Photos: Katherine Lowe
Alexander Wang is the master showman. His catwalk presentations are held in a warehouse miles from any form of public transportation – all-black town cars are de riguer. Past the mob of street style photographers snapping till their fingers stop working, there are two lines: one for seated guests (VIPS), and one for standing guests (plebes). At the end of each line is a giant black wall, blocking the view to the catwalk. Seated guests stroll by, while everybody else waits. They're left to wait a very long time. One by one, the stars arrive: Anna Wintour, Erin Wasson, Alicia Keys and Kanye West, escorted in quickly, with security at their sides.
The plebes still wait. 30 minutes past the scheduled starting time, when no more VIPs are left to arrive, the floodgates open and the plebes run, jostling among themselves to be the first to arrive at a spot with an unobstructed view of the runway. This plebe notices an empty seat high up on the bleachers and makes a run for it, narrowly avoiding security and clipboard-wielding PR agents, who are, quite correctly, far more concerned with the paparazzi on the catwalk. Kanye West is the big ticket. All eyes in the room are on him.
The lights die and the last remaining paparazzo scurries off the catwalk, taking one final shot in the dark just for kicks. Squares of white light appear on the concrete, disappear, then appear somewhere else. The first girl stalks out. She wears a black leather poncho and stilettos with a leather mud flap. Kid Cudi arrives late, forcing Kanye West to squeeze into his seatmate so he can sit down. More girls appear, in double breasted blazers with puffed out lapels, sparkling lurex leggings with metallic shoes and coats that start in mohair and finish in satin as if the yarn has been spun into weightless gold.
The models are fierce and walk quickly to the pounding beat. They're all famous or soon to be: Lily Donaldson, Karolina Kurkova, Jac Jablonski, Hanne Gaby Odiele and Natasha Poly; alongside Antipodean rising stars Julia Nobis and Emily Baker. Each one works the middle of the room, before doubling around each side and disappearing again.
The finale sees them all walk out once more in perfect unison, then leave. It's over as quickly as it's started. Alexander Wang waits a second until the applause has reached a crescendo then sprints down the centre of the room, twirling wildly as he basks in the adulation. The master showman.
I LIKE YOU!