Three days down, five to go, and the critics are starting to weigh in on fall 2008's first runways: BCBG is finally outgrowing its prom-queen reputation, while Rag & Bone is living up to its CFDA-friendly one. Yigal Azrouël's tougher look went over well, and it seems that Alexander Wang is still one to watch. Let's check out the critical warm fuzzies, shall we?
BCBG Max Azria
Was this the year BCBG went business chic? Delicate grays, creams, and tones of café au lait highlighted a mostly subtle and subdued collection, and Style.com praised the brand's grown-up evolution from a "girl into a woman." "Katharine Hepburn–style tailoring" and cinched waists gave edge to soigné silhouettes, as did trapunto seaming and cartridge pleats. Fashion Wire Daily also picked up on the Katharine Hepburn vibe radiating from wide-legged pants; a short jacket with puffed shoulders "added a romantic, feminine twist to the menswear-inspired looks." Other standout looks included a gray hammered-silk satin dress and a cream silk-crepe dress. Women's Wear Daily applauded the latter two efforts, noting that when "they showed restraint, the gentle pintucking and slim silhouettes worked well." Fashion Week Daily adored the distressed-leather belts, which they noted were the show's only hint of edge. Style.com did notice that the traditional girlishness that's a "necessary component" of the label's identity emerged in fun minidresses of colored satin and pleated silk crepe, though Fashion Wire Daily found the party looks "dated."
Rag & Bone
Sharp and smart, the Rag & Bone collection was a Blade Runner–meets-the-forties effort, resulting in a strong-shouldered, military-inspired look with what Fashion Week Daily thought were "tough skinny pants." Style.com seconded the regimental sentiment, "be it in a charcoal greatcoat or a black toggle jacket with an imposingly high collar." But that "swagger" was softened by jersey jodhpurs or leggings. British Vogue praised the collection as "polished to perfection" and picked up on herringbone hunting vests and razor-sharp suits, noting that ladies would be "wooed" by a "discreetly sexy" curve-hugging dress with black seams and a film-noir feel. The collection wasn't all about knockout tailoring; Women's Wear Daily called the line's new foray into cashmere knits "stellar" and praised the "requisite black leather," particularly an "ultracool tunic dress."
View a slideshow of the Rag & Bone collection.
Yigal Azrouël surprised critics with a moodier, grown-up show, swapping the laid-back attitude of his spring show for "a bit of New York attitude," noted Style.com. Women's Wear Daily pointed out that the "cool city-chick basics" were covered, and Fashionista.com raved about the gorgeous collection, saying they wished they could wear it every day. Style.com favored the pieces that didn't try too hard — the "draped and suspended pieces that didn't look like they were trying to 'be' anything." And WWD lauded the designer's cocktail dresses and sculptural looks for pushing things forward.
View a slideshow of the Yigal Azrouël collection.
Last season, Alexander Wang was the show to go to. But could the young designer prove that he was more than "just a flash in the pan?" Women's Wear wondered. In their opinion, his fall collection was "a step in the right direction." Wang juxtaposed masculine and feminine tailoring, "producing a slew of great pieces on both sides of the divide," Style.com said. Fashionologie.com noted that the influence of Wang's stylist and muse, Erin Wasson, infused this collection more than the previous one, pointing out her obvious contributions: the black leather, biker boots, zippers, and hanging chains. Though Style.com liked the satin tuxedo, it was Wang's bag collection that truly won raves: "His ten-piece collection of slouchy washed-leather bags was a welcome development, however, and one that Wang's army of enthusiasts is guaranteed to adore."