NYFW: VERA WANG S/S 2016

Vera Wang S/S 2016
Vera Want S/S 2016

I guess the real word hasn’t gotten around yet that Periscope isn’t a good streaming platform for fashion shows. Let’s hope that word begins to spread quickly. While watching the Vera Wang show this morning wasn’t the roller coaster ride that Diane Von Furstenberg’s was earlier this week, it still was a long way from using real cameras to do real video. This time, the person holding the mobile device (I’m going to assume it was a tablet rather than a phone) was standing three rows back in the photography pit. That means it was elevated, a position that catches the runway lights much hotter than at ground level, and noisy. The sound of all the cameras clicking away in the pits was quite annoying.

Worst of all, though, was that one really couldn’t see any detail, again. The mobile device was too far back, even under perfect conditions, and at the elevated angle the lights completely washed out the models and much of the detail in the clothing. One could get only the most vague concept of the silhouettes and that was about it. What’s the point in broadcasting a show if one comes away still not knowing anything about the clothes?

One of the things Periscope does is keep track of the number of people watching at any given time. At no point this morning did that hit count go above 170, which is painfully, embarrassingly, low. For any other designers planning to use Periscope this week, it’s probably too late to make other arrangements. Let’s hope by next season, however, that some of these nasty bugs are worked out.

After having a chance to actually look at still photographs, I can tell you that Ms. Wang’s spring/summer 2016 ready-to-wear collection is dark and daring. She led with an all-black ensemble that included a knee-length dress coat over a bandeau top and a pair of high-wasted shorts that were reminiscent of your great-grandmother’s underwear. Whether or not the look works depends greatly upon who is wearing it. The model chosen had a larger bust than we normally see on the runway and women so proportioned often have some difficulty with anything strapless. Looking at shots from multiple photographers it seems that this was no exception. So it goes throughout the collection. There are a lot of racer backs, surprisingly small crop tops, sheer blouses, and short skirts.

This collection is a significant departure from last year’s spring/summer wear. There are fewer dresses in the collection and the ones that are there are less frilly, more minimalist, more racy, and some even have a bit of an urban edge to them, something we’ve not seen from Vera before. When she departs from her typical black, she opts for a very bright red (which did not do well on Periscope at all). These few pieces really stand out from all the black, but still keep a stiff and rather blocky silhouette.

Another departure is that there are no gowns in this collection. None. Zero. There were people very disappointed. There were a couple of dresses with very large sequins, and others that were more voluminous with additional layers of chiffon, and some with fringe along the seams, and one final piece in mohair, but every last one of these stayed no longer than knee-length. That is NOT a bad thing. Separating her ready-to-wear collection from her bridal collection is something she’s needed to do for quite a while and finally, with this collection, she’s doing just that.

From a diversity standpoint, Ms. Wang did not do as well as she has done in previous seasons with fewer than a quarter of her models being non-caucasian. Are you beginning to see how severe the problem is, though? We’ll give the show a rating of four out of ten, which is about where we find a large number of the presentations. Casting agents simply have to start doing a better job.

There is a lot to like in this Vera Wang collection. Too bad we weren’t able to tell that from the view on Periscope. The technology really isn’t ready for runway.

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