Vera Wang pre-fall 2012

NEW YORK, December 12, 2011
By Nicole Phelps on Style.com
Vera Wang name-checked Jane Birkin and Yves Saint Laurent circa the late 1960's at her pre-fall presentation, but the influences weren't all that literal. On the one hand, she was interested in the offhand way that Birkin wore, say, a Paco Rabanne chain-mail dress in the same manner as a boy might toss on a dusty old T-shirt. And on the other hand, she was turned on by YSL's predilection for putting women in pantsuits and tuxedos. Not unlike on her Spring runway, many of Wang's looks featured a tailored coat or jacket and a short, wispy dress. And we do mean short. The micro hemlines of shifts were balanced here by ribbed socks that sometimes extended over the knee or by thick rib-knit shorts that gave the collection a sporty undertone.

When Wang wasn't tossing boleros or vests over dresses, she was layering them with sweaters for that boy-girl feeling. A bubble-skirted frock in a colorful kaleidoscope print and a cropped cardigan buttoned up the back rather than the front was among the collection's most striking pairings, second only to a bias-cut, cowl-neck dress in the same print topped by a charcoal wool car coat. For the most part, though, the designer's evening numbers were all woman. Their bold colors and stretchy silk charmeuse fabrics should serve Wang well with awards season around the corner.

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