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Vera Wang soars yet stumbles

Published
today Sep 11, 2019
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​The naked truth about many of the collections one witnesses in New York is they give the impression of being designed by merchandisers and not designers. That is true most seasons.


Vera Wang spring/summer 2020 collection in New York - Vera Wang


One of several reasons why it was a pleasure to attend the latest show by Vera Wang, a true-blue American designer with a highly distinctive signature style.
 
Wang’s DNA is a disparate amalgam: posh goth; Japanese avant-garde; louche lady rocker; juvenile Miss Havisham; downtown femme fatale. All of whom made appearances in her show Tuesday morning at the former Stock Exchange of New York that, despite the major runway malfunction, was a formidable fashion statement.

Wang jumbles up unexpected combinations of camisole tops; silk boxer shorts; chain-mail tanks; and bras, corsets or bustiers in all sorts of materials – herringbone wool, tulle, and brocade.


Vera Wang spring/summer 2020 collection in New York - Vera Wang


There is an art to what Wang does. In less skillful hands these assemblages would be a complete mess, but Wang is such an assured composer her improbable combinations generally look great.
 
It’s also vital that she is a darned good tailor; able to compose light classy blazers or military jackets with ruffles. Her palette is naturally moody, black and gray with the tiniest hint of white and marigold. But there is a certain dark glory to everything that Wang attempts, which she is why she is an important designer. 

Quite why Wang is not more lauded here is something of a mystery. The younger generation certainly seems to appreciate her more than her contemporaries.


Vera Wang spring/summer 2020 collection in New York - Vera Wang

  
A host of cool millennials sat front row: led by Zendaya, and her fashion stylists and mentor, Law Roach.
 
Such a pity then that the show was marred by several major footwear malfunctions. Wang has long tottered around Manhattan in spike five-inch heel boots. At least four of her cast couldn’t manage that balancing act today. One stumbled to the floor of the anthracite carpet; a second collapsed exiting the runway, bringing down a third model who attempted to save her.

A disappointing finale to an otherwise notable collection by one of the few New York designers with a truly distinctive fashion DNA.

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