Fashion Report Card: Loving Ralph, But Not Necessarily Rodarte

From left, Y-3, Ralph, Rodarte. Photo: Photos: imaxtree.com

Fashion Week hardly slowed down for the weekend, and the critics were indefatigable as usual. Ralph Lauren's 40th-anniversary show received universal praise, but the critics got a little crankier at Y-3, and Rodarte inspired another round of the Great Wearability Debate.

Ralph Lauren
Cue critical swooning! With a setting — Central Park's Conservancy Garden — fitting for the 40th anniversary of an icon, Ralph's rarefied audience was treated to a collection straight out of My Fair Lady. A ribbon-trimmed white gown and worn with a big hat was appropriate for the Ascot racetrack scene, commented WWD, and "impressionistic garden party gowns" added thirties-era glamour. British Vogue also picked up on a similar vibe, heralding a refined LBD in "its purest essence" worn with a huge ivory-and-black hat, that "could have been a Thirties line drawing for a luxury cruise." The garden-party looks were also a success, leaving Style.com mesmerized by colorful silk-georgette dresses and the show's closer, a "red-carpet stunner" in swagged silver chain. This gown also draws kudos from the New York Times' Cathy Horyn, who declared the look to be as "cosmopolitan as the Chrysler building itself." She also loved the "energy and sophistication" of the New York–inspired line, and applauded Lauren's witty bowlers and riding boots. The Daily also sings Ralph Lauren's praises, loving the "timeless glamour" of ruffled gowns and big polka dots on demure dresses. They also took note of new and modern equestrian-punk looks, such as fluorescent-splashed trenches, worn with black leggings and jockey hats and ties.

View a slideshow of the Ralph Lauren collection.

Rodarte
If Kate and Laura Mulleavy aren't quite down to Calvin levels of wearability, they're certainly becoming a bit more accessible. The gals were inspired by a recent trip to Japan, reflected in anime-influenced hair extensions and cartoonish, studded heels. Style.com praised the increased number of separates such as cobwebby sweaters paired with lean pants (yes: pants!), and Fashion Wire Daily noted that the ladies' interest in accessibility was good news, declaring that "nearly every single dress or soft suit" could be worn during the day or to a cocktail party. British Vogue didn't quite buy into the idea of Rodarte for Everywoman, suggesting that the sisters keep their "cartoonish, faerie princess trimmings to a minimum" — specifically, Vogue was no fan of sheer cocktail dresses that were "overly tricked out with sequins, sparkles, spangles, and feathers." This look, however, is precisely the sort of detailed craftsmanship that defines the label, countered The Daily; only when things were toned-down (such as the sequined, purple dress that opened the show) did a "more a wearable but still original direction" emerge. Horyn was uncharacteristically silent on the sisters this time around. Perhaps she was uninvited?

View a slideshow of the Rodarte collection.
Watch a video of Rodarte's show.

Y-3
WWD found the Adidas-backed line full of as "brooding clothes in intriguingly languid cuts," such as a tank worn askew with a dramatic, full skirt, and a "cloak-like sweater." Bright injections of color among the black and white kept the Y-3 collection from becoming "dark and dystopian," said Style.com, and the repeated urbanisms (such as a black Victorian skirt paired with a nylon jacket) grew "a bit monotonous." Only Freja Beha Erichsen's rockabilly look broke things up for a moment, but it was "all too brief." Ever the master of high-concept sneaker style, Yohji Yamamoto's gold high-tops were a hit with celebs like Mena Suvari and Vincent Gallo, and the high-heeled mesh ankle boots and reinvented Adidas Adilette were "classic Yamamoto," observes The Daily.

View a slideshow of the Y-3 collection.