Alexander Wang’s H&M Spectacular Hits Harlem

Sarah Cristobal

The Wang effect. Who else other than Alexander Wang could lure the fashion flock to Harlem for an H&M blowout? (Fortunately there was a 20% discount with Uber.) The Armory on Hudson on 168th Street was actually the perfect setting for his super urban brand of performance wear which is officially hitting stores November 6.

The evening kicked off with a parkour group called Anti Gravity repelling from the ceiling, wearing the new collection and bouncing off strategically placed trampolines. With a star-studded front row that included Mary J. Blige, Kate Mara, and Jessica Chastain looking on, the show then kicked off Joan Smalls, Tyson Beckford, and Anna Ewers in Silence of the Lambs-esque masks. The clothing consisted of body-con scuba dresses, paneled leggings, crop tops, racer back bras, and to-die-for outerwear including oversize puffer coats and water-repellent parkas (just thing to save you from another Polar Vortex). The looks were punctuated with the models carrying basketballs, hockey sticks, and covetable gym bags.

Afterward the thousand or so attendees funneled into a makeshift store situated behind the runway. Many of the folks were ignoring the two-item limit and grabbing merchandise like it was a firehouse sale. (With prices ranging from $30-$400 for one of the aforementioned parkas, who could blame them?) Karlie Kloss, who closed the show, was one of the shoppers with a healthy hoard. “I’m looking for a leather backpack but I guess I’ll settle for this one,” she said with a bag already affixed to her back and her arms full of the primarily black merchandise. “I love all of this stuff!”

In case the night could not get any better, it ended with a not-so-secret performance by Missy Elliott. With her backup dancers showing off their killer moves while wearing Scream masks, the beloved rapper tore up the stage in true ’90s hip-hop fashion. Jumping into the audience more than once, she had no trouble goading everyone to get off their feet. “I’m sorry, are you not ready to party?” Flying through her hits (“Work It” was a definite highlight) the crowd was practically epileptic with glee. The second that Wang was pulled onstage by her crew to bust out a few twerking moves of his own, confetti was released from the rafters. Everyone had proven their endurance that evening.