NEW YORK - Alexander Wang proved himself one of the biggest innovators in New York fashion Saturday with a fast tempo, uber-cool catwalk show that won personal praise from style icon Rihanna.
Wang's 2015 spring/summer collection for his eponymous label saw impeccable tailoring brought up to the minute with leather, string meshing and rubber to refine the urban, androgenous look for which he is famous.
There were none of the delicate colors that have characterised lesser catwalks this week, instead the 30-year-old whiz kid indulged his love of black, pairing it with white, orange, green, blue, yellow or pink.
Monochrome looks of black and white - tight trousers with sharp creases, tasseled mini skirts and string tops - were enlivened by innovative heeled shoes in blue and pink providing a splash of colour.
Rihanna: 'I'm so proud of you'
"The shoes killed it. I'm so proud of you," gushed an enthusiastic and clearly delighted-looking Rihanna as she embraced Wang backstage after the show.
"Thank you so much. Congratulations," the Barbadian pop star said before being whisked away as Wang was mobbed more fans, other celebrities and fashionistas.
There were leather crop tops, a beige rubber mini dress that resembled the tread of a car tyre, and a leather and mesh biker jacket, then grey suiting.
Textures were enlivened by tops encrusted with beads on the front or string-strapped crop tops fashioned from coiled thread.
Models belted down the runway, hair scrapped back and faces, to high-tempo techno music met by raptuous applause and cat calls.
Wang, who dropped out of design school to set up his own label, is one of the most successful American designers of his generation.
Since 2012, he has also been creative director of Balenciaga, the first American in more than 10 years to run a old-school French couture house, and in November a collection for retailers H and M is due to hit stores.
Gurung's Himalayan high
Another Saturday highlight saw Nepalese designer to the A-list Prabal Gurung unveil a Himalayan-themed spring/summer collection paired with an inaugural shoe collection inspired by women artists.
Spectators who sweltered in the hot, cavernous Moynihan Station, were transported by a fast-paced, intense collection billed as "the juxtaposition of traditional Nepalese dressing and androgynous American sportswear." It was the designer's second consecutive runway show inspired by a trek to Mustang, a plateau on the Chinese border where his mother's ancestors come from, and comes with him just weeks away from launching a new make-up brand.
He chose white, turquoise, lilac, amethyst, navy and sunset coral as the colors of his collection, meant to embody the skies over Nepal from dusk to dawn.
Micro-shorts, skirts, asymmetrical dresses and organza blouses showcased Gurung's signature ruffles, hand embroidery, layers and different textures - skirts draped with chiffon and dresses spliced with graphic details.
Day dresses had three-dimensional rhododendron and carabineer prints.
There was ample use of flocked satin, raw bleached denim, organza made into wrap blouses and then cloque jacquard, which looked a bit like subtle quilting and which Gurung said was a nod to the mountains.
Outfits incapsulated a fresh, dreamy exoticism trimmed with leather, ostrich features, ruffles and backs were cut out under and around the shoulders.
For evening, Gurung created billowing, two-tone chiffon skirts with a stripe of colour down the back and bodices encrusted Swarvoski crystals, finished with over-sized waistcoats to provide a modern flourish.
The designer's first shoe line complimented the clothes, each named after 20th century artists: Britain's Tracy Emin, Zaha Hadid and Cecily Brown; Americans Georgia O'Keeffe and Cindy Sherman, and Mexican painter Frida Kahlo.
Stilletos had textural and colour-blocked details with graphic straps and rhodium-plated hardware buckles and technical nylon belts.
The award-winning creator is a favourite of style queen Anna Wintour, the English editor-in-chief of Vogue and attended her son's recent society wedding.
Gurung has dressed some of the world's most desirable women including Michelle Obama and the Duchess of Cambridge. "Mad Men" star January Jones wore Prabal Gurung to this year's Emmys.