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Critics Praise Proenza’s High-Tech Prints, Disagree Over Lim and Klein

Proenza Schouler, Ralph Lauren, Phillip Lim

New York Fashion Week has come to a close — on to London! — but there's little consensus among the critics about the final shows. Some admired Ralph Lauren's China-inspired collection, but others felt the "costumey" references were too overt. Amid generally positive reviews, Phillip Lim drew barbs for his "awkward" pants and a "sad" patent tunic. Calvin Klein's minimalism garnered praise from some and critiques from others, who called the fabric treatments "just too far out." Proenza Schouler , however, got near-unanimous praise for cool sportswear and high-tech digital prints. Read the last of New York's reviews below.

THE HITS:
Proenza Schouler
• "[T]he collection of Proenza Schouler provides the clearest example yet of how to satisfy all the conditions that make for exciting 21st-century fashion….as a largely uninspiring Fashion Week closed on Thursday, Mr. Hernandez and Mr. McCollough, both 30, have shown what is possible with new technology…Uniting everything was a cool, slouchy silhouette." [NYT]

• "With their skills in making complex construction appear simple, their 21st century craft looked remarkably cool…the duo mostly incorporated the digital prints with great skill…[the collection took] the Proenza label fast forward in its luxurious modernity." [IHT]

• "In a word: cool. Not everything will be quite as palatable to their fans. We're talking here about the overwrought trio of densely patterned leather and viscose knit sweaters and pants… [But ] whatever you call it, the results were impressive." [Style.com]

• "There was not a look out of place in their fall collection. It seemed to be a crisper, dressier distillation of what they presented in pre-fall, inspiration for which was sourced from a trip out West…. The fabric innovation made things look quite new… What was most impressive about this collection was Hernandez and McCollough’s ability to take traditionally homespun themes and make them look sophisticated and even edgy." [WWD]

• "It was a gripping ‘On the Road’ sartorial-narrative that unfolded on the catwalk - an unexpected journey well-worth taking that renewed and transformed the Navajo trend, and will no doubt inspire new-found interest in American textile history for the autumn/winter season ahead." [Vogue UK]

• "[The collection] demonstrated the technical prowess and impeccably developed concept that few New York designers can muster (a la fois)… it was the last five dresses, handpainted velvet on transparent silk, worn with opaque black tights, that became the palette cleanser for whatever else was seen this week. They spoke quietly, but in volumes." [Daily Front Row]

See the Complete Fall 2011 Proenza Schouler Collection

MIXED:
Ralph Lauren
• "[I]t was possibly one of Mr. Lauren’s most beautiful shows in a while, a display of confidence and worldly polish…All of these clothes would look sophisticated and desirable in any market." [NYT]

• "Usually, when Mr. Lauren takes a theme, he injects it with modernity. But the offering became increasingly clichéd. By the time a jacket came out with those signature dragon embroideries, it looked like the designer had landed in a tourist trap in Chinatown and then copied the look with couture care…in leaving America’s Big Country world entirely, Mr. Lauren seemed to be on a path that diverged from the general fashion spirit." [IHT]

• "Few designers know better than Lauren how to keep luxury opulent yet simple… Talk about self-assured aplomb." [Fashion Wire Daily]

• "The show was not without its costumey moments, chief among them a China red tuxedo jacket with multicolor dragon embroideries. It finished strong, though, with a series of elegant black evening dresses accented with a single brooch or beaded in an Art Deco style." [Style.com]

• "The trip [eastward] made for an air of mystery and plenty of high chic… While the red silk smoking jacket hammered the point with uncharacteristic indiscretion, lavish vests and cocoon coats more gracefully recalled French Deco’s obsession with Orientalism. There was nothing costumey about Lauren’s gorgeous eveningwear." [WWD]

• "[Lauren is] a designer who wouldn't be so crass as to present a cliché-laden collection of obvious references and tread-upon banalities... Instead, the designer chose to refine his vision of the Orient via the glamour and elegance of the Thirties… It takes a person who is both a savvy businessman and talented designer to blend the maxims of a label so steeped in Americana with the desires of a foreign market, but Lauren did it beautifully, with taste and wit." [Vogue UK]

