Vera Wang has been making a point of eschewing anything unnecessarily white in her ready-to-wear collections for several seasons now. So, when her designer’s notes for this morning’s show said that, “Black is the new Black,” no one should have been too terribly surprised. This has been a fairly consistent theme for Ms. Wang and one I don’t see her leaving any time soon. She has embraced the color, or lack thereof, both spring and fall and shown she knows how to make it work. The only question is how she chooses to style her looks.
Minimalism seemed to be the call of the day. I’ll be honest, I was hoping for something on the verge of creepy, like last year’s bug theme. That was not to be. Instead, Wang stayed with this season’s trend of being long and lean and tossed in a touch of Holland with things such as cutouts in the sleeves and oversized structure. Skirts had drawstrings. Column dresses had pockets. Oh, and just in case of inclement weather, there were black rubber boots. Everywhere.
Tongues from the uninitiated were yammering by the fourth look in, but this collection is but another step in the same direction Vera’s been going for quite a while. Silhouettes are very loose and she does the masculine tailoring thing as well as anyone. including a tux look that might cause her wedding competitors to worry a bit. Dropped and non-existent waistlines worked well on several pieces and gave the collection a younger look than what it has sometimes had.
What she leaves off in terms of decoration and detail, Ms. Wang makes up for in terms of texture. Compact wool. Twill. Wrinkled faille (and that’s just the first look). Felted wool. Silk double crepe. Mohair. Poplin. Cotton. Vynil. Leather. Rubber. Lace. Eventually, she couldn’t help herself and tossed in some applique, which I think is an element she personally enjoys doing as much for the texture element as much as being decorative. Plus, to stay on trend, there needed to be some flowers in there somewhere.
I’m still wishing they had been bugs.
This was, again, a very retail-attractive ready-to-wear collection for Vera Wang that will, as always, do very well in stores. If I have any point of concern it is on a more personal level as I couldn’t help noticing Ms. Wang looked considerably more fatigued at the end of this morning’s show than her normal amount of seemingly endless energy. We’re accustomed to seeing a rather spry and buoyant designer who comes out and makes smiles at her audience. Today, we barely caught a glimpse of tired eyes, a forced smile, and a half wave. Vera Wang is one of the hardest working designers in the industry and I fear all that wear and tear may be beginning to tell.
But hey, let’s focus on the positive. Yesterday, Pamella Roland gave us over-the-knee boots with her formal gowns. Today, Vera Wang gives us rubber boots with her beautiful dresses. Who says fashion doesn’t care about sensible shoes for winter?