The rollout of the Alexander Wang x H&M collection has been careful and slow — inscrutable teasers on social media, product placement on Rihanna, a campaign that mixes athletes and models, a beat-heavy promo video — but at a press conference this morning, Wang revealed that it’s been even more controlled than we previously thought. Discussions began about a year and a half ago, and precautions were taken from the get-go. “It was so funny in the beginning, because it was kept very secret and high profile. We had code names for everything. We’d be at this hotel [for a meeting] under a different name, the next day it would be a different hotel, [H&M creative advisor] Margareta [van den Bosch] would leave from the back entrance and I’d leave from the front.”
When the collaboration was announced at Coachella, it was under the guise of two different parties, an Alexander Wang one and an H&M one. “We did them very separately,” the designer recalled. “Everyone got separate invites and a separate address. The venue had two different entrances, one in the front and one in the back.” A running theme, apparently. “Also, our Instagram account was dormant for two to three years, so we launched [on social media] Saturday night at midnight.”
The resulting collection, which you can see here, draws heavily from performance athleticwear. “Everyone I know works out, is active, is running around, and can have a [use] for these pieces,” said Wang. While he personally doesn’t do any sports, “I love the idea of sports at night — that’s the first thing that came to my mind. When you’re going out, you’re going dancing, you sweat as well, and you need to be active.” One T-shirt’s logo only shows up when the wearer’s sweat reacts to it, and the collection includes athletic items like yoga mats, aqua socks, boxing gloves, and swim goggles. “I’ve never done such intense care labels,” the designer said, laughing. “Everything has to perform — it’s not just fashion clothes where it only has to look good. It really has to have functionality.”
Tonight’s party, which he described as “fully interactive, lots of energy,” should hold plenty more surprises, including the unveiling of the campaign video. Party animal Wang urged the audience, “Get lots of rest today, because you’re going to need it tonight.” Not to worry, Alex, we’re already chugging water and stretching in anticipation.