It’s fitting that Laura Vassar and Kristopher Brock are the new romantics in town — a beautiful, husband-and-wife design duo who came out of virtually nowhere to win the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund in 2016 and get everyone’s attention. Their story reads like a fairy tale, and to a great extent so does their collection. It’s pure romance yet not fiction. The thing that makes their look — full of corsets, ruffles, taffeta and vintage-looking jacquards — compelling is that it’s improbably modern. For all the frills, they’ve also developed a killer pair of jeans. For fall, they focused on making it more mature. Less damsel, more heroine. It was beautiful.

“The notion of romance resonates with every woman,” said Vassar. “Whether she’s Californian or uptown or wherever she is in the world, romance means something to her.” Nothing was dainty, but there was a spectrum of prettiness. The dusty floral jacquards that opened the show on corset tops and pencil skirts with sculpted ruffles built into moody velvet empire dresses, sheer black lingerie lace gowns and ivory embroidered tulle on a long-sleeved top and tea-length dress were gentle yet confident. The case for the new focus on adult attitude crystalized in a killer black dress, belted with a wide portrait neckline. A big part of the allure was the sense of human touch — raw finishes and a textural hand that ensured nothing was too synthesized or perfect. True romance never is.

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