Alexander Wang’s shows have come to be regarded as the mini rock concerts of Fashion Week, drawing out the best and most outrageous musical personalities to his front row every season and showcasing killer tunes on his catwalk. Even his clothes themselves heavily reference his music-indebted influences, with grunge, Miami hip-hop, and rave all having served as former collection talking points (and accompanying sounds). For Spring 2012, his sartorial focus was sports, finally spearheading the “haute athleticism” undercurrent strengthening as a major style attitude for several seasons now. Obviously, the spectacle surrounding sports culture and its obsession with power demands a commanding soundtrack (check) and, even better, a sensational afterparty (double check). Wang’s “frat-themed” party at Pier 40 Saturday night featured a shock performance from left-field rap troupe Odd Future, and might have been his most sensational late night outing to date.
The combustible combination of libations and radically diverse guests already guaranteed entertaining results — how often are Tyler the Creator and Anna Wintour within the same breathing space, after all? But then, in keeping with the fraternal theme, Wang provided his guests plenty of opportunities for misbehavior. Jello shots, Playboy-wallpapered walls, Bud on the reg, hot dogs on command – these context-setting props perfectly heightened the bro’ mood, but then again, Wang’s always had a way with accessories. Sony’s Everybody Dance game proved to be the evening’s most popular activity, with actress Christina Ricci and Wang himself engaging in a sweaty, Rihanna-soundtracked dance-off at one point. Courtney Love, also an attendee at the collection viewing, mingled through the model-strewn crowd, exactly two years removed from her own gleeful/shambolic turn at Wang’s Spring 2010 after party, then hosted at a gas station.
But even Love’s memorable gueststarring role on Wang’s stage couldn’t out-pervert this year’s shock and awe of Odd Future’s fulminating live set. Tyler, not usually one to consort with anyone less than utterly hardcore, may have been out of his element in the largely effete crowd, but there’s a thrill to be found in that sense of dislocation. Ironically, as he barked death threats over his group’s catastrophic beats, he may have found his most passionate audience yet, motivating the crowd into one entangled stylish riot. For one telling moment, fashion took a backseat to fire and friction.