Big Names are showing daily, and the critics are quick to praise or pick apart. Diane Von Furstenberg's femme-fatale look was lauded, but Max Azria’s resurrection of the Hervé Léger label was mixed. Jonathan Saunders charmed most reviewers, but not Cathy Horyn. And Donna Karan’s time-traveling collection was confusing to all but WWD.
Not content with showing two collections this week, Max Azria resurrected the iconic Hervé Léger label to mixed reviews. WWD felt he got "carried away" with the feathers and appliqué on some of the skintight dresses. Style.com agreed, saying, "Azria's simplest additions were the most successful." Fashion Week Daily, the lone voice of dissent, called the feathers "sumptuous." The most successful dresses in the collection were the show-closing minis, according to Style.com: "That was what everyone came for, and it suggested that the best way to reinvent a classic may be to not mess with it all that much."
Jonathan Saunders’s New York debut won rave reviews for his architectural construction and tailoring. "Working with pleats can get tricky, yet Saunders pulled it off," WWD observed. Style.com applauded his evening gowns, calling them "the standouts of the collection especially striking was a snug black strapless tuxedo-y gown." "Each sleek look Saunders sent down his fall runway was more paneled, slinky, and intricately pleated than the last — and we adored them all," Fashion Week Daily enthused. Saunders, it seems, can do no wrong, except in the eyes of the New York Times' Cathy Horyn. "[M]any of the outfits looked over-designed, with tabs and bits added to shoulders and sun-ray pleated panels attached to skirts," she complained. WWD disagreed: "Even the slouchy coats, embellished with exposed zippers and topped with voluminous fur hoods, looked polished."
Critics couldn't agree which era Donna Karan was referencing in this collection, but the consensus was that the clothes felt out of time. Suzy Menkes and Style.com both saw sixties British boutique Biba in the dolly-girl looks, full sleeves, and short rounded hems in granny florals. Menkes called the look both "ho-so-familiar!" and "yesterday's trend," and Style.com said "it's a shape from seasons past that doesn't seem ready for revival just yet" (while admitting that some dresses will be "a sure hit"). British Vogue, on the other hand, thought Karan was channeling Erin Fetherston, Anna Sui, and "Seventies-inspired haute hippie wear," but shared the sense of disappointment, lamenting, "where was the edgy, empowered DKNY woman we’ve come to know and love?" Finally, WWD agreed on the seventies references but found them oddly contemporary, claiming that Karan captured "the spirit of modern young women."
Diane Von Furstenberg
A surprise departure from her usual look, Diane Von Furstenberg's latest was appreciated across the board; dubbing the collection "Foreign Affair," the designer channeled thirties Berlin for a wandering femme-fatale look. It worked well for DVF, and Fashion Wire Daily went ahead and proclaimed that this was "without doubt Von Furstenberg's best collection" since her arrival in the tents, citing the slimmer silhouettes, "jaunty styling," and accessories like "taut, long leather gloves." WWD picked up on a "Dietrich fixation," with "a strong, polished aura that starts with a coat or jacket, or both, belted over layers beneath." Translation: dark and smoky sportswear, with "languid trousers" and a notable graphic jacquard jacket. Style.com praised DVF's surprise transition (the Guardian noticed there wasn't a wrap dress in sight — "big news!"). Predicting sportswear (and the forties) to be a "big New York trend," Style.com cited a flaring A-line skirt, trim cardigan, bow-front blouse, and slinky slips — the look was all about the cinched layering.