Success for Saunders, Ambivalence About Léger, and Kudos for Carolina

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The shows are now operating in high gear, meaning that the critics are too. We'll be compiling their reviews throughout the week.

Jonathan Saunders
Jonathan Saunders’s collection of voluminous skirts, colorful gowns, and bright, fitted jackets “played like a parade of pretty, playful majorettes,” lauded WWD. Cathy Horyn of the New York Times found the display “thoughtful as well as eye catching.” Suzy Menkes of the International Herald Tribune allowed that the collection was “arresting,” but quibbled that it seemed “slightly labored,” though Style.com countered that the clothes “looked as if they came easily to him.” A few reviewers noted that the elaborate skirts verged on over-the-top at times (“you couldn’t exactly call these office clothes,” griped Style.com), but most praised the playful silhouette. Fashion Week Daily fawned, “The palette was intelligent, the patterns seemed fresh, tailoring was impeccable, and Saunders succeeded once again.”

Watch a slideshow of the Jonathan Saunders collection.

Hervé Léger
Critics were divided on whether this collection of the familiar form-fitting bandage dresses blazed new territory or fell back on a tried-and-true staple. “How many ways can you work a bandage dress?” WWD asked, while Fashion Wire Daily yawned, “There were no surprises this season.” But Fashion Week Daily asserted that Azria “took the bandage dress and pushed forward,” and British Vogue commended his decision to “hone in on the skin-tight bombshell-effect,” which “hit the mark.” Most praised the collection’s geometric color-blocking, and the introduction of super-skimpy swimwear — which British Vogue felt “evoked a feeling of female power and dominance” — turned heads. It’s likely that all attendees would agree with Style.com’s summation, describing the show as “sex on heels.”

Watch a slideshow and video of the Hervé Léger collection.

Carolina Herrera
Carolina Herrera presented an unabashedly romantic collection that was “all about petals, ruffles, and tweed.” Reviewers praised the vibrant lineup that offered “enough dresses for a season’s worth of dinners, art openings, and galas,” according to Style.com. Sarah Critchell of the Associated Press felt the collection “alternated between crisp simplicity and ethereal femininity,” and Cathy Horyn of the New York Times concurred that Herrera “effectively combined masculine tailoring … and feminine flounces.” British Vogue loved the black raffia suits — very structured, very tough luxe and very, very chic” — and WWD admired a silk shirt and pants pairing, prodding, “Who says the classics can’t be special, too?” Critchell ventured that a handful of elaborately beaded gowns “seemed a little out of step” during tough economic times, but ultimately felt the show imparted “feelings of civility, sophistication, and luxury.”

Watch a slideshow and video of the Carolina Herrera collection.

Isaac Mizrahi
“Swarm,” Isaac Mizrahi’s insect-themed collection, received mostly positive reviews liberally peppered with bug metaphors. The experimental lighting was distracting for some (“fancy,” WWD offered; “bizarre,” grumbled Style.com) during what British Vogue called “a streamlined display of sophistication and cosmopolitan designs.” Cathy Horyn of the New York Times felt the collection was overblown, asserting that the clothes “wouldn’t spark appreciation or desire except among connoisseurs,” but British Vogue predicted that a “flawless” green coat dress “is sure to be highly coveted,” and Sarah Critchell of the Associated Press admired a white “beetlebride” gown. Sequined “glamourpiller” and “glitterpiller” dresses were obvious standouts. Despite occasional missteps — neon Lycra shorts, exposed shoulder pads, “shapeless, unfortunate dresses named pupas” — “[Mizrahi] more than made up for them with an overall mood of polished pizzazz,” concluded WWD.

Watch a slideshow and video of the Isaac Mizrahi collection.