Kors’s Simplicity and Lim’s Glam Embellishments Divide the Critics

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Michael Kors, Oscar de la Renta, and 3.1 phillip lim. Photo: Imaxtree

Michael Kors
The critics disagreed on the success of Michael Kors's pared-down, architectural collection. WWD saw "plenty of prettiness" and felt Kors's take on sharp lines and strong shoulders was a "breath of fresh air." British Vogue loved the pastel prints (which Cathy Horyn of the Times likened to an ink-cartridge explosion), asserting that he "used painterly touches ... to lovely effect." There were a few misses in the collection, like the slashed cashmere sweaters (Style.com called them "off-key") and the crinkled taffeta skirts ("somewhat dowdy," shrugged Fashion Wire Daily). Horyn was disappointed, asking, "Is this as good as Mr. Kors can do?" But most appreciated the purposeful simplicity of the lineup. The Wall Street Journal deemed the collection "eminently wearable" and Fashion Wire Daily admired its "accessible polish." And though Suzy Menkes of the International Herald Tribune allowed that "there was not much depth" to the looks, she was pleased with the effort overall: "[H]ere is a designer who makes a clear, clean statement."

Watch a slideshow of the Michael Kors collection.

Oscar de la Renta
The critics fawned over Oscar de la Renta's sophisticated, effortlessly elegant show. WWD declared it "Oscar de la Renta at his best." "Mr. de la Renta delivered the clothes of a real pro," lauded Cathy Horyn of the Times. "Virtually every garment held your interest." British Vogue heralded the collection as "a study in elegance," and Fashion Wire Daily deemed it an "impressive, options-packed tour de force." In a week packed with dangerously short minidresses, Suzy Menkes of the International Herald Tribune noted that De La Renta's cocktail dresses, which hit just above the knee, had the "impeccable drape and finish of a master." (Fashion Wire Daily agreed: "[Y]ou could tell these looks would flatter a 'normal' woman's body.") The standouts were the elaborate evening gowns, "fit for a queen or any socialite," as The Wall Street Journal put it. In the end, "[t]he house put out a carnival of breathtaking embroidered looks ... all presented with a masterful virtuosity and grace," concluded Fashion Week Daily.

Watch a slideshow of the Oscar de la Renta collection.

3.1 phillip lim
Though the critics grappled with the showier elements of the 3.1 phillip lim collection, most agreed that the clothes would please the label's loyal customers. The embellished frocks and demure trenches were "the kind of thing you would picture on Gossip Girl's uptown princess Blair Waldorf," ventured The Wall Street Journal. British Vogue called it a "delightfully modern, exceptionally detailed" lineup, admiring the feminine, fanciful clothes. Several critics felt that a few of the beaded, intricate dresses were a bit over the top — perhaps an attempt to attract more celebrity clients. "They just seemed too complicated for the casual glamour the designer was seeking," assessed Suzy Menkes of the International Herald Tribune. Style.com agreed that there were "perhaps a few too many" elements adorning the dresses, surveying the array of pleats, leather, and sequins. Noting similarities between previous Rodarte and Prada collections, WWD "couldn't shake the feeling that we'd been there, done that." Still, it was a crowd-pleasing show. "This was a collection to sell, sell, sell, no matter what the prevailing wisdom," concluded Style.com.

Watch a slideshow of the 3.1 phillip lim collection.