With so many contemporary labels edging closer to the aesthetic of high fashion, what can a luxury designer do to set her work apart visually? It’s a question Vera Wang has been pondering, and for fall she answered it with a collection that provided a lovely study on luxurious fabrics, volume and silhouettes, referencing several couture concepts. “It’s really about the exploration of old-fashioned dressmaking techniques and the construction of clothes that we haven’t been known for other than in bridal,” Wang said backstage before her show.
The designer’s main silhouette was the egg shape. It was a nod to Cristóbal Balenciaga, but Wang often rendered the look distinctly in layered constructions of multiple pieces — a jacket over a shift dress, for instance — featuring deep armholes with low, inset pockets. She repeated the shape throughout the show, from a minimal take in just two fabrics to more elaborate, constructed versions like a glittery jeweled top teamed with a voluminous folded skirt. The precision of execution was impressive, but Wang overstated the point — even some of her hemlines mimicked the oval egg lines.
Couture touches were also demonstrated via Japanese influences, namely intricate origami cuts and a gathered kimono dress with a focus on volume in the back. They were beautiful, as were her fabric combos; Chantilly lace, for instance, was mixed with metallic brocade on a shift dress, topped with a draped brocade skirt. It offered a fresh and youthful take on evening, as did the jacquard draped dresses in a bold orange-and-purple rose motif that ended the show on an electric note.