Critics Covet Burberry’s Coats; Pout Over Saunders’s Subdued Prints

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From left: Burberry, Jonathan Saunders, Christopher Kane. Photo: Imaxtree

Wrapping up London Fashion Week, the final reviews rolled in. The critics adored Christopher Bailey's aviator-inspired coats for Burberry. Jonathan Saunders's muted collection disappointed some who longed for more striking prints. And Christopher Kane's ultracompact lineup of leather, lace, and embroidered dresses earned praise — though it was a bit too focused for some. Read the rest of the reactions from London.

Burberry Prorsum
The critics lusted after Christopher Bailey's aviator-inspired coats. Suzy Menkes of the International Herald Tribune called it "good strong stuff," with clothes that looked "young, easy, and desirable." WWD admired a "Swinging London attitude," as models strutted down the runway with "sexiness and nonchalance." Style.com praised Bailey's creative plays on volume, declaring that he "nailed it from the point of view of proportion — oversize and cropped — and practicality." British Vogue similarly swooned over the collection's "hugely covetable pieces," and added that the lace minidresses "cleverly lightened" the heaviness of the sheepskin coats. On that point, Cathy Horyn of the Times disagreed, asserting that "the underpinnings ... while good-looking in parts ... seemed designed less to seduce than to serve the military jackets." But no matter — the outerwear was "especially strong." Style.com summed up the general opinion best: "Every single one of his giant-collared shearlings, military-drab overcoats and parkas ... was utterly desirable."

Watch a slideshow of the Burberry collection.

Jonathan Saunders
The critics disagreed on the success of Jonathan Saunders's muted fall collection. The designer "went back to his roots in textiles, with big graphic prints," noted The Wall Street Journal, deeming the effect "modern, sporty, and stark." WWD called it a "fresh and youthful collection," one that "let the artsy details do the talking," like hand-painted prints. (Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal admired the bustier tops, which added "a subversive sexiness.") And though British Vogue asserted that the collection was "delicate in mood but it had a strong attitude," other critics were left wanting more. "[T]his master of print took a timid approach," noted Suzy Menkes of the International Herald Tribune, resulting in a collection that "missed the 'oomph!' that has come in the past." Likewise, Style.com mourned his subdued color palette. "[W]hat had become of the long dresses printed in vibrant colors Saunders used to do so well?" it asked. While many felt the geographic prints were fresh and modern, others came to Style.com's conclusion: "[I]t was a disappointment that he passed up the chance to further develop a look he's so good at."

Watch a slideshow of the Jonathan Saunders collection.

Christopher Kane
Christopher Kane's vivid leather-and-lace collection earned tentatively positive reviews. The contrast of floral embroidery and black leather panels was deemed "prim and perverted," and "sweetly subversive." British Vogue asserted that the dresses "will be recognised as iconic keystones in his creative journey," and the International Herald Tribune thought the show "looked like an instant hit for London's High Street stores." WWD preferred the pieces with a lighter touch to some of the more heavily embroidered dresses, but it called the overall collection "an ultra-focused outing that saw the designer's vision evolve." That narrow focus was a disappointment for some. "Kane needs to be mindful not to get trapped in his own short-and-sexy formula," cautioned Style.com. And though British Vogue found the conceit "undoubtedly impressive," it "left [them] somehow wanting to see something else too." Still, in the end, "this was a show to savor for its outward prettiness," Menkes concluded. British Vogue concurred: "[T]here could hardly have been a woman in the room who isn't now fantasising about being the first to be seen in one of these."

Watch a slideshow of the Christopher Kane collection.