Critics Fall for Burberry’s ‘Gentlemanly’ Charms, Deem Dolce & Gabbana ‘Overwrought’

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From left: new menswear looks from Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, and Burberry.

THE HITS: 

BURBERRY
• "[Bailey] turned his substantial talents to that most conservative and reassuring forms of soft armor, the suit ... with confident reassurance. [T]he collection sent a message of competence, quietly skillful craftsmanship and of hunkering down ... [Bailey] exhibited a comfortable understanding of what it means to be endowed with more testosterone than estrogen." [NYT]
• "[A] tellingly clever and cool visual discourse on a new sort of gentile chic ... Bailey wowed with a excellent set of Alpine apres-ski sweaters, whose erratic patterns and crafty twisting necklines made them that rare thing in menswear — truly original garments ... [a] thoroughly accomplished show." [Fashion Wire Daily]
• "The collection, with its quirky charms, hit the spot ... Bailey peppered the collection with light touches, in the form of beaded appliqué fox heads on knits, leather gloves sprouting punky gold studs, and jaunty polka-dot neckties that would put a smile on the lips of even the most dour Englishman." [WWD]
• "[I]t was all very Downton Abbey drivers [and] quirky details ... Gone was last season’s bohemian boy." [Vogue UK]
"[A] kaleidoscopic shake-up of town and country ... There was a military swagger, an urban sharpness, and a yearning for country ... [Bailey] got the balance just right this season." [IHT]
• "[Bailey drew] on Burberry's military heritage [and] the seam of eccentricity that runs through the company's history ... to great effect. [The clothes were] an appealing advertisement for a new kind of gentlemanliness." [Style.com]

 See the Full Fall 2012 Burberry Menswear Collection.

GIORGIO ARMANI
• "[A] quiet collection ... there was a sweetly (as opposed to cloyingly) nostalgic mood, a tacit allusion to a similarly flush era, to better times." [NYT]
• "[M]ore path-breaking than many recent shows, [with] knitted trousers ... He also went outside the envelope with a new airy tweed ... [T]his septuagenarian designer still keeps his ideas fresh." [Fashion Wire Daily]
• "The designer put his own spin on tradition for this masculine but soft-edged collection, which was packed with knitted wool, stretchy fabrics, velvet, wide-ribbed corduroy and textured leather ... That softness and comfort wove its way throughout the collection." [WWD]
• "City-perfect style ... Coats were seriously cosy and suits ready to take on the winter weather." [Vogue UK]
"[Armani's] show defined absolute integrity of design ... Nothing would have seemed really “new,” as in a jarring note ... But there were enough ideas, especially the printed-on knit patterns, to refresh the Armani style." [IHT]
• "[Armani] has evolved his own sui generis version of formality ... There is, in fact, something transgressive about emblematic male items taken to such an extreme." [Style.com]

See the Full Fall 2012 Giorgio Armani Menswear Collection.

GUCCI
• "It was a strong collection, notable for varied proportions and masterfully combined textures." [On the Runway/NYT]
• "[T]he collection was a pretty masterful display of Gucci craftmanship and artisanal skills ... The stand-out Gucci look was an ideally dramatic car coat ... Talk about cool billionaire's opulence ... Giannini got [the accessories] right, and just the right side revolutionary." [Fashion Wire Daily]
• "Romance and decadence were the twin inspirations behind Gucci’s handsome collection ... Giannini’s bohemians were more of the polished variety ... Poet, painter, soldier, lover — Giannini’s collection was generous enough to encompass them all, and then some." [WWD]
• "You've got to love a Gucci man ... Oscar Wilde is very much the hero here – think rich, dark tones, an emphasis on eveningwear and luxe in velvet and military detailing." [Vogue UK]
• "Frida Giannini is a true connoisseur of doomed male beauties ... It was alluringly outré—and that's a quality that can't go undenied in the face of Milan menswear's tame restraint." [Style.com]

See the Full Fall 2012 Gucci Menswear Collection.

MIXED:

PRADA
• "[The presentation was] graphic, theatrical and oddly anachronistic. It was also fanatically detailed. But so what? ... [W]hat struck this observer about the Prada show was how little it conceded to the real world." [NYT]
• "[A] fashionable statement on the power of dressing, rather than just powerful dressing ... even if the silhouettes and garments were classical, designer Miuccia Prada gave each a fresh twist ...[the lighting was] a clever meditation on how men really do reveal exactly what they think of themselves by the way they dress." [Fashion Wire Daily]
• "Prada lent her status as a fashion influencer to a big mood change in men’s wear ... In Prada’s hands, [darker, more severe clothes] look new and compelling ... The show was the talk of Milan." [WWD]
• "[Q]uite the menswear feast ... It was, as you’d expect from Prada, often in the detail ... what turned out to be a top show." [Vogue UK]
• "The clothes were spiffy in their fine elegance ... this was a major outing for updated classic tailoring, right to the upper-crust evening wear." [IHT]
• "An awful lot of ingenious thought had gone into making a statement about the emptiness of dressing to impress, while, at the same time, producing clothes that will entice men to do exactly that. This Chinese-box ingenuity carried through to the last moment of the show." [Style.com]

See the Full Fall 2012 Prada Menswear Collection.

DOLCE & GABBANA
• "[A] hyper polished, ornately finished take on modern gentlemen's attire ... Much of this impressive collection looked like couture for men, so finely hand-made, so opulently finished ... Class is what will count in this fall's men's wardrobe." [Fashion Wire Daily]
• "[T]his charming — if at times overwrought — collection delivered high drama ... The gold and flourish recalled the duo’s Napoleon-inspired collection from fall 2006." [WWD]
• "The tone [was] one of opulence and grandeur ... and had a usual healthy dose of bare-chested men." [Vogue UK]
• "A a full-on return to old world glamour ... And if some pieces looked either theatrical or strictly for oligarch weddings, the general effect was bold and dashing." [IHT]
• "[E]scape and dream actually blended effortlessly in this gilded spectacular ... a collection that straddled decades ... Persuasive." [Style.com]

See the Full Fall 2012 Dolce & Gabbana Menswear Collection.

VALENTINO

• "[A] hyper sophisticated display of voluminous tailoring, edgy juxtaposition and brilliant use of bonded materials ... [A] gutsy collection — with subtly voluminous silhouette used in a garments that combined athletic sportswear elements with haute gamme tailoring." [Fashion Wire Daily]
• "[The collection] focused on sharply tailored modernist takes on men’s wear classics, straddling the sartorial tradition and new technology...While the smooth bonded-leather trench looked a tad secret agent, [there were] covetable outerwear options." [WWD]
• "Modern in fabric, cut and outlook but with craftsmanship and detail reflecting haute couture ... the spirit was not so much Mediterranean as urban, with short coats and narrow pants." [IHT]
• "Inject the spirit of couture into the traditions of menswear? ... [T]here was something obsessive bordering on fetishistic about the detail ... The look had an almost sinister precision that felt like the very opposite of casual."[Style.com]

See the Full Fall 2012 Valentino Menswear Collection.