See the Complete Fall 2011 Ralph Lauren Collection

3.1 Phillip Lim
• "[D]ynamic, utilitarian sportswear… his clothes were an example of how smart use of fabrics could refresh the familiar…[Lim] boils down the essence of functional sportswear with enough quirkiness to make it work for his youthful generation." [IHT]

• "[T]his hybrid look isn't a million miles away from the mixed-up approach other designers have taken in recent seasons. Nevertheless, it yielded some nice pieces… the show wasn't without its moments of awkwardness, particularly in stiff carrot-shaped pants and squared-off culottes... As Lim explained, cholos buy their pants too big and fold them in to have a heavier stance, something, it's fair to say, no shopping woman ever wants." [Style.com]

• "Looks were very approachable and well blended…wearable, colorful and fearless for fall… Lim's appreciation for art and his skill are overtly represented in his covetable collection." [Fashion Wire Daily]

• "As influences go, they were plenty intriguing. But by show’s end, the overarching statement was about what Lim does best: chic sportswear… With the exception of a few awkward evening looks and a sad patent tunic, [the fabrics were approachable]." [WWD]

• "His aesthetic is thoughtful and interesting while never sacrificing comfort and wearability… Nothing forced, and nothing without a luxurious detail to set it apart… The effortlessness and ease that guides the designer's hand shows that he's best when he trusts his intuition of what women want." [Vogue UK]

See the Complete Fall 2011 Phillip Lim Collection

Calvin Klein Collection
• "Francisco Costa also showed shorter lengths. After all the manly parkas and layers, it looked new. This was an unusually controlled collection…As a pro, he seemed to know that more design would have undermined the contemporary power of the fabrics." [NYT]

• "[Costa] broke new ground with his fabrics… Call it urban cool at its most austere… Yet, though striking and highly inventive, the collection somehow was a tad too severe and relentless. The clothes had almost too much gravitas. Costa certainly delivered in terms of new ideas, but that ultimately this collection was an artistic, rather than aesthetic, success." [Fashion Wire Daily]

• "It was good, confident work — spare and clean as usual, but looser, softer and more textural than some of Costa’s recent offers…. Costa seemed to put most of his energy in developing high-tech fabrics…The needle-punched shearling vest was particularly nice, but as much as the textile development added a level of interest and technique to such simple silhouettes, some treatments were just too far out." [WWD]

• "The magic from this collection wasn't derived from flashiness or attention-begging trickery. It did the opposite, it stunned with clarity and singular vision… it’s just as risky to stay silent than it is to join in the yelling. Today, Costa took that risk, and it paid off nicely." [Vogue UK]

See the Complete Fall 2011 Calvin Klein Collection

Reed Krakoff
• "Reed Krakoff wisely opted for calm, measured sportswear…But now Mr. Krakoff has to give us something tastier. Because, as they say, it’s not the bread that people like, it’s the butter." [NYT]

• "Fine examples of tailoring done with a modern attitude…But it is still hard to find an absolute identity for this Krakoff line. Some bold bags, now virtually banished from other runways, suggested that the designer is building his new brand with his head as much as his heart." [IHT]

• "Krakoff's strength is his outerwear… Customers might need more convincing when it comes to his new dresses. Krakoff worked a variation on a theme—short, belted at the hip, long-sleeved. In satin, at least, the results tended to be a bit droopy." [Style.com]

• "The evolution — let’s call it progress — was obvious at his fall show. Krakoff gave his utilitarian premise a little breathing room… Krakoff still knows his accessories best and the wedge python booties, available in an array of colors, were the best bet." [WWD]

• "[Krakoff] has softened his stance a bit, though, resulting in pieces that were still workman-like but without being overly so… This being Krakoff, the outerwear was also sublime, as were the accessories." [Vogue UK]

See the Complete Fall 2011 Reed Krakoff Collection

Photo: Imaxtree

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

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

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