The parka, that high-fashion yet functional item, has a legion of proponents, both established and emerging, this New York fashion week. Vera Wang was the latest designer to warm up to the idea. Naturally, her parkas came luxe, with fox either lining the inside or decorating the outside of jackets. And, naturally, they came in black. After last season's painterly florals and bright pops of red, Wang returned to her more usual subdued palette for Fall. And like many of her peers, she preferred to pair her parkas and vests with pieces of a more delicate persuasion—chiffon dresses mostly, or chiffon tops paired with skinny wool flannel pants made feminine by swags of knife-pleated fabric hanging from either hip.

Pleats were the collection's other dominant motif. Wang showed pleated dresses for day and night in a variety of styles: short and long, shoulder- and décolletage-revealing, or high-necked and long-sleeved. She name-checked glamorous Americans of the 1930's in her show notes, specifically Viscountess Thelma Furness, Lady Emerald Cunard, and Duchess of Windsor Wallis Simpson, all of whom might've worn Fortuny's famous, finely pleated tea gowns in their day. Wang is clearly trying out a new direction—there was no jewelry and no clusters of crystal and tulle in today's show. But with all the focus on just two big ideas, you eventually missed the richness of some of this designer's former outings.