The Sacred and the Profane

I know there are many in the fashion community who have at times, equated fashion with having a religious experience. So it was really not that surprising that Alexander Wang would take it one step further and show his Fall/Winter 2016 collection at St. Bartholomew’s Church, a beautiful, historic, Episcopal parish landmark located on Park Avenue between 50th and 51st streets.

Giovanna Battaglia & Linda Fargo

In attendance were such as Taraji P. Henson, Solange Knowles, Zoe Kravitz, Kylie Jenner, and of course, every major fashion editor, including Anna Wintour (the “High Priestess of Fashion” herself). In my opinion, W’s Giovanna Battaglia stole the show in her grounded black leather over the knee boots and jazzy red and black fur and leather parka. Unlike others who seem dressed for summer; bare legs, sandals and all (what is THAT about?), or who just looked warm (and un chic), she managed to look warm, comfortable, and fierce which is not an easy feat! (Meanwhile, the only collection thus far, which has seemingly been geared for the current record breaking frigid temperatures, is Moncler Grenoble, with their fantastic apres ski wear for men and women, which was shown outside at Lincoln Center last evening).

But anyone who even remotely conjectured that AW’s choice of venue (known for its Byzantine Revival architecture and pipe organ), was any indication that his collection for men and women would be strict, proper, nun like, sacrosanct, monastical, or clerical, would have been jolted back to reality as soon as the show began. The music abruptly turned from solemn to loud and jarring and when the first models came out they were wearing thigh high skirt suits and slip dresses in black and white checks, tweeds, and stripes; hot pants made of black leather and tattered denim; ripped jeans; fur collared and fur lined mini coats and oversized bombers; sheer black stockings printed with the word “Girls” on top; fuzzy knitwear emblazoned with the words “Strict” and “Tender”; black leather and lace minis; booties and bags embellished with silver grommets, studs, spikes; metal chain necklaces; and dog collar chokers (none of which are exactly new for this designer).

It was streetwise, hard edged, and far removed from his all ivory, poetic, delicate swan song for Balenciaga, Spring 2016 which was shown in Paris last October. Alexander seems to have taken over the mantle from Saint Laurent’s Hedi Slimane who has moved on from punk and grunge to grown up and glamourous with his recent Fall/Winter 2016 Collection. I could easily imagine the original ‘bad girls’ Miley Cyrus, or Rihanna, wearing the collection (when she’s not clad in pieces from her new Puma collaboration). The designer took his bow in signature, head-to-toe black. His sweatshirt said it all: “Holy Smoke”. Actually, it did look cute, hip and young “God help us”.

– Marilyn Kirschner

Marilyn Kirschner

I am a long time fashion editor with 40+ years of experience. As senior market of Harper's Bazaar for 21 years I met and worked with every major fashion designer in the world and covered all of the collections in Paris, London, Milan and New York. I was responsible for overall content, finding and pulling in the best clothes out there, and for formulating ideas and stories.

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