. This was dirty food to go with dirty moves. Fake dollar bills printed with Wang’s face on it were spotted in the bathrooms. Ice sculptures shaped like Wang’s logo were dotted around. Drinks named “Wang10sity” and “Wang10derlovin” were served. The line–up was no less ballin’ as Tinashe, Lil Wayne and Ludacris took to the stage to add to the long list of surprise Wang party performances. No doubt, Wang was the last to leave his own party.