Another of my personal favorites so far. Not a perfect collection, but I think the good far outweighs the bad.
FEBRUARY 12, 2013
By Nicole Phelps
Vera Wang's tomboy phase is over. The designer changed things up a couple of years ago, swapping the three-dimensional volumes and jewel tones she made synonymous with her name in the mid-aughts for slimmer, garçon-ish, and often black clothes. Today, she made another switch, calling her collection an exploration of classic dressmaking in sculptural silhouettes. It wasn't a bad match. This was a pretty collection for Wang.
The show got off to a slow start with graphic layers like a black twill sleeveless cocoon coat with plunging armholes worn over a stone gray canvas shift. The canvas bandeaux that she sometimes added on top are a styling idea that won't make it past the runway. But she moved on fairly quickly. Wang can't resist a bit of fur, and her black fox cape, fastened at the neckline with a studded leather strap over a jeweled T-shirt dress, had charm. Another nice outfit for evening: a white fox wrap and leather opera gloves over a black Chantilly tunic and cropped pants in metallic lavender brocade.
Like most 48-look shows, this one could've used some pruning, but things really started looking up when Wang let the light in. Photos don't do justice to the iridescence of a youthful pink sequined and beaded V-neck dress. The tangerine and magenta jacquards of a pleated-neck top and a blossoming tulip skirt were especially lovely. And when those bandeaux reappeared under rose-print chiffon blouses with long trains and matching jacquard pants, they made a whole lot more sense.
Definitely agree with Phelps that those opening looks are a miss-- I would have trashed them from the collection as they clearly are a sore spot on the rest of the collection. I think it's Vera's way of letting people know that she's willing to try something different, something daring, even something off. But, she's been at it for so long now I think she's best when she's doing her thing, which is the kind of sparse, elegant and opulent separates and sportswear that the best American designers do so well. And to me, she is one of the best. She doesn't need gimmicks.
Her feminine and polished take on chain mail/chain plate-like pieces are really incredible and easy despite the obvious intricacy of the work. And I really really dig Vera's eye for texture and florals/prints; those quilted ottoman-like florals are so rich they're like instant-vintage. She's leagues above all the others in NYC doing florals. I really think she has such an unfussy way of approaching opulent and romantic designs without the tackiness and theatrics that often results in less refined and restraint hands.