Man of the Moment: Alexander Wang

Alexander Wang is set to become one of the hottest designers around. The newly appointed creative director for Balenciaga is seen by many as the king of street style and the buzz surrounding Mr Wang has never been more intense; so here is everything you need to know about Balenciaga’s new man.

Born in California, Alexander Wang’s fashion career started when aged 18 he relocated to New York in order to study at Parson’s School of design. During his time at the college, Wang began to hone the casual aesthetic for which he has since become renowned, and by the time he was in his second year he was designing an inaugural, knitwear based, collection for his label: ALEXANDER WANG. Alongside his design work and studies, he also managed to undertake a series of internships, including a post with Teen Vogue, forming the connections necessary to take his label mainstream. After dropping out of his sophomore year, Alexander Wang launched his full womens-wear collection in 2007, which immediately sold to over 200 stores in the USA and received the ultimate seal of approval with the receipt of the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund prize, which provides $200,000 to encourage development of new design talent. Following the success of his main line which was characterised by a cool, slouchy and androgynous aesthetic, Wang launched his diffusion line: T by Alexander Wang, offering an edgy interpretation of the plain t-shirt and cementing his reputation as an impeccable designer of haute casual attire.

As Alexander Wang’s label grew, the focus shifted from the man himself to his favoured clientèle  the off-duty model. The international collections became a show-ground for his work both on and off the catwalk, as the statuesque models donned Alexander Wang to hurry from show to show, photographed in their spare time, looking enviably elegant and acting as the perfect ambassadors for the label, helping to cultivate Wang’s characteristic style. With inspirations ranging from French glamour to nineties rock grunge, Alexander Wang’s designs have a very distinctive and much admired aesthetic and his collection is now sold by over 30 of the top global fashion houses, ranging from Dover Street Market and Selfridges to Barney’s and Bergdorf Goodman’s. Unusually for a modern designer, Alexander Wang has shied away from dressing celebrities for the red carpet, saying ‘red carpet fashion kills me – it’s so boring, so obvious’. He is none the less a celebrity favourite, with Miranda Kerr, MIA and the Olsen twins frequently wearing his designs.

Wang’s aversion to the red carpet may soon be tested, as on 29th November he was hired by Balenciaga as their new creative director. Looking at Balenciaga’s recent direction, Alexander Wang seems a highly appropriate choice to continue the development of Balenciaga’s cult, cool appeal. Alexander Wang’s talents will be tested immensely in his first job outside of his eponymous label, but for a man christened by many as fashion’s prodigal son, surely it won’t be a challenge at all?

Harriet Brown


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