Driving up Sixth Avenue last night I passed the gargantuan windows of David's Bridals, the emporium for all things (cut-rate) matrimonial, and saw a group of impressive gowns and life sized posters of Vera Wang. It appears she has yet another new license making her sought after wedding gowns for the masses. They looked really very good and I commented to my companion that I can't understand the disconnect between the chicness of her bridal with the labored, monotony of her collection. There was a day when her clothes were some of the most sought after in Saks, Barneys, Neiman's, you name it. The dresses and gowns were so chic, so cool, so glamorous. Hollywood was in a swoon over her and her work. Then she started to reference her closet and her fascination with all things deconstructed got the better of her. Holly Hunt was the last girl standing off to the side of fewer and fewer red carpets until there were almost no sightings at all. I've wondered why she squandered such a key position to make clothes that have lost their power, their focus, their way.
This season her collection which is all pleats, the same body long, short, sleeved or not, and almost all under a ubiquitous parka in shades that run the gamut from A to B. Vera's inspiration are influential great ladies of the 30's, namely Wallis Simpson, Thelma Furness and Emerald Cunard. Other than a few pleated chemise dresses with drop waists and the lines of tea dresses from the teens and twenties, I found little connection to these adventuresses of a bygone era. Emerald was an inveterate social climber and party throwing confidant of English cafe society. The other two were arrivistes who busied themselves wrecking homes and toppling monarchies. Unless Ms. Wang is rewriting history like Madonna is with her film project on the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, there's not much visible connection between a parka covered chiffon slip and the uptight Mainbocher wardrobe of the real Wallis at that time. There were some great shoes on her runway along with a fantastic shade of inky grey in a couple of looks but that wasn't enough to break up the monotony of a show whose clothes struck one sustained note.