Critics Praise Proenza, Oscar But Wonder About Carolina Herrera, Halston

oscar de la renta, halston, and proenza schouler
From left, Oscar de la Renta, Halston, Proenza Schouler. Photo: imaxtree.com

Proenza Schouler's fall collection delighted critics, even as they considered the clothes too unattainable for all but the designers' "socialite pals." Carolina Herrera's equestrian theme led to accusations of "costumery," Cathy Horyn is a powerful advocate for the resurrected Halston line, and Oscar de la Renta may be contemplating inaugural gowns. Our review roundup has the rest.

Proenza Schouler
The boys did it again. Proenza Schouler wowed the crowd and critics with a gorgeous collection. WWD happily noted the departure from last season's "too-safe" collection, resulting in "a lineup of not merely beautiful, but proved as provocative as it was polished." Even Cathy Horyn was moved to dole out a compliment, saying, "The clothes were impeccable to a fault." British Vogue lauded the work, observing that "it was clear that construction (and the exposure of same), was the big message here." For all the praise, the only complaint seemed to be that the collection was too beautiful and well done for the designer's customers to appreciate. "This collection had gorgeous colors and enough sequined cocktail dresses for all of the duo's socialite pals, but it was by no means their easiest to grasp, and it may turn off some of their less conceptually minded customers," Style.com said. Still, not a bad problem to have.

Browse a slideshow of the Proenza Schouler collection.
Watch a video of the Proenza Schouler collection.


Carolina Herrera
Carolina Herrera, the grande dame of Fashion Week, presented a collection with an equestrian theme and drew mixed responses from critics. WWD complained that it "approached costumery, while evoking the work of someone else." Style.com focused on the luxurious aspects of the collection, pointing out (in detail) the riding coats, capes, jackets, and vests. But not everything was made for the country. "Minus the over-the-top accessories and without the omnipresent feathers — all that fresh air can apparently go to a girl's head — most of the pieces could play in the city," Style observed. British Vogue swooned over the luxuriousness: "The effect, overall, was of an exceptionally wealthy woman with exceptionally sophisticated taste who would no sooner dress down for dinner on the farm than she would wear jeans and sneakers to the opera."

Browse a slideshow of the Carolina Herrera collection.
Watch a video of the Carolina Herrera collection.


Halston
After several attempts at revival, the iconic house was bought by Harvey Weinstein and friends last year, and Versace alum Marco Zanini presented its latest incarnation to extremely mixed reviews: Women's Wear Daily was skeptical, arguing that the designer seemed lost between the label's roots and taking it somewhere fresh: "Zanini has a long way to go before he can assume the mantle of one of America's greatest talents and make it his own," they carped. Style.com approved of the "easy separates, like boot-cut pants and long skirts with a soft swing." The smart sportswear worked in taupes and grays, but neutral gowns ranged from "dull to unpleasant." But Cathy Horyn begged to differ. She swooned over the label's relaunch, liked the neutral gowns in pastel palettes, and hailed Zanini's skill. "It says a lot that he can make every piece count and at the same time make it all look effortless," she notes. But the minimalist pieces that worked for WWD struck Fashion Wire Daily as dated, formulaic, and a "stiff homage" to Halston; the "in touch" pieces that delighted Horyn, to them, "jarred with the current zeitgeist." The "Halston grey," they argue, is the "depressing, muddy grey one sees on the shores of the North Atlantic on days when the suicide quotient tends to rise."

Browse a slideshow of the Halston collection.
Watch a video of the Halston collection.

Oscar de la Renta
Critics approved of the designer's fall collection, aimed at the girl who loves fun, luxury, and has never heard of a recession. Fashion Week Daily called it "divine"; Fashion Wire Daily praised Oscar's signature "gentile panache": full skirts, rich brocades, floral prints. The designer's classic silhouettes dominated: "a long and lean jacket in boiled cashmere over full-cut flannel pants, or a boxier jacket in a cashmere knit with a knee-length dirndl skirt in dip-dyed silk," said Style.com. Style.com also picked up on a little experimentation with a trio of high-waist silk-zibeline pants, "the most striking of which was in amethyst with a black net overlay." For evening, red-carpet gowns are "exquisitely embellished," said WWD. Looks included a sleek, graphic-gold column gown, ruffled columns in burgundy and night-sky black, and, as WWD astutely noticed, the designer "may already be thinking inauguration" with a "discreet" series of black columns.

Browse a slideshow of the Oscar de la Renta collection.
Watch a video of the Oscar de la Renta collection.