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H&M x Alexander Wang
October 21, 2014
On Thursday night, a plethora of H&M and Alexander Wang’s friends and fans waited in anticipation in New York’s Armory show space for his other AW14 collection to hit the athletics track runway. Supplied with stadium-style beer, snacks and foam hands – reimagined by Wang as boxing gloves – it had been a long wait since the collaboration’s surprise announcement at Coachella in spring.
Unlike those who have collaborated with H&M before him – Lagerfeld, Margiela, Marni, Versace, et cetera – relying on an archive’s greatest hits, Wang presented an entirely new sports-inspired collection. His promise of “non-stop, high-octane energy” was fulfilled as the black and grey collection was unveiled. What Wang achieved with his choice of inspiration and originality was being able to bypass the trappings of diminishing the quality of aforementioned archive pieces to meet the H&M pricepoint, and used cutting-edge, high-performance fabrics, which are superior in their field. Accessorised with masks, helmets, balls and belts, Wang stepped his usual utilitarian approach up a notch – and the looks were as powerful as the models that wore them, including Tyson Beckford and Karlie Kloss. A niche look we didn’t know needed to be was filled – gym to bar – and Wang explained that he loves the idea of sportswear at night, saying “when you’re going out, you’re going dancing, you sweat as well, and you need to be active”. Good luck explaining that to the bouncer on Saturday night.
The men’s and women’s logo-heavy pieces (including one which only appears when the wearer sweats) are all ready for action. Sweatshirts, dresses, running tights, shorts, leather joggers, and slides – which have become the norm(core) on the streets on both sides of the pond – are injected with a kind of desirability that realises Wang’s very idea of a uniform that is ready for anything, that you can wear any time. Yoga mats and boxing gloves are there for gym time, while heels and a sweat with cut outs (worn over a white shirt by Eddie Redmayne in thefront row) are ready for playtime. That going out theory was put to the test right after the show, when Missy Elliott asked everyone to report to the dance floor for an unforgettable after-party.
The collection is in stores and online on November 6 – it’s just a shame we can’t be wearing it when we have to race to the rails when the doors open.