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- American fashion designer
Alexander Wang would like to show us his underwear. Yes, he has a new Uniqlo collaboration coming out this fall that merges his sleek, sexy aesthetic with Uniqlo’s innovative Heattech fabric, but in this particular instance, as we’re sitting in his Chinatown showroom, Wang is literally tugging his waistband above his skinny black pants. “See?!” he laughs. The question that led to this reveal was: Do you shop at Uniqlo, and for what? “Socks, underwear, those everyday essential items,” he responded with a smile. “It’s not fussy, it’s pure, there’s quality to it.”
You could say the same about his new partnership. Arriving at the end of the month, Wang’s Uniqlo collaboration is launching with the most basic of basics: bodysuits, tees, leggings, bras, and briefs for men and women in a range of neutral colors and Wang’s favorite shade of neon green. Everything is made with Uniqlo’s proprietary Heattech fabric and priced between $15 and $35.
Those keeping tabs on the New York designer will remember that this is not Wang’s first Uniqlo collaboration. Way back in 2008, just after he started his namesake brand, he worked on a selection of easy ready-to-wear with the retailer. “This is actually our 10-year anniversary,” he says. “We’ve stayed in touch over the years. Mr. Yanai [Uniqlo’s CEO and president] has always been very, very supportive and said, ‘When you have an idea to do something let’s connect.’ ” For Wang and his team, underwear and innerwear provided an interesting opportunity, as he’s rethinking his brand with new trans-seasonal collections and pre-collection runway shows. For the new Alexander Wang, a traditional underwear license didn’t make sense—why go basic when you can innovate and experiment without compromising on style?
“We thought this could be a great concept where we think about how to marry the two ideas: Heattech and underwear,” says Wang. “Heattech is a program created out of innovation, function, and utility. It’s something that I’ve always been very inspired by, by the advancement and innovation in fabrication. I wanted to think about it in a way where even if it wasn’t just worn on the inside—if you wore it as a top as something to lounge around in—you feel like there’s a style, an aesthetic that could stand on its own.”
Amid the concise range are a number of slinky bodysuits, tanks, and turtlenecks that are easy to picture being worn by the #WangGang for their nights on the town. “The thing that I love about these pieces is that they can really be worn on so many different occasions. Wear the bra top with a high-waisted jean and a denim jacket,” he says. Or maybe just the bra on its own? Wang laughs, recalling the time Jennifer Lawrence had to clarify in a rare Facebook post that while she was spinning around on a stripper pole—jokingly!—she was wearing an Alexander Wang top, not a bra. “Can I purchase the rights to that post?” he wonders aloud.
Wang’s sporty, streamlined pieces speak to a new era in intimates where the fussy and the lacy are being replaced by the essential and the practical, though the new basics are not without sex appeal. Try them out when the Alexander Wang x Uniqlo collaboration drops later this month at a “unique and special” event in New York.