BlackBook Interview: Alexander Wang on His New Pride Capsule Collection

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Photos Courtesy of Alexander Wang

 

Alexander Wang this week announced the launch of his much buzzed about ‘Protect Your Wang’ capsule collection of t-shirts, hats, socks, bandanas, and branded condoms, as part of his Pride initiative with Trojan. And considering the rather unsettling socio-political zeitgeist – including the Supreme Court recently striking a devastating blow to gay rights and equality – it couldn’t have come fast enough.

We caught up for a chat with the exalted designer about creating the special collab, as well as his decision to remove his label from Fashion Week for the first time this year.

(Shop ‘Protect Your Wang’ here – a portion of proceeds benefit the LGBT Center.)

 

 

How did this collaboration come to be?

It started last year. I had known I wanted to do something for Pride, we’d reached out to Trojan to work on an initiative, and we were able to take a float together during the parade; and we had T-shirts. But last year we weren’t able to produce them for the mass audience that we wanted to. So this year, Trojan was so generous in partnering with us again and helping us create a capsule collection that we can then sell and donate a portion of proceeds to the LGBT Center in New York. We’ll be on the float again this Sunday, the 24th.

Obviously Pride means a lot to you. Can you vocalize what makes it so significant, and why you wanted to do this collection?

Pride has always been very close to me. Having been born in San Francisco, it’s been such a privilege to be a part of that gay community. In New York, it’s such a big celebration as well, and that’s something I wanted to be a part of. Especially with Trojan, which is such an incredible brand with amazing values, coming together during this important time – where it’s not just about celebration, but about how this message of inclusivity and sex positivity in the world right now is really important. Having the platform to share this message is something I’m really grateful for.

You mentioned the world is falling apart – do you have any words of encouragement for queers out there who feel an overwhelming sense of doom?

I think with all the bad, there’s still good, and Pride brings together so many people. To have people being vocal is so important.

Can you speak about choosing to show your latest runway collection outside of traditional Fashion Week this year?

For us, it didn’t make sense to design pieces by season anymore. We wanted to take that all away, and see what happens when you do the show how you want to. It just didn’t make sense for us to be a part of Fashion Week anymore.

 

alexa BlackBook: IKEA Fever

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IKEA has long been a staple for both bargain hunters and streamline-design lovers. Now, fashion kings like Virgil Abloh (just named Louis Vuitton’s new menswear designer) are repurposing the store’s iconic blue-and-yellow logo on inventive streetwear. 
 In honor of the Swedish fever, we asked three creatives for their takes on Ikea’s iconic “Frakta” bag.

 

Brooklyn garden whiz Brook Klausing recycled his “Frakta” bag as a pretty planter.

 

Brook Klausing, a garden designer and owner of Brooklyn’s Brook Landscape, elected to use his “Frakta” bag as a flower planter, putting his own spin on eco-upscaling. “We drew inspiration from fast fashion and fast furniture to create our own version: fast foliage,” he tells Alexa.

 

LA artist Neil Raitt adorned the trusty tote with his own palm print.

 

Los Angeles-based artist Neil Raitt (who points to Bob Ross’ kitschy 1980s TV program “The Joy of Painting” as an inspiration for his repetitive landscapes — on exhibit at LA’s Anat Ebgi gallery and this year’s NYC Armory Show) also took a crack at the big blue bag. He inlaid a palm-tree print, which he originally created in 2016 for an exhibition at Mon Chéri gallery in Brussels, to create a portable piece of art.

“When you look at an Ikea bag, with its blue plastic and yellow lettering, it’s immediately recognizable,” he says. “So, I wanted to bring in something equally accessible, like a palm tree.”

 

Interior designer Ryan Korban stitched a kitschy pillow — complete with Ikea trim.

 

And finally, New York-based interior designer Ryan Korban (who’s created eye-catching spaces for all manner of high-end fashion labels, including Alexander Wang’s NYC flagship and Balenciaga stores across the globe) dreamed up a DIY Ikea throw pillow. It’s the perfect spot to rest your head after putting together all that furniture.

 

Photos by Lizzy Snaps Sullivan; Tamara Beckwith; Courtesy of Neil Raitt and Anat Ebgi.

