Designer Alexander Wang returned to the catwalk after a 3-year hiatus. Many were quite stoic and curious as to why Wang would stage a show now, just a year and a half after allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced against him. Alexander Wang declined to be interviewed before the event. Many people were curious to see if the stylist, once a key figure in the field of fashion, could return after the scandal and how he could move his brand forward in a culture that requires more transparency and awareness.
The promotional clip released before the show, an animated clip complete with a fortune cookie, red lanterns, a Chinese gate structure and dragon, was quite appealing. There was a time when Alexander Wang was the king of fashion. His aesthetics exuded a fascination, reflecting the kids in downtown New York who were part of Wang’s home called Wang Gang and included actress Zoe Kravitz, models Hadid, Dree Hemingway and Erin Wasson and stylist Ryan Korban.
Re-imagining designs inspired by street outfits by Wang through a luxurious lens penetrated the fashion field and along the way, he hosted some of the most memorable parties during New York Fashion Week. He hosted debauched events and in 2017 he hosted #WangFest, a reunion of his catwalk show, a music festival and a party in Brooklyn.
But in December 2020, Wang’s career seemed to come to a halt when he was accused of sexual behavior that appeared on social media. British model Owen Mooney claimed on TikTok that he was unknowingly hugged by the stylist at a New York City club in 2017. The TikTok video then went viral and prompted other people to share their stories. At first, the stylist vehemently denied the allegations that first appeared on social media, but in March 2021, after meeting his accusers and their lawyer Lisa Bloom, Wang apologized on his Instagram.
While we disagree on some of the details of these personal interactions, I will give a better example and use my visibility and influence to encourage others to recognize harmful behaviors. Life is about learning and growing and now that I know better, I will do better.
Bloom meanwhile wrote on Twitter that Wang’s pardon was accepted. No comments or other details were provided by either party. Rihanna wore a personalized design by Wang in March during a night out in Santa Monica. But when plans for the Fortune City event were announced late last month, the reaction immediately began to spread on social media.
‘Fashionista’ editor Tyler McCall asked on Twitter if Wang could pull off the charges and if his design aesthetic would fit in with today’s landscape. Those Twitter posts were re-posted on Instagram by unofficial industry watchdog Diet Prada, who then opened a discussion about the allegations, Wang’s election, and whether he even deserved to appear again.
Overall, the event felt subdued compared to its infamous New York darts. Fortune City may have marked Wang’s return to the catwalk and it was a strong collection with many enviable pieces. His front row lacked the usual high-profile squad, but celebrities seemed happy to come out and support him.
And despite the strong reaction against the stylist and the event on social media, there was no protest personally against the show, only eager guests waiting for Wang’s final show.