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Vera Wang: Medieval Modern

Renata Espinosa
February 20th, 2009 @ 5:38 PM - New York

In a week filled with designers doing literal interpretations of the past – the ‘80s being one of the most prominent – it was refreshing to see Vera Wang’s Fall 2009 intimate runway show at her downtown boutique on Thursday morning, Feb. 19, where no such literalism could be found.

Wang’s references this season - Fortuny’s pleating, Venice and modern art courtesy of famed collector Peggy Guggenheim - took a more abstract, atmospheric turn in collection that felt undeniably like classic Wang but with a keen interest in making it look like something new.

Wang described it post-show as “modern medieval,” and this meant techno fabrics and modern architectural silhouettes combined with the romance of old world Venice through soft organzas and the illusion of Fortuny pleating vis-à-vis sewn strips of fabric that created a bib effect on some of the dresses.

Wang used scuba suit fabrics to create stunning volumes in skirts that looked like puffed origami balloons, as well as in jackets that seemed to float of their own accord off the body. She also used the scuba material to craft corset belts, which she slipped over some of the more floaty blouses and dresses to give shape to the waist. Or, Wang proposed, you could dispense with that and wear everything loose.

“That’s modernity,” she said. “You can do whatever you want with it.”

There was less of Wang’s signature layering and blending with transparent colors, but she did make a nod towards painting with a few “t-shirt” dresses with abstract blocks of colorful sequins.

The tightly edited, yet diverse collection meant that Wang could custom match each look with the model she cast, depending on “what we thought looked most beautiful on her,” she said, and the same will be true for her customers.

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