Fashion Week Report Card: All-American Edition

From left: Anna Sui, Michael Kors, Narciso Rodriguez. Photo: Photographs by FirstView

The latest bunch of designers to walk were the epitome of New York style: Anna Sui's rocker chic, Narciso Rodriguez's minimalism, and Michael Kors's all-American looks. We round up the critics' reviews of the key New York collections so far. Did they keep their status as the best in show? Or did Kors's Flashdance collection fail to impress? Rodriguez captured the critics' hearts while Behnaz Sarafpour, well, did not.

Behnaz Sarafpour
Behnaz Sarafpour, who's about to become far more well known with her new Target Go International collection, sent out designs inspired by Charles and Ray Eames: graphic prints and a mod styling. Although her play on volume (WWD) was pretty, the styling of the looks was off (Style.com). Her black-and-white color scheme was a hit (British Vogue), and the textures added interesting dimensions. However, a little more subtlety would do her well. (Style.com). Her collection was cute and fun but not terribly impressive.

Betsey Johnson
Betsey Johnson's spring collection, which celebrated the birth of her granddaughter, was themed to match all those things about little girls: sugar and spice and everything nice (WWD). Bows, puff sleeves, jumpers, all in colors befitting a newborn — pinks, lilacs, whites and more — were the bulk of the collection (FWD). But Johnson also included some not-so-girlish looks with sheaths and short shorts. The critics loved the collection, calling it: Betsey at her best (WWD).

Anna Sui
Pirates! Punks! Versailles! Anna Sui's show had it all, with fishnets and frocks and crinoline and lace. But this "was no costume drama" (WWD). Sui tempered the pretty looks with some punk attitude (FWD), piling on chunky jewelry by Erickson Beamon. She stayed on trend with the season's key looks (Style.com) — whites, full skirts, and prints. Although Sui may have shown her typical rock-and-roll style, her "softer side" peeked through (FWD), to the delight of critics.

Narciso Rodriguez
The king of minimalism did it again: Narciso Rodriguez wowed editors with another modern collection. Eschewing the trends of the tents, the designer instead drew inspiration from Thomas Ruff's photographs. The result: "sexy clothes" with a "harder edge" (Cathy Horyn.) Rodriguez also used "futuristic fabrics" (Suzy Menkes) like black carbon fiber, achieving an "elegantly new" look (FWD). Although his tailoring was criticized for being "austere and tricky," (WWD), Rodriguez has, as Horyn noted, "more talent in his eyeballs than just about any other designer." Chalk up another win for the designer.

Michael Kors
Michael Kors had one thing on his mind this season: dancing. His collection was full of Flashdance-inspired pieces (Style.com) and could easily double as dancer's wardrobe. He layered knits and paired blazers with leggings (WWD), but it didn't "get your motor running" (Horyn). The eighties theme (Style.com) continued, with belted blazers, swimwear, and dresses. The show picked up toward the end, when Kors sent out little tops and python minis. His cardigans and pullovers won the most raves and "all but stole the show" (WWD).