Shirtless male models doing flips on trampolines…Studio 54 silver confetti raining down on Jessica Chastain’s red coif…Karlie Kloss in black football gear…the return of Missy Elliott. Welcome to Alexander Wang’s mega H&M runway show and launch party.
Wang got movie stars and fashion’s A-list to trek up to the Armory Foundation on (gulp) west 169th Street. “I’m so confused. Are we still in the city?” an all-black-Wang-clad editirix said nervously to an assistant juggling two iPhone 6 Pluses.
But it was worth the trip. Section M, Row 1 was celeb central: Justin Theroux, Solange, Dakota Fanning, Eddie Redmayne (who will be an Oscar nominee for The Theory of Everything this year, take note), Kate Mara, artist Nate Lowman, Natasha Lyonne, Mary J Blige and Chastain who was the last to arrive. Other chicsters: Max Snow (I adore his label Maxwell Snow, sold at Opening Ceremony) and Vanessa Traina, Ladyfag, Garance Dore, Erin Wasson, star stylist Johnny Wujek, Susie Bubble, Dorian Grinspan, Ellen von Unwerth, Nina Garcia and H&M creative advisor Margareta van den Bosch.
The catwalk show (Natasha Poly opened and Kloss closed) was techno-punk sportswear for sexed up street style stars. It was pure Wang…and with some items hitting the $300+ mark, priced more Wang than H&M.
After the designer did a fast finale lap on the indoor track set, guests mobbed the pre-sale, snatching up leather “AW” boxing gloves, silver puffy coats and all kinds of barely-there “gym” wear (if you work out on a Mert & Marcus fashion shoot, perhaps). “Every picture of a starlet in Hollywood headed to Equinox or leaving an airport for the next several months will be Wang clad,” said NYLON’s Dani Stahl.
Then, it was Missy Elliot time. The rapper made her return and sang her hits (“Are there any freaks out there?” she asked the crowd before performing “Get Ur Freak On”) while waving her very long tresses under a black baseball cap that read WANG in huge white letters.
The Alexander Wang H&M collection is super glamour-jock, so I asked the fashion elite to reveal their secret sports pasts…
David Thielebeule, The Wall Street Journal: “This is definitely the first time I’ve been asked if I was a jock in high school. It’s probably not a huge surprise that the answer is no. I was big on the swim team when I was younger, but by high school I was too embarrassed by the Speedo to keep up with it. Rather ironic now.”
Dani Stahl, NYLON: “I ran track, actually! I was a hurdler. The 100-meter hurdles was my race. I was one of the top hurdlers in the NYC girl’s school circuit. I also played field hockey: great outfits. I’ll tell you what’s a real sport! Flash sale shopping. The ‘grab it all now, decide after’ plan of attack is aggressive, but it works. It looks like you’ve robbed a bank.”
Billy Farrell, photographer: “I wasn’t a jock, but I did get my letter in discus junior year.”
Mickey Boardman, Paper: “I was not a jock in high school, although I was on the football team my freshman year. I don’t know what I was thinking, but it was fun. I was best friends with all the cheerleaders, and my brother was a total jock so I was friends with his friends, meaning I could live the jock life vicariously that way.”
Jenne Lombardo, MADE: “I was an all-Ohio/American athlete in field hockey, but I was by no means a jock. In fact, my coach caught me smoking once in the photo lab at school. That wasn’t fun!”
Susan Joy, stylist: “I was definitely not a jock in high school. I was a gymnast through most of high school. And then later I joined the rowing team, as a cox, of course. Directing, motivating and yelling as a sport? I’d found my place.”
Andrew Bevan, Teen Vogue: “I grew up in Colorado with two older brothers, so I definitely played my fair share of sports: skiing (as soon as I could walk), tennis, basketball, and little league baseball. It seemed more expected for me to do it. However, ironically I didn’t really fully embrace my athletic side until I started at Vogue in the mid-2000s. That’s when I began running marathons, and playing intramural street hockey, which is something that people still think I’m lying about. I’m all about defense, and what I lack in skill, I gain in my cutthroat competitive nature. The best was when David Thielebeule told me he saw someone that looked exactly like me playing hockey in Tompkin Square Park.”
Christopher Campbell, BlackBook: “My college counselor suggested I play sports to appear more well-rounded for my college applications, so I joined the cross-country running team. During practice, my friend and I would run about a quarter mile and then hide behind a nearby grocery store and smoke cigarettes until we saw the rest of the guys running back to the finish line. We’d join up with them and act as though we’d gone the distance. Now I love running. I start my days with a three and a half mile run, so I guess that high school training must have rubbed off a little.”
Annie Georgia Greenberg, Refinery29: “I played soccer my whole life. But, I have to say, my best (worst) jock story came when I tried my hand at lacrosse for a brief season. I wanted to join because I thought the skirts were cute. Little did I know that was the first year they’d make us wear face masks. I was fast and agile but I never really learned the rules. So, I’d run up the field and score a goal, only to find out to find out that my foot was in the goalie ‘crease’ and it didn’t count. Of course, I only found this out after I did a really dramatic victory dance. Embarrassing.”
Danielle Bernstein, WeWoreWhat: “I was a total jock in the most babe way possible. Captain of my soccer team. I scored goals while rolling my shorts a little shorter and wore sports bras when I knew the boys were practicing next to us that day.”
Kelly Framel, The Glamourai: “I was so not a jock growing up. I went to a really small private school where everyone had to play every sport or there wouldn’t be enough people to make a team. I was constantly exaggerating my ‘injuries’ so I could sit on the bench and talk to my friends. The one time I ever scored a goal (during a basketball game), I did so for the wrong team. My sports career was doomed from the start.”
Natalie Joos: “First of all, I was not particularly a jock, but I’ve always been active. I went to school in Belgium. It’s a little bit different there. For one there were no boys in my school so the emphasis on sports teams and athletics is almost nil. I was never much of an athlete. I did what I had to do in school, and as long as it didn’t hurt, I participated. We swam, played volleyball, climbed ropes, attempted splits, anything to get good grades. It was never a matter of shape or performance, just something to do instead of math and biology. If it got me out of the classroom, I was game. I don’t like the word ‘workout’. For one, because it has the word ‘work’ in it. Exercise should be fun, not work! You get paid to work; but you’re rewarded for the other.”
Matthew Marden, Details: “I played soccer in high school and I loved it, the whole thing, being part of a team, the camaraderie and support of that environment, working together to reach a goal, etc, etc. I wasn’t the best player on the team, but I did okay.”
David X. Prutting, photographer: “I was a jock growing up. I played three sports in high school—baseball, track, football—and football in college. football was my best sport. My best team story was winning a county championship when nobody thought we could win then all the fans rushed the field and buried us players. I almost died under there, but it was so worth it. My best individual story was in a county championship indoor track meet, on a track much Alex Wang’s, I was 3rd leg in a 4 x 225 m. race and I got the baton behind the leader ( these punks who had been cheating by bumping and crossing lanes) and during my race I overtook the lead and when I did pretending I was just pumping my arms elbowed this kid so hard. It was great. They totally deserved it and I didn’t get caught! We won.”
From top: Dani Stahl, Susan Joy, Natalie Joos, Erin Wasson and Andrew Bevan, Kelly Framel and Susie Lau, Annie Georgia Greenberg, David Thielebeule, Jenne Lombardo