 

Is it Fall Yet? Our Favorite NYFW Collections We Can’t Wait to Wear

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Alexander Wang F/W ’18

 

Is it just us or is fall fashion just so much better than spring? That was definitely the case at the NYFW FW18 shows the past two weeks. And so while most New Yorkers might be pining for spring sunshine throughout this temperamental (but mostly cold) Northeast winter, we find ourselves counting down the days until September finally returns, and we can look cute again.

From Matrix-inspired office wear at Alexander Wang to ’80s power suits at Marc Jacobs and ’00s-era Paris Hilton puppy vibes at Gauntlett Cheng, we’ve compiled here our favorite Fashion Week moments – plus two honorable mentions because, well, we just couldn’t bear to narrow it down.

 

Alexander Wang

 

 

We’ve loved Alexander Wang since he first debuted his part minimalist, part rock ‘n’ roll It-girl uniforms; but we have to say, the last few seasons have left us with a never-ending #WANGOVER. This season, though, the San Fransisco born designer channeled The Matrix-meets-The Office, delivering a range of post-apocalyptic professional wear that we want every piece of – especially, the fur-lined ’90s CK-inspired undies.

 

Marc Jacobs

 

 

Marc Jacobs is basically the Alexander Wang of the late ’90s. So, needless to say, we’re giant fans. But much like last season’s awful #WANGOVER, Marc has fallen off a bit the last few years. I mean, remember the dreadlocks fiasco? Still, it seams Jacobs got the memo (or finally found it again), and this season felt like a return to form. Part ’80s power suit, part goth noir, the Marc Jacobs FW18 collection felt like Bianca Jagger in her white suit days, if she had Grace Jones’ attitude and Siouxsie’s sense of color. What more could you possibly as for?

 

Eckhaus Latta

 

 

One of fashion’s favorite new brands, Eckhaus Latta has mastered minimalism in its purest form. For their FW18 collection, designers Mike Eckhaus and Zoe Latta built upon the easy going feel of their last few seasons, but experimented more with shape and color than they ever have before. While the knits and sheer dresses fit right into the Eckhaus Latta playbook, bright yellow flowy fabrics were a new look for the brand. Overall, the collection was bold but understated, yet what Eckhaus Latta does best isn’t actually their clothes. Season after season, and despite its growing popularity, the brand remains dedicated to its outsider ethos. And did we mention their casting always rules? This season saw a diverse runway filled with New York City favorites, including model Paloma Elsesser and indie rock royalty Coco Gordon-Moore.

 

Tom Ford

 

 

Nobody does sleek and sexy like Tom Ford. This season, the designer went all in with leopard print, mixing loud colors with the even louder print in all different sizes from head-to-toe. Not only did each look feel totally timeless, you’ve got to give it to someone who can make lime green or bright red leopard print look not only classy, but cool.

 

Chromat

 

 

Another one of the fashion industry’s favorite young designers, Becca McCharen-Tran built Chromat to empower women of all shapes, sizes and colors. While most brands have embraced a long overdue push for diversity on the runway (not looking at you, Stefano Gabbana), Chromat also delivers it IRL. With a focus on emerging technology and body positivity, the label pushes boundaries and challenges the fashion status quo. For her latest collection, McCharen stuck with oranges and neons, accessorizing each look with Flaming Hot Cheeto bags tied to models’ pants and in their hands. Rapper Slay Rizz finished out the show with a killer performance in an orange two-piece by Chromat, and even though we didn’t get any cheese puffs to go, we were sold.

 

Dion Lee

 

 

Since launching his eponymous label in 2009, Australian designer Dion Lee has consistently delivered classic yet forward-thinking clothing, with his FW18 collection serving as further proof of his talent. Outfitting traditional sportswear looks with architectural bra-tops, it seems Lee also watched The Matrix and The Office before designing his collection. But unlike Wang’s, the Dion Lee range felt modern, not futuristic – the Neo influence was subtle. Lee also brought in more feminine elements, juxtaposing the structured suits and tops with flowy skirts.

 

Gypsy Sport

 

 

Ever since winning the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund in 2015, Rio Uribe has been making waves with his brand Gypsy Sport. Inspired by New York City, Uribe turned heads last year when he decided to present his Spring collection in Paris. But for FW18, Uribe returned to the city, thank god. Other than that, though, this was an all new Gypsy Sport. Over the last few years, the brand has become recognizable for their upcycled jerseys and I <3 NY logo tees, with the Gypsy Sport name in place of the heart. This season, Uribe ditched the streetwear element, presenting a romantic collection filled with suits and gothic ruffles, as well as a few sustainable aluminum looks. Of course, the designer stuck to his habit of using friends and members of the LGBTQ community as models, including 10-year-old activist and drag star Desmond is Amazing, who stole the show (and probably all of Fashion Week). Known for his willingness to experiment, it’s hard to tell whether this collection was a one-off, or the evolution of the brand. Either way, it doesn’t really matter, because whatever Gypsy Sport does is really, really good.

