BROOKLYN — Girls and hipsters have made this New York borough a much buzzed-about corner of the world, but it took America's hottest designer to get the top-of-the-line fashion crowd out to an industrial park located, frankly, in the middle of nowhere on a bitterly cold night.
Alexander Wang, the street-wise designer of hip, urban clothes who has also taken on the design duties at the fabled French fashion house Balenciaga, turned the cavernous warehouse in the Brooklyn Navy Yard into a high-tech palace, with a stark silver set featuring a giant round turntable and models whose heat-sensitive clothes changed colors under flashing strobe lights during the grand finale.
Wang turned the cavernous warehouse into a high-tech palace, with a stark silver set and models whose heat-sensitive clothes changed colors under flashing strobe lights.
But getting there was half the fun.
Since there's no subway close to the unusually named Duggal Greenhouse, Wang provided transportation via a water taxi from a pier near Wall Street on the tip of Manhattan. While the Voguettes and their counterparts all had private drivers to get to the site, a small group of fashion reporters hopped on the floating transport for an unforgettable ride under the Brooklyn Bridge, with the nearly completed Freedom Tower on the site of the former World Trade Centers shining in the background as the boat headed away from Manhattan.
I had goosebumps — and it wasn't from the frigid temperatures.
Once inside the warehouse, handsome waiters handed out stylish black flasks filled with whiskey and pineapple juice. If that wasn't enough to warm up the crowd, they also offered Crown Royal straight up and other premium liquors.
The runway show took off with a shot, too, as models with slick-back short hair who looked like schoolboys walked briskly in Blade Runner style, wearing collarless tunics, woolen jackets with artillery pockets, and loose pullover sweaters in Day-Glo shades with prep school knee shorts, accessorized with black patent knee-high boots — some backless — with white rubber soles.
While most designers concentrate on black for the fall/winter season, this was one of Wang's most colorful collections in years, with neon zip coats with flashes of orange, sleeveless sheaths in zig-zag patterns of bright yellow and blue, and laser-cut jackets in vivid purple. Even in the finale, all-black pieces magically turned into bright shades, thanks to thermal color-changing technology from the heat of overhead warmers.
While many grumbled about the out-of-the-way location and missed dinner reservations (it was an 8:30 p.m.. show on a Saturday), even the notoriously fickle fashion press had to agree it was a special night.