Vera Wang may be in talks with St. John to become its creative director, but for now she's keeping any ideas she might have for commercial knit dressing under wraps. Her fall show, inspired as it was by Mark Rothko, was a decidedly artsy affair, with riffs on the abstract expressionist's color-block paintings showing up in interesting ways on the designer's silk chiffon dresses.

The moody palette aside, this was more or less a typically feminine Wang collection. Witness all the decorative details, from taffeta and tulle corsages to swags of rhinestones. In a couple of intriguing instances—a wool gabardine jacket with raw edges, a pea coat with exposed seams—she did venture out of her usual comfort zone to explore more-masculine elements. She soon returned to her dressed-up sensibility, though. Among the show's standouts were a metallic-blue floral-brocade cardigan with coordinating trapeze dress, and an iridescent rose chiffon gown that was layered over a deeper-red slip to create its own Rothko effect. If the presentation occasionally felt repetitive, it's nothing that a sharper edit couldn't fix.