 

Adam Selman

 

 

Another CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund alum, Adam Selman won Fashion Week in our book. The FW18 collection was kinky, it was campy, it was part John Waters, part new wave, it was punk as fuck. Featuring a collaboration with artist Cheyco Leidmann, who created the surrealist prints Selman used on dresses and shirts, the range was bold and colorful, mixing prints, patterns and styles in an ode to photographer Ypsitylla Von Nazareth. In addition to the outfits, Selman also debuted his latest collection for sunglasses brand Le Specs. If you haven’t already been spotting his metallic cat-eyes for the last few years, get ready – this season’s heart-adorned versions are about to be everywhere. We want ours now.

 

Vaquera

 

 

Most people had never heard of New York City brand Vaquera before last NYFW, when they debuted a dress made only of blue and gold credit cards. For some reason, the look ended up on every news outlet, even though it was one of the weakest of the show. (We’re not saying we didn’t like it – we did.) What Vaquera does best is their more subtle work. This season, the designers seemed to realize that as well, presenting a range of deconstructed pieces that were delicate and cool. The highlights: an oversized blazer dress, cropped suit and crazy snakeskin skirt that all looked like they were slightly unfinished, but in reality, took forever to make. And isn’t that the best stuff anyway? The kind that costs, like, $10,000, but looks like you got it in the back of Duane Reade.

 

Calvin Klein

 

 

Oh, Raf. There’s literally nothing he could do at this point that would make us angry, because every collection he sends down the runway is as close to perfect as it gets. After presenting a men’s collection for his namesake label earlier in the week that revolved around Christiane F. and Cookie Mueller’s Drugs, Simons presented a classic Calvin Klein collection that took all of his quirky eccentricities and somehow made them look, well, classic as fuck. I mean, who else could send swimming caps and sweatshirt-less hoodies down the runway, without looking like he’s trying to be avant-garde? No one. And that’s part of his charm. Unlike a lot of of designers who, when they take over a storied brand, start to lose their individual voice, Raf’s seems to get only louder with each season, and we can’t wait to see what happens next.

 

Jeremy Scott

 

 

We have to be honest when we say that we love Moschino, but have never really caught the Jeremy Scott bug. That is, until this season, where Scott went full-on Fifth Element, with futuristic space-inspired looks. For those of you that don’t know, Jean Paul Gaultier did the costumes for The Fifth Element, and it’s basically a 2-hour fashion orgasm. So, when Scott sent Gigi Hadid down the runway in a silver overall dress, pink crop-top and matching pink LeeLoo-inspired wig – well, we almost stood up to give him immediate applause. The rest of the collection was equally amazing, with all of it feeling retro-futuristic without trying too hard. The key was nothing felt too much like a costume, just the uniform for a school in 2064.

 

Honorable Mentions

Telfar

 

 

This was Telfar Clemons’ second collection since winning the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, and though it was impeccable, it was the presentation that really kicked ass. Following the runway show that saw Clemons’ solidify his gender neutral ’70s aesthetic, singer/performer Dev Hynes, rapper Ian Isiah, Kelela, Oyinda, 070 Shake and Kelsey Lu took the stage for an intimate performance. The result was emotional yet understated, just like the collection itself.

 

Gauntlett Cheng

 

 

We’re big fans of Esther Gauntlett and Jenny Cheng’s self-aware brand that makes clothes for cool girls all over the world. This season, the duo went Westminster – or maybe Paris Hilton circa 2002. Either way, we were obsessed with the high fashion pieces they presented on models and a group of pups.

 

All photos courtesy of Vogue Runway

Alexander Wang and Trojan Want You to ‘Protect Your Wang’

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“Wrap it before you tap it” is so 2016 because this year, all you need to do “Protect your Wang.” That’s the slogan bringing together designer Alexander Wang and your fav condom brand Trojan for one of the most perfect Pride partnerships we’ve ever seen. When you settle into the crowd at the New York City LGBTQ Pride March on Sunday, Wang and Trojan will be heading down the parade route in a big black tube to remind you that safe sex is the best sex.

