Feb 15, 2012
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Vera Wang explores yin and yang at NY fashion week

Feb 15, 2012

Feather-light layers of organza and chiffon spilling over Bermuda shorts? It sounds like an odd combination, but Vera Wang pulled it off with panache Tuesday at New York fashion week.

A model presents an outfit during the Vera Wang show (Photo: AFP, Stan Honda)

Wang, a native New Yorker whose wedding gowns are coveted by brides-to-be, celebrated the polar opposites of yin and yang with a structured yet feminine collection of 39 ready-to-wear looks for next fall and winter.

Her "techno-stretch" Bermuda shorts, resembling cycling shorts to the layman's eye, appeared under light tan Melton wool coats and jackets, tangerine chiffon V-neck gowns, and dark silk cape tops with necks enveloped in raccoon.

Models present outfits at the end of the Vera Wang show (Photo: AFP, Stan Honda)

Backstage, Wang cited Gothic cathedrals as a design influence, as she described how decorative elements had been carefully cut as part of each garment rather than just being "slapped on" afterwards.

"We always like tension," she told AFP, referring to her team. "I like a boyishness next to something sensual. I like transparency next to something strict. I like the mix. It's that tension that makes it fashion for me."

Wang matched each outfit with uncompromisingly chunky platform shoes, while Paul Hanlon for the French hair stylist Frederic Fekkai gave each of the models a rigid, blown-back jetstream hairstyle.

Just its time for its ambitious multicountry expansion overseas, US brand J. Crew -- a favorite of First Lady Michelle Obama -- presented a colorful range of separates in custom-dyed Italian cashmere.

A model poses on the runway at the J.Crew Fall 2012 Presentation (Photo: AFP/Getty Images, Dario Cantatore)

Eye catchers included a preppy pullover tucked into a snakeskin pencil skirt, a glittering cable-knit sweater, and a bold orange smock dress that an Asian model jazzed up even more with her own radiant smile.

Layers of wool defined J. Crew's fall-winter menswear, so it came as no surprise when the label's chief men's designer Frank Muytjens cited old photos of Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton as a source of inspiration.

"I think it's great to look at historical references," said Muytjens, a Dutchman now living in Brooklyn and a key figure in J. Crew's efforts to offer shoppers more style and color in otherwise Gap-dominated retail malls.

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