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Barbara Tfank: Delicate frocks with a vintage feel
Barbara Tfank shows lush feminine frocks fit for Betty Draper and 1st lady too at Fashion Week
By The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) ' Barbara Tfank wants to correct all those "Mad Men" references to her clothes ' after all, the designer says, "I was doing this five years before the show came on."

Point taken. But it was still hard not to imagine Betty Draper truly rocking the delicate, feminine, and yes, seemingly '60s-inflected dresses on display at her fall/winter 2012 presentation Monday in a Manhattan art gallery.

One creation in particular, a luscious pleated frock in blush embroidered jacquard with a tulip motif, seemed perfect for Betty, but also for anyone wanting to look seriously pretty and just a little retro. For evening, there was a luxurious satin-lined fox jacket with a blush skirt, an outfit that Tfank seemed particularly fond of as she wandered among her models.

Asked her goals for the collection, Tfank, whose designs have been worn a number of times by Michelle Obama, replied simply: "To find enchantment and beauty."

She was inspired, she explained, by what she called "the magic hour" ' "that moment that happens every day when the sun sets, and the lovely colors come out ' there's a lot of glow and sparkle, and a sense of joyfulness."

There was certainly joy in Tfank's own home when she turned on President Obama's recent State of the Union speech and saw Mrs. Obama enter in a shiny cobalt blue dress from her 2012 resort line. The dress won raves.

"It always comes as a great surprise," she said of the first lady's patronage. "It was a thrill to see."

One dress in the new collection seemed ideal for the first lady AND Draper: an emerald green number with cap sleeves and a balloon skirt.

But back to that "Mad Men" thing ' Tfank does not see her designs as connected to any particular time period. "They're not vintage," she said. If anything, "They're futuristic. They're an amalgam of all periods of time."

"They're clothes that you can wear in five years," she added, "and not be embarrassed."

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