Alexander Wang is the designer I chose for my design mentor research, within the international design market. Looking into a variety o Wang’s work, there is evidence of sport inspired silhouettes, trims and cut. Of the four design mentors I am researching, Alexander Wang is one to explore the lease of bodycon designs. My intentions to explore form away from form within my graduate collection has let me to research the designer in order to help inform my own design style expansion.
Begining with Alexander Wang’s most recent collection, Fall 2013 Ready-To-Wear appears to be under the influence of boxing. The dim colour palette and dominant silhouettes makes the collection appear androgynous.
Cosy fabrics are explored, and fabric treatments applied to: knit, leather, wool, sateen suiting and fur (examples below). Some motifs include the use of balaclava-esque hoods (below left), over-sized knit collars and boxed silhouettes. The hoods, displaced zippers and and nonrestrictive garment create a sporty-ness within an otherwise glum collection.
Curious to see how Wang’s aesthetic has changed I looked at the Fall 2008 Read-To-Wear collection which demonstrates how the silhouettes have evolved. The collection bares similarities with the one I discussed above. The colour palette for example remains similar, black, grey and white tones, with a touch of neutrals and denim. The silhouettes, whilst still loose fitted in sections, are much more aware of the figure. This collection combines feminine and masculine exploring androgyny again, but from a much more literal perspective. The cuts within this collection are either body conscious (below right), or loose and compromising (below left). Clear examples of sport inspiration are seen, through the use of mesh, beanies, sportswear fabrics and knee-high socks.
Look 1, Look 14, Look 30 (Marcio Madeira 2008)
The collection which really drew my attention to Alexander Wang is the Spring 2013 Ready-To-Wear collection, which displays clear indication of sports influence and motifs. The palette again is very limited consisting of black, white, hints of silver, grey and beige. The main silhouettes were tube, sheath or trapeze with some exploration of subtle sporty cocoon. It is interesting to observe how Wang has explored loose silhouettes but juxtaposed this with body conscious dissecting lines which manages to accentuates the form. The use of line is heavy, something which is an essential part of my own design style. Lines are used in conjunction with fabrication to dissect the form into various sections, creating a futuristic looking collection. The use of thin lines of transparency between shaped panels allows Wang to segregate the form and give off a floating pattern pieces appearance.
Wang’s sporty influence is evident in: the chosen silhouettes, dissecting bodycon lines, helmet-esque head piece and oversize hoods.
The next collection going back is the Fall 2012 Ready-To-Wear. The colour palette is Wang’s Signature black and white, with wine, indigo, and deep green contrast colours. Silhouettes generally echo the form loosely, there are however indications of some distortion and enlargement of silhouettes. The panel lines within this collection dissect the form and are almost all horizontal or vertical. There are little curves or diagonal panel lines within this collection. Mesh, hoods, gloves and wadding (below) are examples of sport inspired motifs.
The next collections I looked at has much stronger sport influences. The Resort 2012 collection by Alexander Wang is more involved in terms of colour palette. Inclusive of his signature, black, white and greyscales he also explored various midtone primary colours. A range of silhouettes are explored within this collection, from fitted silhouettes (below right) to elongated cocoons (bottom left). This exploration of varied silhouettes is something I wish to explore within my graduate collection which I have not explored in depth previously. Shape used in conjunction with colour contrast is a strong aspect of this collection, which also illuminates the sport influence within the design, which in other Wang collections have been concealed within muted colour palettes. Overall this collection is symmetrical and uses lines to dissect the form and accent the symmetry. The use of cut outs as well as panel shaping create a futuristic mood within this collection, which is something I will be exploring also.
The Spring 2010 Ready-To-Wear collection by Alexander Wang is another one with clear sport influences, however Wang takes a much more playful approach in translation of the inspiration. The experimental colour palette for starters consist of various tones and shades of earthy colours: khaki, beige, grey and orange-brown, teamed with some mid-tone red and pastel blue. Of course the last few look drew back to Wang’s signature black and white. Clear football influences are illuminated through raglan paneling (below second) and use of shoulder padding (below right). Silhouettes range from fitted and wedge to cocoon and A-lines. The use of various diagonal panels around the shoulders, curved bodycon lines (below, third) and contrast panels, work together in this collection to create an exaggerated feminine yet casual look. This collection explores use of padding and shaping to distort silhouette, cuts and form dissection through exploration of femininity within a traditionally masculine football theme.
Examining the correlations in Wang’s work, I looked at a few reoccurring aspects of his design aesthetic. The colour palette of mostly black, white and grey has been evident in most of Wang’s work, and appears to have strengthened over time despite exploration of some colour in his earlier work. Wang’s work often explores loose silhouettes with a ‘combination and contrast’ of ‘masculinity’ and ‘femininity’ in his inspiration, design and styling. There is evidence of strong sports influences, especially in Wang’s earlier work.