NEW YORK (AFP) - 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, androgynous 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 color.
- Rihanna: 'I'm so proud of you' -
"The shoes killed it. I'm so proud of you," gushed an enthusiastic and clearly delighted 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 by more fans, celebrities and fashionistas.
There were leather crop tops, a beige rubber mini dress that resembled the tread of a car tire, 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 rapturous 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 an old-school French couture house. In November, a collection for retailer H&M is due to hit stores.
- Gurung's Himalayan high -
Another 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 makeup 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.
For evening, Gurung created billowing, two-tone chiffon skirts with a stripe of color down the back and bodices encrusted Swarvoski crystals, finished with oversized waistcoats to provide a modern flourish.
The designer's first shoe line complimented the clothes, each named after 20th century artists: Britain's Tracey Emin, Zaha Hadid and Cecily Brown, Americans Georgia O'Keeffe and Cindy Sherman, and Mexican painter Frida Kahlo.
Stilettos had textural and color-blocked details, with graphic straps and rhodium-plated hardware buckles, as well as nylon belts.
The award-winning creator is a favorite 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, the wife of Britain's Prince William.
Mad Men star January Jones wore Prabal Gurung to this year's Emmys.
French clothing brand Lacoste showcased a collection inspired by sailing, with artistic director Felipe Oliveira Baptista again looking back into the company's archives for inspiration.
"Lacoste designed two competitive sailing boats in the 1980s. This nautical spirit is less well known but part of the brand," he told AFP.
It was a mix-and-match silhouette: the tight and the oversized, technical pieces with welded or zigzag seams, subtle cuts and asymmetric dresses.
There was blue, red, white and yellow with bold stripes, while orange, lilac, mint, grey and purple added a hint of pop. "People are doing more and more sport," Baptista said.
"It's the idea of a hybrid wardrobe, something high performance but which also has style."