Angel Chang Spring 2008 – New York Fashion Week Review

Angel Chang’s latest collection, shown in a presentation at Air Studio in Chelsea, was inspired by World War II-era female spies.

“I went down to the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C., and there was an exhibit there all about female spies,” Chang said when asked about her inspiration for this collection. “Marlene Dietrich, Josephine Baker, Julia Child, all these famous celebrities were doubling as secret agents during the war…I read their biographies, and it turns out a lot of the women were really independent, straight out of school, very worldly, and it’s kind of like how my customers are.”

Chang’s retro theme is in sharp contrast to her previous collections, which had included such futuristic elements as special inks that changed colors and built-in iPod accessories. This time, her clothes included such features as battlefield landscape embroidery and trench coats doubling as skirts. Chang also used spider-web lace in a number of her dresses, evoking the seductive side of female spies in movies, such as Rachel Stein, the protagonist of Paul Verhoeven’s “Black Book.”

“I went to the Museum of Natural History and saw all these radioactive rocks and elements, and that’s where the fluorescent colors come from,” Chang said. “From that, I chose the brass and the nudes that would go well with these colors. And I like the nudes conceptually, because it’s like being undercover and being exposed.”

While Chang’s concept is intriguing, the results are mixed. For spring clothing, the designs where brass colors dominate seem rather somber, and the materials do little to flatter the wearer and just hang listlessly off the models’ frames. Chang has taken the movie-espionage theme a bit too far and has come up with creations that seem out of place in real life. More successful are the orange fluorescent dresses, which are simpler and more appropriate to the season. Also, the ruffles and lighter fabric contribute to an aesthetically pleasing look that seems functional and wearable.

Photo Gallery: Angel Chang Spring 2008 – New York Fashion Week
all photos by Christopher Bourne / Meniscus Magazine