After dabbling in the interiors of New York’s Balenciaga flagship and a creating few small home accessories, fashion designer, icon, and darling Alexander Wang has officially made the big crossover into the world of industrial design. Italian furniture empire Poltrona Frau just launched a new Wang-designed collection that evokes the monochrome glam-banality of his eponymous clothing.
Clement Pascal for WSJ Magazine
“I like to recontextualize what is banal, what is luxurious,” he explained in his exclusive with the Wall Street Journal (see: satin track pants and neoprene hoodies). “How do we take it from what we know to something that feels more extreme — very extreme, sometimes?”
Well, the secret is mixing extremes of the (very) high and low. For example, you can take an ’80s staple like the bean bag, wrap it in black shearling, or alternatively in leather, and elevate it on brass feet — and not on a mundane octagonal frame, as simple folk would, but one with nine sides. Wang also took an old Poltrona Frau specialty, the fold-up cocktail-bar-cum-suitcase on wheels, and made it Lower Manhattan chic: the rough matte texture of black shagreen paired with the luster of brass shelves. Like the aforementioned upgraded gym clothes, they don’t come cheap. The leather version of the bean bag chair is $8,800; the bar is $18,500.
Wang’s collection is a step beyond recent surface fashion-to-furniture crossovers like Raf Simons’ re-upholstering of Isamu Noguchi or Paul Smith of Hans Wegner, and it taps an underserved era in retro rather than the boilerplate mid-century revival. Now that we’ve got the bar, the bean bag, the coasters, and the whiskey glasses, we’re just waiting on the Alexander Wang pool table and a lava lamp to furnish the urban basement rec room of our dreams.