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.

Vera Wang’s European Tour

Godfrey Deeny
February 15th, 2011 @ 3:06 PM - New York

Even if it was hard to spot what Vera Wang claimed was the inspiration for her latest show - the English aristocracy's fascination with iconic American women - that still did not prevent her fall 2011 collection being a thoroughly chic statement of contemporary fashion.

Unveiled Tuesday, Feb. 15, in Lincoln Center, the custom-made tented show space that is the center of New York fashion week, the collection had all the modernist pep one associates with Wang. Models strutted out in large ergonomic platform boots of sleek leather, their torsos wrapped in quilted scuba coats or over-sized cable sweaters. Most coats had detachable fox fur linings, harnesses or peplums.

Wang has always been a savvy draper, and a series of gathered chiffon dresses with myriad accordion pleats, made in colors like pewter, mustard and cement all looked great.

Throughout there was a sense of heroine chic - suggested by cutaway jackets, shoulders with warrior goat trims or tight leather pants. These were very much clothes for active, creative women on the move, dashing about their business, in and out of cabs, limos, lofts, boutiques and galleries.

Which is why the list of women Wang claimed inspired her was so perplexing, especially two of the three women she mentioned, Viscountess Thelma Furness and Wallis Simpson, were in many ways courtesans rather than career gals. The former was a one-time lover of British King Edward VIII, who unwisely introduced her friend Simpson to the Edward, only to witness her lady pal supplant her in the king's affections.

Wang's third choice, however, was Lady Emerald Cunard, which made loads of sense. A razor sharp wit known for her cruel tongue and an unconventional hostess, Cunard would have loved this collection. Since it had all the authority, panache and hint of seductive scandal for which Cunard was famed.

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