Critics Praise Farhi’s ‘Relaxed Elegance’, Debate Pringle’s Roomy Trousers

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From left: Marios Schwab, Nicole Farhi, Pringle. Photo: Imaxtree

The early reviews are in from London Fashion Week. The critics were impressed by Marios Schwab's sexy pinafore dresses, though the collection left some wanting more. Nicole Farhi paraded effortlessly chic and wearable clothes, "for days when no great fashion statement is needed but when quality is still key," as British Vogue put it. And Clare Waight Keller earned praise for mixing her own daring vision with Pringle's storied history, sending out fisherman's knits and flowing wader trousers. See the rest of what the critics had to say.

Marios Schwab
The reviews were positive for Marios Schwab's Austrian-inspired fall collection, despite a few missteps. "The collection was a modern twist on a look you might have last seen at Oktoberfest," suggested The Wall Street Journal, but, rather than folksy, the clothes were "polished and sexy and hugged curves with tailored precision." British Vogue agreed, deeming it an "incredibly precise, focused collection today that managed to be romantic." The modern take on a pinafore dress was a central piece, which was met with mixed reactions. ("It was all eyes to the bosoms, which were framed like a portrait around a white blouse," smirked Suzy Menkes of the International Herald Tribune.) WWD felt that the idea "worked best when the designer took a simple, modern approach," and deemed the dresses weighed down with crystal embellishments and embroidery less successful. Though Style.com noted that "it didn't quite have the impact of Schwab's first contributions to shaping the body-con movement four years ago," it added that the designer is "keeping a grip on designing the kind of pieces retailers ask him for," including the on-trend teddy-fur coats. "The concept was interesting, but had this body-conscious designer forgotten the lower half?" inquired Menkes. "Ultra-short skirts seemed a lazy way to finish off Mr. Schwab’s vision." But despite scattered criticism, British Vogue felt the collection represented "a more mature version of the Schwab label."

Watch a slideshow of the Marios Schwab collection.

Nicole Farhi
The critics gushed over Nicole Farhi's creative, wearable fall collection. "[It] was packed with the cool and the beautiful," declared The Wall Street Journal, calling it "infinitely wearable" and "effortlessly sophisticated." British Vogue also complimented the wearability — "one of the most accessible shows we've seen this week" — assessing that "relaxed elegance is Farhi's game." The coats were standouts for most, including a "sassy" trench in wool and patent leather. "She was truly mistress of her own brand of severe chic," lauded Style.com, and WWD similarly deemed it "chic and urbane." Though Style.com noted that some of the bias cutting and asymmetrical draping created "strange volumes" that missed the mark ("Who wants to wear a skirt gathered at the waist like a sack?" demanded Suzy Menkes of the International Herald Tribune), the designer "mostly kept a good balance between artistry and reality."

Watch a slideshow of the Nicole Farhi collection.

Pringle of Scotland
Clare Waight Keller’s collection of inventive knits impressed the critics. The clothes evoked a dated Scotland, "one of clanging armor, rugged fishermen and kilt-clad clansmen." Yet, despite the strong imagery, "she did so with a light hand, turning out a romantic collection," noted WWD. Suzy Menkes of the International Herald Tribune deemed Waight Keller "a gem of a designer" who makes knitwear "look fresh and modern while retaining a warp or web of heritage." All agreed that the fisherman's knits were the strongest pieces of the collection. (The delicate knitwear "wouldn’t likely survive a horseback ride, but will serve you well on an evening out," admired The Wall Street Journal.) On the other hand, the critics were divided on the success of the slouchy trousers inspired by wader boots: "[T]hat's a lot of pant for a body to wear," ventured Style.com. But though Pringle may be "a work in progress," Style.com praised Waight Keller's confidence in blending her vision with the company's long history. "She's taking risks en route," it concluded.

Watch a slideshow of the Pringle collection.