Oh, this is entirely too much fun. For the several moments before a Vera Wang show, one endures the constant and overly eager yammering of young women in their early- to mid-twenties talking about how much they love Vera Wang and how they’re going to wear Vera Wang at their wedding or they’re just not  going to get married at all. Then, the lights dim, the music comes up, and the first model down the runway is wearing … black. So is the next one, and the next, and the one after that. This is one Vera Wang collection that is so dark and moody as to cause one person to comment, “Maybe someone dumped her.” I struggled to fight back my own laughter.

What Vera Wang has done with this collection is remind us that she does something other than bridal gowns. While there is a floral motif going, if one gets close enough to work at the delicious black on black embroidery going on with several of the pieces, what Ms. Wang has done is introduce some serious edginess to her ready-to-wear collection. Emphasizing that the mood here was not all cheerful and happy was the dark purple-based super smokey eye shadow that gave the models almost a zombified look as they came down the runway. Blown out hair helped the effect as well.

Getting past the emotional factor, silhouettes in this collection run the gamut. There are several very tightly composed suits with broad lapels and trench coat effects to them. There are also cute little dresses with upper arm cuffs and sheer beaded overlays, some very practical pants suits, and even a baby doll in the mix. Each of these is infused with the Wang sense of luxury, attention to detail, and impeccable styling. Running counter to the stated trend of the season, hem lines actually run rather short, a good three to four inches above the knee. There’s a strange if not uncomfortable sense of brooding sexiness to the daywear and the fact that there are belts on almost all the daywear pieces was a bit unnerving.

The palette lightens up just a bit as Ms. Wang moves into the more formal section of the presentation, but even here we still don’t see anything remotely approaching what one would traditionally consider appropriate for a wedding gown. Instead, what we get are an array of delightful floral pieces in dark  greens and light blues that almost look as though they’d be more at home at a summer music festival than a wedding ceremony if it weren’t for the fact one would have to be somewhat insane to wear Vera Wang out on the dusty playa. Long, flowing, and looking as though they’d be super comfortable, one might be tempted to think the Vera Wang label was sewn into them by mistake. Ms. Wang tolerates the color for only so long, though, before she returns to solid black for the last few gowns. I suppose the last piece might hold some stylistic similarities to a wedding gown, and I have known more than a few couples who had all black weddings held on Halloween, but I rather doubt that’s a market Ms. Wang is looking to mine.

Make no mistake, this is a marvelously creative and beautiful and possibly even romantic (maybe) collection from Vera Wang. Be quite certain, though, that this is ready-to-wear. If you’re looking for bridal, go somewhere else.

Photo credit: Fabio Ion

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