“We threw this party together a week ago because we thought New York Fashion Week needed a little spice,” said designer Alexander Wang with a laugh and a hair toss at about 1:15 a.m. on Saturday night.
One week of planning in Wang’s universe gets you the Rainbow Room at Rockefeller Center, decorated to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year. It gets you free cognac and sponsorship from something literally called Cash App. It gets you musical performances by Tommy Genesis, Trina, and City Girls. (Well, City Girl, singular, since one is currently in jail.) And finally, it gets you a room full of models (like Kaia Gerber), celebrities (like Ansel Elgort), and well-dressed revelers who will do anything — even trek to midtown Manhattan in the cold — for a good time during New York Fashion Week.
Wang was right: Fashion Week is in need of some “spice.” Gone are the days of after-after-after parties with hamburgers and French fries by the truckload. Everyone’s a VIP now. Barcodes have replaced word of mouth. Models just stand there and vape. Cardi B didn’t even come this season.
Wang would know that the fun is missing, since he’s historically provided it. But since he moved off the official Fashion Week calendar, the party scene has fallen flat. Of course, there are other factors at play. It’s simply too expensive for most brands (including Alexander Wang) to throw blowout parties. Doughnut candelabras? In this economy? No can do. New York nightlife also just isn’t what it used to be in general, and that includes the “going-out tops” that kept Alexander Wang in business.
As any seasoned party-goer would tell you, though, these are all petty excuses. Fun is out there if you make it. And thankfully, Wang is still willing to try.