Back in January, Alexander Wang announced that he’d be straying from New York Fashion Week’s de facto schedule, and instead showing in June and December to align with the pre-season collections. And last night, the designer came out swinging for his “Collection 1” debut at South Street Seaport’s Pier 17, putting forth an exuberant collection that celebrated a youthful rock ‘n’ roll take on neo-Americana—complete with stars, stripes, and paisley hair treatments that offered a new beauty alternative for summer bashes and beach parties.
The patriotic runway successor to last season’s silver claw clip for millennial It-Girls? That would be the biker-esque snapback bandana headbands worn across the center of the forehead – seen on Bella Hadid – and paired with hairstylist Guido Palau’s latest take on gritty Wang girl hair.
“It’s not wavy, it’s not straight—it’s nothing-y texture,” he explained backstage while blasting small sections smooth with the new Dyson Supersonic dryer and leaving the rest air-dried before raking Redken’s No Blow Dry Just Right Creamand Shine Flash from roots to tips. “We wanted it to look very cool and downtown à la Axl Rose.” But the scene-stealing hair statements didn’t end there. A few models, including Selena Forrest and Hiandra Martinez, received intricate, individual braid designs spangled with stars and geometric shapes; meanwhile, Binx Walton took bespoke plaits to the next level by having her name woven into her cornrows.
The show’s spirited styles—as well as the matte black, stars-and-stripes face paint etched onto a few models by makeup artist Diane Kendal using a Nars Flibuste Velvet Shadow Stick—certainly presented a fresh counterpoint to prototypical red-white-and-blue dressing, and one marked by a similar streak of fun, freedom, and optimism. These may be uncertain times, Wang seemed to say, but the show must go on.
This story originally appeared on Vogue.com.