The hallmark of a truly great, modern designer is the ability to transpose high-maintenance couture on to the high street. In other words, if he (or she, of course) can make the average Jane and her stubborn spoils of war feel like she’s a part of edgy luxury, especially sans boob tape, spanx or butt lifters, well then he is almost there.
Alexander Wang launched his much-anticipated collection for H&M to the masses today. (Really, The Hague was nothing like the scene in the Oxford Street flagship store where shoppers started queuing the night before and trampled all over each other this morning!) Here, shoppers were excited, but apart from one sharp elbow of an over-zealous, over-tanned she-leopard, I made it to the dressing room with 5 pieces and my dignity intact. The logo-manic AW leggings made famous by Rihanna were nowhere in sight, but no great loss I reckon, for the other pieces in the same fabric were underwhelming.
1) Patterned black jeans (see below) were rather flattering. However, the lack of spandex made it an uncomfortable fit and it’s the sort of jeans that will probably stretch a lot after a couple of wears. But it did look good in the mirror.
2) Mesh and panel short sleeve dress – looked great on the hanger. Didn’t contour as well as I’d hope but it would probably rock on someone else.
3) Boxing shorts – Very very cute. Extremely well fabricated. Best for the slim-hipped.
4) The winner (see below, right) – mesh and see-through panel tunic top. Oh this was just divine. Flattering at any angle, slashes of sexiness weaved into a surprisingly climate-friendly piece. You’ll see tantalizing glimpses of skin underneath, so I’d add a nude or black camisole for more sedate occasions.
I watched other intrepid ladies try on the rest of the pieces in this rock-chick-meets-scuba-aficionado makeshift boutique. I saw a 70 year old murmur appreciatively if uncertainly at her styrofoam-looking hooded cocoon coat. A sports junkie was trying on bra after bra and didn’t seem fazed by the multiple straps and holes. The leather track pants hung forlornly on the racks, probably because people still have to function in this rainy city of cyclists. No point getting your AWs ground up in your bicycle chain.
The ultimate factor in determining whether a designer is a blast or the past, is his ability to make you lust and yearn for the strangest things. Such as the well-vented scuba body-con dress (see above) complete with head-perching ski goggles. We’ll just suck in our bellies for the next five hours.
Judging from the reactions of happy devotees worldwide, Alexander Wang is dynamite.