Critics Praise Preen and Som, Hesitate on Wang

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From left: Peter Som, Preen, and Alexander Wang.

The critics are hitting full steam, and their latest reviews are largely positive — Peter Som's bright and trippy collection impressed, while Preen's inventive take on the strapless bra won points for tailoring and structure. Alexander Wang's collection, meanwhile, drew mixed reviews — but velvet-strewn mistakes were generally forgiven as being part of the designer's larger evolution.

Peter Som

Peter Som's seventies-inspired fall collection was a "a modern mélange of colors and textures," mixing busy prints, dyed fur stoles, tweeds, and beads. The critics agreed that the mash-up collection was a success. Fashion Wire Daily called it a "psychedelic romp through a sumptuous bohemian lair," admiring the fresh, piled-on look "that a street style blogger would have a field day with." Likewise, Style.com applauded the "fearlessly mismatched mélange" of prints. "But the real news was the seventies-inflected silhouettes," it asserted. "The shift brought new life to Som, whose clothes can get stuck in a Kennedy-era routine." Indeed, the critics all praised Som's deft blending of the groovy and the demure. "A tie-dyed mink coat scored with me," Chirstina Binkley of The Wall Street Journal wrote, but the "chartreuse Jacquard skirt would hold its own in any board room." Suzy Menkes of the International Herald Tribune found it to be "more of a romance than a revolution," but still, the fun collection "had an upbeat spirit." He managed to turn his "tony magpie into an even brighter, more exaggerated eccentric," marveled WWD, a look that equated to "Bohemian for the Blair Waldorf set." In sum, "[th]e renewed energy would seem to mark a turning point for Som," Style.com concluded.
Watch a slideshow of the Peter Som collection.

Preen

Preen's Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi presented an aggressive collection that blended masculine and feminine elements; by most critics' accounts, the pair pulled it off. "[The co-designers] have always mixed masculine and feminine masterfully," lauded Fashion Week Daily, adding, "Power businesswoman, check. Party girl, check." A central look was a strapless bra incorporated into a dress — "this show was mostly about built-in underwear," noted Suzy Menkes of the International Herald Tribune — which Cathy Horyn called "different" (and meant it as a compliment). "Tricky?" asked Style.com, eyeing the unorthodox bra-dresses, "Maybe, but that only made it doubly impressive that it was executed so well." Day dresses were "aggressively cut," which "worked well against the softness of mixed media and layered elements," assessed WWD. Likewise, Style.com admired the "gorgeously traditional suiting cut," which played into a "vein of sexy subversion." All together, it was a "gorgeously-constructed collection that will still give girly types what they crave," applauded Fashion Week Daily.
Watch a slideshow of the Preen collection.

Alexander Wang

The reviews were mainly favorable, though mixed, for Alexander Wang's Wall Street-inflected fall collection. "This was Wang stretching himself, adding a higher tailoring quotient to his inventive casual street oeuvre," declared Fashion Wire Daily, adding, "[h]e’s now very much a fashion leader." Suzy Menkes of the International Herald Tribune deemed it a "sexually potent show ... the perfect illustration of turning sportswear inside out." Style.com praised Wang's ability to appeal to a clientele beyond the high-fashion set, calling him a "sui genius ... whose clothes are accessible to more than just the one percent." There were a few missteps in the creatively charged collection, however. The Wall Street Journal, for one, wasn't completely sold. "One would have thought he was aiming for the boardroom set — except for the velour," it sniped. (And then, on the bare midriffs: "so, umm, appropriate for a fall winter collection.") Style.com also grappled with his use of "velvet in all forms," venturing, "[t]hat seems a tough sell, even for him." Still, most agreed with Menkes's assertion that Wang brings a "compelling energy to clothes," demonstrating a blended sensibility of both traditional sportswear and street style that makes him "a rare designer straddling the American heritage and its future."
Watch a slideshow of the Alexander Wang collection.