In typical Wang fashion, the all-black tube is modelled after one of the designer’s previous party busses and features a DJ booth and stripper poles to make it a ride we won’t forget. The collaboration nearly happened a year ago, but Wang wasn’t able to make it timing-wise before Pride. “This year when it came around I was, like, ‘Oh, I’ve got to get back in touch with them,'” Wang told CR Fashion Book. “We’ve never been able to participate in a big way with the Pride celebration, especially in New York.”

This year, Pride is all about going big or going home—and you can expect a big Wang presence. The float will distribute Trojan condoms and on-brand temporary tattoos, DJ Jesse Marco will spin some bops, and Wang and the marchers will have on “Protect Your Wang” T-shirts you’ll be trying to buy at a thrift store in a month. Wang is also going to be donating his design fee to the LGBTQ Community Center of New York because the only thing better than a nice Wang is a charitable one.

“I felt this partnership with Trojan was a positive way to reinforce the message of inclusion and promote wellness within the LGBTQ community,” he said in a press release. “I feel proud to be able to celebrate our differences and remind everyone to ‘Protect Your Wang.'”

Shop the Hottest Designer Collaborations of All Time

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It seems like when our favorites designers release collaborations, the good stuff is swooped up within hours. Everyone wants a piece, and rightfully so — when else are you gonna get a piece of fashion history for pennies on the usual dollar? For all the shoes and jackets we couldn’t buy then, we’ll forever have reverse buyer’s remorse… which is why we’re on a mission to find it all again now. Lucky you.

 

Alexander Wang x H&M

The Alexander Wang x H&M collaboration was one of the most hyped we’ve seen — and totally worth it. City-ready athletic wear you can and will want to wear out at night? Hell yeah, that scuba dress is perfection! Didn’t we see Rihanna in that sports bra? And come fall, you won’t want to be without that cool parka.

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JW Anderson x TOPSHOP

Designer JW Anderson’s stock has risen since this TOPSHOP collab came out in 2013. Now he’s helming Loewe, too, and the fashion world can’t get enough. That’s why this back-to-school argyle skirt and cool leather boots are must-haves. We’re scooping them up if you don’t.

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+J (Jil Sander x UNIQLO)

+J was perfect while it lasted. (We still mourn the loss.) Jil Sander’s then-ongoing collaboration with UNIQLO was everything we wanted for staples in our closet — especially the jackets.

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Missoni for Target

Legit you can’t tell the difference — might as well be real deal, main line Missoni. And this is the perfect dress for summer.

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Maison Martin Margiela x H&M

For its H&M collab, Margiela pulled out the archives and remade the highlights. These Perspex-heeled boots are quintessentially Margiela. You could wear them forever.

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Adidas x Kanye West

These Yeezy kicks are HOT. They might defy that pennies on the dollar rule, but can you put a price on love?

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Raf Simons x Adidas Stan Smiths

Here we have a classic, slightly retooled by one of the chicest designers in the world.

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Marques’Almeida x H&M

Don’t you love it when the collaboration looks just like the designer stuff? The high rise ripped jeans are a staple from May to September (but you could break the rules and wear ‘em whenever). The fray on the denim jacket makes it Marques’Almeida and unique.

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Isabel Marant x H&M

A critically lauded collection full of must-haves. We’re particularly partial to the wear-anywhere chiffon dress and über-chic tuxedo jacket.

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Marni x H&M

Marni is art-mom-chic in the best possible way, and this patent leather jacket and knit has us feeling creative.

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Shop all of these looks in our curated collection on ebay.

 

Four Types of Jeans You Need for the Perfect Denim Wardrobe

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All photos courtesy of Talley Denim

I like all kinds of fashion — give me embellished dresses, gauze-y skirts, a cool le smoking jacket… Perhaps it’s my inner patriot coming out to pay fashion homage to a very American-feeling staple, but at the end of the day, I’d trade any trend for classic denim, time and time again.

As such, I am constantly curious about what might emerge next, shape, color, or brand wise. So, when we find a new label that combines the resume of a denim expert with the innovation and excitement of a new brand, we want to know everything. Benjamin Talley Smith, a seasoned denim vet, (he worked on Alexander Wang‘s denim launch, Rag & Bone, Evisu, and more) gives us the scoop on his own new line TALLEY, and the pieces required for the ideal denim wardrobe.

