Critics Love Kane’s Gingham, Dismiss Schwab’s Three-Tiered ‘Experiment’

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From left: Christopher Kane, Marios Schwab, and Paul Smith. Photo: Imaxtree

Christopher Kane
The critics adored Kane's innocent-yet-edgy gingham collection, which paired feminine fabrics with seductive cutouts. Suzy Menkes of the International Herald Tribune called it an "impressive statement" and "powerful on several levels." "This was a tour de force of cutting, draping, and thoughtful layering," agreed Godfrey Deeny of Fashion Wire Daily, naming it "easily the most important collection seen so far in London Fashion Week." "These were deliciously pretty milkmaids," fawned British Vogue, which particularly admired pleated, paneled skirts that presented a "clever combination of structure with fluidity." "Kane offered up a collection that was both wholesome and fierce," assessed WWD. Style.com summed up the collective sentiment, asserting, "That precision, and the whiff of something disturbing running under the charming surface of this collection, means Christopher Kane has scored yet again."

Watch a slideshow of the Christopher Kane collection.

Marios Schwab
While the critics appreciated the evident thought behind Schwab's three-tiered spring looks, most agreed that the clothes fell short in reality. "Did his rearrangements of silhouettes work beyond the drawing board? Not wholly," assessed Style.com. "Some of the torso-centered French-blind heavy satin pleating looked awkward, forced, even borderline ugly." It was a "difficult equation" to attempt, asserted Suzy Menkes of the International Herald Tribune, adding that "much of the work looked like an experiment." Many critics regretfully noted that the pieces worked well as separates: Fashion Week Daily loved the pleated satin miniskirts and WWD admired a gauzy pink dress and lilac trouser suit. But piled on in "tricky" sets of three, "the layer-cake approach detracted from their magic," WWD concluded.

Watch a slideshow of the Marios Schwab collection.

Paul Smith
Paul Smith's feel-good menswear- and African-inspired womenswear collection was generally well received by the critics. "Quintessentially English eccentricity was the order of the day," assessed British Vogue, admiring the vivid African prints paired with reserved cardigans. Fashion Week Daily appreciated how quirky details like "genius mini-ties" and "kick[y]" blue-green lipstick injected Smith's "signature dose of humor" into the collection. While Style.com allowed that the collection was "very cute and very young," it quibbled that it was difficult to see "quite what it has to do with the eccentric Englishwoman Smith has been courting." WWD disagreed, declaring that "with the designer's assured touch, this salable collection would be at home on either side of the equator." Suzy Menkes of the International Herald Tribune felt the styling was overdone ("Maybe tying cardigans around the body like bust flatteners are all the rage in the Congo. They looked weird on the catwalk."), but hailed Smith's "genius" tailoring and "joyous sense of color," concluding, "the Paul Smith look had a lively spirit."

Watch a slideshow of the Paul Smith women's collection.