new york autumn winter 07/08

Vera Wang
by Marilyn Kirschner | photographed by Yannis Vlamos

Vera Wang admitted her inspiration was "early 20th century Russia and the drama, determination, decadence of its people"...."a story about survival". The poetic, romanticized and beautifully executed fall vision, was all about going to extremes, mixing day and night, masculine and feminine, hard and soft, primitive and sophisticated and achieving the look of "throwaway elegance."

To this end, she offhandedly mixed military uniforms, primitive shapes, and opulent decorations which played out in a typically somber, mousey color palette (brown, black, khaki, forest green, olive, charcoal, navy, and gold). The way Vera sees it, "grey is the new black and camel is the new grey". There was nary a bright color shown with the exception of one red babushka which was shown with a beaded evening dress (Vera used oversized babushkas to cover the heads of many of the models). Heavy felt, felted wool, faille, stiffened taffeta, double face gabardine were selected for their weight and structure and padded hems and peplums (used in taffeta fencing jackets) created volume and defined shape. The precision tailoring inherent within military uniforms was seen throughout. The amount of layering was dizzying.

It was opulent and deconstructed at the same time. Vera used rugged boots in brown leather—some flat, some on a thick heel, to balance the couture like coats and jackets in matte leather, rawhide, and crocodile. Jeweled medallions embellished the heels and calves of some. Felt necklaces accessorized faille tunics, and sheath dresses in double face gabardine had crystal necklaces. There was a lot of shimmer and shine which came in the form of Russian inspired bronze and gold bullion embroidery. Vintage inspired Russian insignia military buckles were added to distressed leather and crocodile belts and embroidered paillettes decorated dresses which were then covered with net.

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