"You Bug Me." That was the message stamped across a black
T-shirt that came marching out over a plaid button-down and a long black leather skirt. Why the attitude? Because Vera Wang, wedding dresser to the stars, has gone grunge. Stranger things have happened on a runway, but that tee definitely qualified as a surprise. To everyone, perhaps, except Wang. "People think of me for romance," she said backstage. "But there's always the old references to what our brand stands for. There's a tomboy, male energy mixed in with a sensuality."
That somewhat silly T-shirt aside, the mix that she was talking about made for a diverse, lively Fall offering. Whereas last season she seemed to be stuck in one gear—gossamer sport, let's call it—here she delved into different categories: wool tartan tailoring, tough-chic black leather, floral chiné, pj's dressing, metallic lamés for cocktail hour. Her chunky ribbed knits and argyle sweaters were as good-looking as any we've seen this week.
Of course, grunge isn't the newest idea on the block. Everyone from Dries Van Noten to Hedi Slimane has done his or her own riffs recently. Although Wang's collection looked a little too close to the Belgian's for comfort at times, there were moments that were identifiably her own. A silvery fine-gauge tank and black stretch lamé mermaid skirt, worn with a man's overcoat falling loosely off one shoulder, was an outfit that tapped into Wang's special ability to make a woman look dressed down while being quite fabulously dressed up.