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Health, Beauty & Fashion

Androgynous look on runway

For decades the poor cousin of Manhattan, Brooklyn cemented its growing status as the hip soul of New York last Saturday by hosting its first couture catwalk show in fashion week.
The Straits Times - February 11, 2014
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Androgynous look on runway Alexander Wang's creations featured angular cuts and blocks of colour (above) as well as outerwear with pockets. -- PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

New York - For decades the poor cousin of Manhattan, Brooklyn cemented its growing status as the hip soul of New York last Saturday by hosting its first couture catwalk show in fashion week.

Alexander Wang, creative director of Balenciaga, unveiled his hotly anticipated collection at the same Brooklyn Naval Yard venue chosen by Lady Gaga for her recent album launch.

Wang turned the Duggal Greenhouse into a futuristic set with metallic pillars and a rotating stage to show off his androgynous collection. Techno music blasted as models showcased his wares.

He said the idea was to combine sartorial elements with the great outdoors and a nod to global warming, making the Duggal Greenhouse the perfect location.

A highlight of his work was the use of heat-activated fabric that changed from black to colour when exposed to warm temperature.

The greenhouse, which he described as an "amazing location", is "really a big part in the whole concept of the heat-sensitive material".

Asked about his choice to decamp to Brooklyn, he said "why not?" and that it had been "really fun". He added: "I don't know if it's a trend. It is something I feel very strongly about and fashion is always moving forward and changing, so why not have the location change?"

The female models, with their hair gelled and combed over to mimic male haircuts, powered down the runway in sharp, tailored coats and suits that had angular lines and blocks of colour. Outfits on display included outerwear covered in pockets, woollens with 3-D applique squares that seemed to mimic dials on a machine, tops with buckles on cuffs, and black and brown leather shirts.

There were also leather boots rising to mid-thigh that were tight around the foot but open in the back.

The tomboy androgynous look was emphasised by models with shaved eyebrows, some of whom carried purses reminiscent of a carpenter's tool belt.

Wang wooed his fashionista crowd across the river with discounted prices on a taxi service and laid on buses and water taxis for guests coming from Manhattan.

Reactions to the show were generally positive. Chris Moore, a photographer for the Financial Times, Britain's Sunday Times and Harper's Bazaar UK, said the show was "fast and furious" with a "very lovely ambience".

Jawria Waupe, a stylish male audience member sporting a turtleneck sweater, said it was one of Wang's best. "This show was one of the most amazing shows he's ever done. I liked it," he said. "I like the boots, more importantly."

Earlier in the day, Felipe Oliveira Baptista, artistic director of Lacoste, spoke about designing the outfits for the French Olympic team at the Sochi Winter Olympics. He said he was "very proud" of the work on the uniforms.

After 40 years with adidas, the French Olympic team switched to Lacoste, which was hired to be the team's official outfitters on a contract that will also cover the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Agence France-Presse

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