The After Party Diaries: Alexander Wang at the Rainbow Room
images courtesy of Sean Zanni/Getty Images
Leave it to the legendary Alexander Wang to throw the most hyped, exclusive, and actually “cool” event of New York Fashion Week without even trying. Apparently Wang whipped this party together less than a week before, which for him, of course, means the last minute venue of the Rainbow Room at Rockefeller Center and sponsorship by Courvoisier.
The invitations specified the dress code was “chinoiserie” (we had to google it too) and a “Big Trouble in Little China(town)” theme was noted--an obvious play on John Carpenter's cult classic Big Trouble in Little China (1986). These were no doubt playful tongue-and-cheek references to Wang’s own Chinese-American heritage and likely a sincerer nod to the concurrent Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations that were taking place throughout the city the same week.
Let’s break down the basics of what made this party so insane:
- Wang moved himself off of the official NYFW calendar in 2018, i.e. he didn’t have a show this week, so this was literally an “after party” for the sake of itself… it wasn’t specifically “after” anything. In Wang's own words the purpose of the party was purely to add a little "spice" to fashion week.
- People actually showed up ON TIME (this never happens in the world of fashion parties).
- There is no over-stating the level of security at this party. Even once you made it past initial velvet ropes where the checking of the infamous “list” takes place, there were no less than 3 further security checkpoints at the tops of escalators, and the entrance to (and exit from) the elevators. In my over 10 years in the fashion industry I have never witnessed security this tight at any fashion party in the world. The security was so intense even the toffee-nosed upstarts at Vogue noted: “Until well past midnight, there was a line of guests (or, at least, hopeful ones) clamoring to get in…Exasperated security guards tried to contain the crowds to no avail.”
- Upon entering the Rainbow Room there was a gorgeous sea of red paper lantern lights, free cocktails on silver cocktail trays, and traditional, yet kitschy snacks like prawn crackers and custom red fortune cookies. As the New York Times put it, the party "was a veritable United Nations of cultural appropriation." In any other context I'd consider that a backhanded criticism by the NYT, but here it all felt different. Wang and his team knew exactly what they were doing.
- FYI: The special red fortune cookies inside all read: “Find eternal happiness at 103 Grand st.” As you might have guessed that is the address of Alexander Wang’s flagship store. Somehow Mr. Wang even makes raffish attempts at marketing sponsored by Cash App endearing-- is there anything this man can't do?
- There was a surprise performance by Tommy Genesis, one of my favorite underground female artists. She hails from Canada and is a frequent collaborator with ABRA. We geeked out when we got to meet her after her set.
- Other surprise performances included Trina, A$AP Ferg, and the half of City Girls that isn’t in jail. There was also no shortage of beautiful black men voguing on stage between sets.
- Guest-wise there were some supermodels or whatever, but we were more excited to run into our friend and major #GIRLBOSS, Ruth Gruca of CALA (formerly VFiles) as well as genderbending model Jazzelle Zanaughtti of UglyWorldwide.
TBH, we dipped out of the Wang party a little early because of the overly stringent security blocking some of our friends getting in (this seemed to be a problem a lot of people were having, which made the vibe upstairs a little wanting IMHO.)
Next, our team headed to an exclusive little nightspot called The Blond in SoHo, where we all managed to get in and party together until closing. We also got the scoop Dior will be opening a store soon in the meatpacking district! Shhhh, don’t tell.