Vera Wang became a household name putting women into white dresses. But as her all-black fall 2002 collection made clear, she has a sophisticated dark side, too.

Wang's strength has always been in evening wear, and her fall collection was a kind of historical survey of luxurious glamour. There were Victorian touches, including handwork-intensive details like pintucking and beading, high-necked furry capelets, and corset references. The Thirties were referenced via bias-cut silk charmeuse or an occasional flurry of ostrich feather decoration. A fitted, quilted top that Wang called a "fencing jacket" paired with a matching mini looked distinctly 60s-era Mod, and one knee-grazing dress sported a shades-of-the-Eighties pouf. There were also plenty of skin-baring separates like a chiffon halter over lacy boot-cut trousers, which were thoroughly up-to-the-minute.

Wang has been on a roll this year, publishing a book about weddings as well as launching her first fragrance in a bid to expand her business. But this collection makes it clear that she's still got a firm grip on her first priority: beautiful clothes for gala-filled lives.