Saturday, July 20, 2013

Style Watch: Vogue Voices - Alexander Wang

My theme this month, “Unique is Chic” is inspired by the fact that, in my fashion, fashion is all about understanding what it is that makes us stand out from others, and how we can present that uniqueness to others. Recently, I was able to watch Diana Vreeland’s documentary, “The Eye has to Travel”, and what she emphasized in fashion is how to make an asset of one’s faults. If one has a space in one’s teeth, make it the most beautiful thing about them; If one is tall, become taller by wearing high heeled shoes; If one has a long neck, be proud of it and don’t hunch over; if one has got a long nose, hold it up and make it your trademark. Fashion designers have an amazing ability and talent to create clothes that help us to push our faults in the most glorious ways, because after all, our faults are what make us unique, and why should we be ashamed of what makes us whole. Vogue has a new video series on entitled, “Vogue Voices”, which delves into the minds of some of the biggest designers of the moment and what makes them qualified to run a design house. Couture is all about the unique and one of a kind, and being that this month on #IMGblog is all about “The Secret World of Couture”, I decided to bring the interviews of the couture designers from this series to my Style Watch series. In W Magazine’s May 2013 feature, “The Man Who Loves Women”, Alber Elbaz, Creative Director of Lanvin, made an interesting assertion he learned from co-founder of the couture house, Yves St. Laurent, Pierre Bergé: “The best business people are the ones who think like artists. And the best artists are the true business people.” Making women beautiful is a difficult business and the designers of couture houses take their business very seriously, and are very wise about life and how to create products that work for women’s lives. This month I wanted to see what specifically we could learn about fashion from these designers for I always find it interesting how much wisdom can be gained from the eccentric minds of fashion designers.

Alexander Wang believes that fashion is a melting pot, and that it is changing all the time. To him, the people in fashion are just crazy enough to go along with the ride because they love it so much. In my fashion, I agree because the one commonality that I feel between anyone who is interested in fashion, is that we are all fascinated with elevating the everyday. What I enjoy most about Wang’s designs is that we see this elevation of the everyday so clearly, yet the basic premise and purpose for the piece is not lost behind the design. The fact that Wang bases his pieces on the basic concept of sports ware and creating pieces that a have a sense of ease that people can relate to in their busy lives, is what is so appealing about his self titled brand. With his wearable, abstract, and highly modern pieces, the exhilarating growth that his brand has made since 2005 is why he was approached by Balenciaga three months ago to become the house’s new Creative Director after, Nicolas Ghesquière

Fox jacket, silk velvet pants, and calfshin
sandals from Wang's 1st collection for
Balenciaga. (Photos: Vogue)
In Wang’s debut collection for the house, it is said in the June 2013 issue of Vogue, that “it was an impressive and focused beginning,--an elegant, respectful homage to the house’s legendary founder. There were jackets and coats cut with curving, air-injected shoulder lines and fastened with gleaming silver claps; narrow trousers or long, lean skirts, all in deep forest green or black; and a series of sleeveless hourglass coats and sheath dresses, embroidered to resemble the striations of marble, an effect echoed in the intarsia technique used for sheared-mink jackets atop silk-velvet pants treated to resemble guipure lace.” Wang says, “I felt it was important to go back to the roots of the house to reinforce Cristobal’s codes, but in the context of a modern, functioning wardrobe.”

In my fashion, what we see in Wang’s designs IS that elevation of the everyday, and the innovation he employs in his pieces are so attractive because he is aware of the fact that everyone’s lives are so complex, and the clothes that favor in today's market are clothes that are functional. He is most proud of the fact that there is such a range in the diversity of his customers, because he is most about his brand having a certain sensibility and attitude as opposed to catering to a particular age group and cultural background. The fact that his brand accomplishes this is an aspect that certainly qualifies him for his new position because, in my fashion, that is a principal aspect of couture that distinguishes it from the ready-to-wear. He sees that now a days it is good to see that brands are now beginning to pair customers with an aesthetic instead of pairing them to a price, which is more a way of keeping people from options, which is not the objective of designers.

The embroidery on sheath dresses was
made to look like marble. 
In my fashion, the one thing I favor most about what we can take away from Alexander Wang is that fashion brands are about telling a story, and building a connection with an audience based off that story. This notion is not true of just fashion brands, but it extends to other industries, and most of all, in society in general. Throughout history clothes have been used to single our success in life, and life is all about attracting other's to one's success to be with the people that want to continue a story of life with you in it. On top of Alexander Wang's genius of how to work fabric in interesting ways, his dedication towards understanding how people can communicate a certain story about oneself through their clothes is what, in my fashion, puts him on a level of couture sensibility. 

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