The shows are in full swing, and the critics are weighing in. We'll be compiling the general consensus throughout the week.
Adam Lippes unleashed a vivid collection of eye candy inspired by MoMA’s "Color Chart" exhibition last spring. “Think jellybean explosion on Easter morning,” the Associated Press elaborated. Most critics admired a colorful, beaded stunner of a dress and a knit tank that was embroidered with multicolored discs meant to imitate Smarties candy. British Vogue claimed that “the real deliciousness came through in bright sporty separates,” and Style.com added that the designer “was at his best when he kept it bright and uncomplicated.” Fashion Week Daily was least impressed, finding the collection “disparate and unconnected,” and Style.com grappled with “some distracting straps and buckles,” but the playful display pleased the majority of critics. Concluded WWD, “Overall, the collection was as upbeat and interesting as it was wearable.”
Donna Karan presented a slick, polished lineup that drew heavily on the eighties and paid homage to New York. “If you squinted your eyes, you probably would have thought that you'd travelled back in time,” offered Fashion Wire Daily, as Karan took a spin through her greatest hits: “Jumpsuits? Check. Boyfriend blazers? Check. Oversized jeans, stripey tees, rompers, trench coats and anoraks? Check, check, check,” ticked off British Vogue. Fashion Wire Daily praised the “timelessness to Donna Karan’s easy urban sportswear,” a look the Associated Press described as “minis and jumpsuits for the next generation.” But Style.com thought the collection lacked cohesiveness, grousing that “all the mix-and-match soon became fashion mayhem, with too many ideas on display.” AP ventured that if the line was viewed as a representation of the frenzy of New York City, then “the anorak dresses, parachute flight suits and even rompers seemed to make sense.” In the end, after the finale’s parade of “adorably pointless children,” the reviewers were divided: WWD praised the clothing but felt the overall collection was “lacking a sense of celebration,” while British Vogue countered, “It was a truly uplifting show.”
Watch a slideshow of the DKNY collection.
Shipley & Halmos
Critics were mostly underwhelmed by Shipley & Halmos’s latest collection, one that spanned “from retro lady-land with Katharine Hepburn-esque trousers to tough-chic hipsterville,” according to Style.com. British Vogue called the display “more than a little unfocused,” and Style.com agreed, “it was difficult to pull out an exact direction that these clothes were headed in.” WWD preferred the duo’s traditional “casual-cool separates and great men’s wear” to their latest attempts at “fussy” satin and silk jersey frocks. Fashion Week Daily was a lone dissenter, calling the collection “confident” and declaring that “the line's women's wear was stronger than ever before.” British Vogue was bored to sarcasm by the color palette (“Navy, cream and black? Really?”) and amusingly likened an open-weave black sweater to “something you might see [in] an International Male catalogue.” Style.com groused that they longed to see more “life and personality in their clothes.” But British Vogue delivered the final blow, snarking: “All told, the most interesting things seen on this runway were the neon backdrop and the dramatic pink eye makeup worn by the female models.”
Diane Von Furstenberg
Diane Von Furstenberg’s bohemian “Rock Goddess” collection impressed most critics, though “‘Flower Child’ might’ve been a more apt title” for the breezy collection of dresses, suggested Style.com. “Her look was much more Stevie Nicks than Sid Vicious,” agreed the Associated Press. Whatever the inspiration, the floral details, sequined accents, and sheer, colorful fabrics delighted most: “They were fun, flirty, and … impossible to ignore,” WWD proclaimed, and British Vogue particularly loved the feathers and flowers adorning models’ hair. WWD worried that Furstenberg’s “working girl” might feel a bit left out in the sea of flower-child garb, but Style.com countered, “Should von Furstenberg's hippie chick long for a touch of glam — a subject with which the designer is on intimate terms — there was a gold jacket and tuxedo shorts.” But amid a flurry of mostly positive reviews, Godfrey Deeny of Fashion Wire Daily roundly dismissed the show as a “hackneyed mélange, an odd mish mash of overwrought prints used in rather formulaic pieces of apparel,” calling it Von Furstenberg’s least distinguished collection this century. Deeny associated one “particularly drab ensemble” with a “Mid Western trade fair,” and concluded that the showing “may have won the designer cheers from those standing at the back, but perplexed grimaces from most front row critics.” Ouch.
Watch a slideshow of the Diane Von Furstenberg collection.
The critics fawned over Yigal Azrouël’s “rumpled, nonchalant” spring collection. Fashion Week Daily praised his washed, worn-in dresses, declaring, “You feel like you’ve already worn them before even putting them on.” Style.com echoed the sentiment, noting that the ensembles “look like they could have been nicked from the models’ own closets.” British Vogue called the collection “a study on warm weather seduction, downtown artiste style” and lusted after a “wonderfully austere black pleated gown that had a prim, almost Victorian elegance.” Many reviewers praised the array of slouchy pants and leather jackets. There were a few missteps in the collection — Style.com felt that Azrouël’s experiments in draping, ruffled eveningwear “fell a bit flat,” and WWD noted “some awkward moments in drab sack dresses and tricky high-waisted pants” — but in the end, most were charmed by the “unpretentious ease of [Azrouël’s] singular brand of wash-and-wear.”
Watch a slideshow and video of the Yigal Azrouël collection.