Lifestyle

Wang explores darker side in fall collection

Designer Vera Wang says she never imagined she would be designing clothes for the Super Bowl.

It wasn't uniforms, of course, but opera singer Renee Fleming's dramatic, black-and-white gown that Wang designed. Fleming sang the national anthem at the football game Feb. 2. "I was thrilled," Wang said in an interview before displaying her fall collection on Tuesday. "She's a very dear friend, and she's also one of the greatest operatic stars in the world, and you know it's a very big honor for me to dress her for something as amazing as the Super Bowl. It was really two American icons and I think brought together in such an unusual way."

As for her runway show Tuesday, Wang said her theme was "dark romance." For her fall collection, shown for the first year in a Chelsea gallery rather than the Lincoln Center tents, Wang went to a darker color palette, featuring lots of black and charcoal, along with slightly more muted colors like pewter and bronze. Tartan was big — in coats, cloaks, skirts and jackets, and printed on lighter fabrics like chiffon, too, in blouses. There were also argyle sweaters and vests, long and roomy.

Wang said she was trying to portray "the tension of a boy meets girl — I mean tomboy and central female. There's still the play on sheer and opaque. There's a toughness, but there's still, I like to think, a sensuality. So it's all those things that have I think come to define our brand, but this time certainly I wanted to fully explore a darker sense of romance. "

That dark romance was projected best in flowing, silky items like an evening robe in a blurry floral print. The robe was paired with drawstring pants, and, for accessories, a fringe necklace wit tangled jeweled insects.

That's right, insects. They played a big role in the collection — not live ones, thankfully. One jacket bore a large printed bug on the back. In front, it said: "You Bug Me."

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