“To be as strong as a man but to look like a feminine woman.” Rachel Roy says that’s her starting point for every collection. For pre-fall, she celebrated empowered women such as artists Louise Joséphine Bourgeois and Tamara de Lempicka, also looking to Art Deco times when, she said, “Women were cutting their hair short and wearing men’s clothes.” Roy’s translation came modern and chic, with knit tops and coats that riffed on Bourgeois’ paintings, as well as body-skimming color-blocked dresses and tulip-shaped skirts paired with straight square tops. For the most masculine looks, there were long and lean jackets with slightly padded shoulders.

In launch news, Roy quietly introduced a few shoe styles, all in color-blocked leather, and will show a full collection for fall 2012. “We wanted to do it right,” she said. “That’s why it took so long.”

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