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The Boyfriend
Fit might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of this baggy, borrowed-from-the-boys cut, but Talley Smith tells us it matters more than you think.

“In my opinion fit is what separates a great jean from the rest. At TALLEY we spend most of our time perfecting the fit so it hugs your body perfectly–when it comes to the boyfriend style, that means getting the draping right. Of course an amazing wash helps but without the perfect fit it’s just an ill-fitting jean.”

The Skinny
While we’ve had a number of office debates about what will become of our standby stacks of skinny jeans as the style tides turn to more relaxed fits, Talley Smith urges cautious hesitation before donating all of your skinnies.

“A great skinny is a given. And most girls have a mountain of them now.”

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The High-Rise Slim
The high rise slim is kinda like a “mom jean” but…reclaimed, and we’re all about it. Once you embrace the intentional frumpiness of this style, it’s more versatile than you might have thought. Sneakers, flats, heels, boots: all are game. This jean is the new skinny–even if we’re not trashing those just yet either.

“…You want a great vintage wash in an updated fit rather than an ill-fitting vintage jean.”

The 70s Flare
The right wash is just as crucial as finding the right fit, especially if you’re opting for one of these vintage silhouettes. When it comes to this look, we always think of that occasion jean. That sort of glam, professional look that gives a little dressier, tailored vibe and looks great with a statement heel, regardless of your height.

And, if you’re not in the market to restock your wardrobe but want to modernize the denim you’ve got–Talley Smith shares this simple styling trick to keep things casual:

“I personally think the use of running shoes with denim now is interesting. A good Nike with an ankle skinny or even a boyfriend is fun. It makes it less serious.”

Denim dilemma solved. (For a look at how it’s done, check out this story styled by our senior style editor Alyssa Shapiro!)

 

Fashion News You Need To Know Today

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Kendall for Estée Debuted Today

Kendall for Estée is a thing that is happening for real now, and Mama Kris is v proud.

Alex Wang’s Spring Campaign is Inspired by his Natural Habitat

Anna Ewers on a Party Bus

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Gucci’s Got a New Creative Director

Alessandro Michele’s been confirmed

alessandroPhoto courtesy of Gucci

Donatella appoints Anthony Vaccarello Versus Creative Director

“…As soon as I met him I realized immediately he was the one,” Versace said. 

Old(er) is Beautiful, Says Everyone Right Now (#FTW)

Twiggy is L’Oréal Professionnel’s UK Ambassador for 2015

 

 

Fashion News You Need To Know Today

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Cara Delevingne for John Hardy, courtesy of John Hardy

Dreaming of Coach

Believe it or not, there has been more than one occasion on which I’ve wanted to be the 17-year-old actress, and perennially well-dressed Chloe Grace Moretz. When she acted alongside Alec Baldwin in “30 Rock” is one example that comes to mind.

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The new Coach Dreamers campaign features Moretz and Kid Cudi, who the brand describes as “individual, authentic and innately cool.” Shot by Mikael Janssen, the images feature hit-maker Stuart Vevers‘ second collection for Coach, which will be available in February.

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Also, that backpack. Ameeeezing. 

Photos courtesy of Coach 

Cara’s New John Hardy Campaign
Cara’s back in Bali decked out in Hardy jewels.
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Alexander Wang for Your House
In an exclusive with WSJ. MagazineAlexander Wang reveals that he’s designed three pieces of furniture in collaboration with Poltrona Frau, a 101-year-old Italian label. If Wang’s new denim has left you wanting more, add items such as a brass-footed, shearling beanbag chair to your indulgences list come February.

Fendi via iPhone

Well this is dangerous. Come March you can clicky-clicky a Fendi buggy without very much thought at all. You didn’t hear it from us.

Sexier and Sexier: Alexander Wang Just Keeps Going

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Photo: Neil Rasmus/BFAnyc.com

Sex clearly sells, or at least sex causes mass Instagram frenzy. The Internet went nuts over Steven Klein‘s images of model Anna Ewers in some body oil — oh, and kind of wearing a pair of jeans — for the launch of Alexander Wang Denim. Now with the addition of new images and a video, premiering on Style.com, Wang is continuing to feed the frenzy.

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Watch the vid here: