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Critics Divided on Balenciaga, Critical of Rochas’s Sixties Vibe

From left: Rochas, Dries Van Noten, Balenciaga.

The early reviews are trickling in from Paris. The critics adored Dries Van Noten's imminently wearable, slouchy-chic collection. Balenciaga's futuristic looks drew raves from some and barbs from others ("like Balenciaga Lite"). And Rochas's colorful, sixties-inspired show was just too retro for most. Read the rest of their reactions.

Rochas
The critics were largely unimpressed by Marco Zanini's colorful, sixties-inspired fall show. "The clothes were sweet and wearable, but it was a weird trip," groused Cathy Horyn. With the exception of Godfrey Deeny of Fashion Wire Daily (who called it "far from retro"), many of the critics thought Zanini took the dated references too far. "It was such a direct description of the Mrs Robinson look ... it didn’t fare as well as a less retro presentation might have done," assessed British Vogue. "[T]he collection seemed to focus on one note: the 1960s era of big hair," agreed Suzy Menkes of the International Herald Tribune. "It all seemed too much like vintage fashion with the accent on retro." Style.com noted that there was little to distinguish the clothes from true vintage garb. "Intriguing, certainly, but potentially a tough sell," it predicted. The show was not without merit, though. Many admired the bright color palette and upbeat vibe. Deeny deemed it "sugary, yet stylish," and WWD called the "jolting" color medleys fantastic. "This Rochas woman knows how to have fun," remarked The Wall Street Journal. Still, despite the cheery appeal, the overall effect was "perhaps a misguided effort to turn back time," as British Vogue put it.

Watch a slideshow of the Rochas collection.

Dries Van Noten
The critics heaped praise on Dries Van Noten's covetable fall collection. "[T]he show was a near perfect distillation of this designer’s key strengths — cerebral cutting, ethnic fantasy and arty joie de vivre," declared Godfrey Deeny of Fashion Wire Daily. The designer played with proportion and volume, layering slouchy knits, longer skirts, and belted trenches. "The compelling thing about the collection was the tailoring ... looked relaxed," lauded Cathy Horyn of the Times. The Wall Street Journal agreed that "he tempered the formality in his collection ... Casual, but chic." And WWD concurred: "While there was a relaxed, insouciant air to much of the utilitarian sportswear, precise lines and amplified proportions gave it a quiet power." Several reviewers praised the collection for being creative, but wearable. "The way the show reshuffled wardrobe elements most women might own was an inspiration," declared Style.com, and Suzy Menkes of the International Herald Tribune called the clothes "pitch perfect for women’s real lives." Deeny summed up the enthusiasm best: "[E]very single woman who attended [the show] really wanted something from the collection. It's rare one can truly say that about most shows."

Watch a slideshow of the Dries Van Noten collection.

Balenciaga
The critics were divided on Balenciaga's fall collection, which incorporated paper and plastic, and padding, as well as more luxurious fabrics. Many loved it: Cathy Horyn of the Times called it an "invigorating experience" and thought the collection "looked well beyond the fall of 2010." "It was beautiful and extraordinary — beyond haute couture and into the realm of modern art," swooned The Wall Street Journal. The mix of textures, fabrics, and colors created an undeniably modern look. "[H]is work defies easy categorization," assessed Style.com, but also called the clothes "recognizably Parisian, chic, optimistic, and of today." Some worried that the fashion-forward collection might be too much. It was "mesmerisingly modern but not an easy look to necessarily relate to, or wear," concluded British Vogue. And Godfrey Deeny of Fashion Wire Daily declared that Ghesquière was "several points off his 'A' game," calling it "Balenciaga Lite." "There were plenty of ideas, yet also the sense that this designer was revamping his own oeuvre," he assessed. But WWD thought the futuristic show was an overall success. "It was fun, if more gimmicky than in past collections," it concluded.

Watch a slideshow of the Balenciaga collection.

Photo: Imaxtree

Copyright © 2013, New York Media LLC. All Rights Reserved. The Cut® are registered trademarks of New York Media LLC.

Copyright © 2013, New York Media LLC.
All Rights Reserved.

Copyright © 2013, New York Media LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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