Alexander Wang is famous for throwing the most buzzed-about Fashion Week parties. So for his label’s Fall 2016 campaign, he combined two of the things he does best — fashion and raging — to create, along with music video king Director X, a spot that exudes the glamorous, gritty, and rebellious vibe the New York brand is known for.
Wang gathered quite a colorful cast for the campaign, which includes Kylie Jenner and Tyga in their first appearance together for a brand, joined by Anna Ewers, A$AP Ferg, Big Sean, Binx Walton, Black Atlass, Curren Caples, Hanne Gaby Odiele, Issa Lish, Katie Moore, Lexi Boling, Lucien Smith, Metro Boomin, MØ, RL Grime, Skrillex (who also did the music for the campaign), Tinashe, Vince Staples, Yana Bovenistier, and Zoë Kravitz.
Post Coachella last April, Wang brought the crew to a mansion in Beverly Hills and basically instructed the group to let loose. “I wanted to create this hybrid idea of a music video with my favorite movies growing up, referencing Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Can’t Hardly Wait,” Wang tells Yahoo Style, and also references the more recent Project X. “A lot of [the cast] are people that I’ve always really respected, collaborators, or models I’ve used for quite a long time, where I’ve seen them grow into their own.”
Drinking, dancing, and light debauchery ensued, and it was all caught on camera. While many of the cast members met for the first time on set, Wang says it felt like everyone was old friends based on the partying spirit. And this all made for some excellent footage. “There is one scene with Skrillex and a few of the model girls. We just kind of threw them in there with Alice Glass,” Wang explains. “Skrillex started playing his own music, and we didn’t even script it that way — he just took out his laptop and started playing — all the girls started going crazy! They jumped up on the bar, they started taking their clothes off and headbanging. Director X was like, ‘We gotta shoot this, we gotta shoot this!‘”
Sure, there were some great unscripted moments that made it into the final cut, but the overall theme that Wang was trying to communicate was very clear. Is the lively group of revelers actually supposed to be in the house or not? Were they invited to this home, or are they crashing? Are the owners away and blissfully unaware that their not-so-humble abode has been taken over by beautiful young thangs? Those are just some of the ambiguous feelings Wang was aiming for. Yet in the end, as Wang says, his cast wound up “essentially creating their own storyline,” giving the video the authenticity he wished to continue from his previous campaign. “That’s really something you can’t predict, but it all came together better than I planned.”
Wang himself is no stranger to slipping away to places he shouldn’t be. The designer admits that he spent some of his boarding school days venturing away from campus to party. It is that experience, that thrilling mystery, that Wang draws on even today. “Whenever I throw a party I always say, you gotta keep people guessing and keep the mystery alive. Whether it’s the room or the performers, or what you’re going to have there, you gotta surprise them, and that kind of mystery is something I feel is very important to continue.”