We know the hustle and bustle of NYFW all too well. You'll find us running from show to show covering backstage beauty looks like it's a marathon. However, this standalone show debuting Alexander Wang's Collection 1 felt very different. It took place on a breezy Sunday afternoon by the water at South Street Seaport's Pier 17. The relaxed vibe backstage was a calm departure from the norm at fashion week, while supermodels trickled in, hair and makeup teams worked efficiently, and editors scoped the scene.
There was an overarching theme of American Pride. "Americana" was the word lead hairstylist Guido Palau used to describe his take on the Wang Girl this time around—the coolest girl at the 4th of July party was my interpretation. This included red, blue,and white bandanas on top of undone, "nothing-y"-textured hair, which translated to imperfectly slicked waves. Palau wanted to give the models a downtown party-girl feel, so his team used the Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer ($399) along with Redken's Shine Flash ($20) to create textured, straight strands.
Diane Kendal, a lead makeup artist with Nars, created a more vivid representation of stars and stripes with eye-catching makeup. As you can tell, there was a lot to see backstage. While some models wore glossy hair and face paint, five models wore fresh faces paired with stunning, star-spangled braids that I couldn't help but be captivated by.
The hands of braiders' backstage moved a mile a minute, creating intricate designs in an array of shapes. A few models wore crisscross cornrows and star designs.
Binx Walton rocked braids embroidered with her name in the center. It's so refreshing to see natural styles like cornrows be celebrated on the runway. It's truly a step in the right direction for more diversity during fashion week.
"We've seen so many braids," Palau said backstage. "We tried to do something they haven't seen and we tried to show what braiding techniques you can do." He credited stylists on his team with amazing braiding talent for the skillful designs. In the words of Childish Gambino, "This is America", and it's beautiful to see braided styles be a part of the conversation thanks to Wang's inclusive interpretation.