NEW YORK, N.Y. - Vera Wang says she looked back — way back — for her spring collection, recalling the 18th century in France.
The white gravel covering the floor at her runway show in a Chelsea gallery was there to evoke the same gravel at the Tuileries Gardens in Paris, and her sumptuous garments to evoke thoughts of Marie Antoinette and Versailles (in early, happy times, of course.)
Intricate "passementiere" — trims and braids — embellished the backs of sleek black jackets, like an oversized black wool twill blazer, or dresses, like a wool twill camisole dress, which also featured fabric-covered sequin flowers and a ruffled hem. There were luxurious floral brocades, for example in a navy-and-gold bib neck "trapeze top," fitted at the bust and then flaring out, and paired with a pleated skirt in a blush brocade.
With the tight tailoring, "you have a sense of a woman who went for a great deal of control," she said.
There were also a series of extravagantly beaded garments, embedded with shiny Swarovski crystals in sapphire or rose — meant, Wang said, to evoke the luxury of her French inspiration. And then, a series of loose, flowing garments — like period dressing gowns, meant to show a tension with the tightly tailored outer-garments.
In all her clothes, Wang said, she tried to infuse techniques from her famous bridal line into everyday wear — with the pleats, the ruffles, the beading, and the ruching, among other things. "This time I felt it was fun to delve into that treasure trove," she said.