After rolling over for the big names — Marc Jacobs, Carolina Herrera, Oscar de la Renta, and Diane von Furstenberg all got raves — the critics sharpen their talons on the second tier of designers who haven’t quite made it to the major leagues yet. Who exactly did Derek over-reference? Can they take away Doo.Ri’s CFDA award? And is Narciso just bored?
3.1 Phillip Lim
Phillip Lim was mostly spared. His latest collection was “easy, layered, and effortlessly cool,” according to WWD. Inspired by Edie Beale of Grey Gardens, Lim showed his “most ambitious collection by far,” said Style.com. Graceful dresses, oversize tunics, ballerina skirts all hit the right notes, enthused Cathy Horyn. And “every girl needs Phillip Lim’s flannel cowl-neck sack dress,” raved the Daily. Still, as Horyn noted on her blog, the show was self-indulgent. The models wore just one outfit each and posed along a wall. But even that WWD could forgive for just one of Lim’s “great coats.”
Watch a slideshow of the 3.1 Phillip Lim collection.
If the crowds (and retailers) were wowed by Derek Lam’s collection, maybe it was because they’d seen it all before—at Azzedine Alaïa, Hervé Léger, and even Narciso a few seasons back, according to critics. Though the show was sexy, filled with suede riding pants and bustier dresses, it was derivative, said Style.com. WWD called Lam’s identity a work in progress and also complained that he referenced far too many designers. Fashion Wire Daily did note that Lam is a “savvy colorist,” but Suzy Menkes would like the designer to “find a voice of his own.”
Watch a slideshow of the Derek Lam collection.
Doo.Ri Chung’s latest collection wasn’t groundbreaking, but it showed hints of moving forward, WWD grudgingly allowed. Style.com liked the fresh, short silhouette but found the crystal cages and harnesses too complicated. Menkes thought the color palette of wine, blue, and peacock green repetitive but admitted that “its effect was youthful with a touch of romance.” Chung’s draping abilities proved why she won the CFDA award, but WWD found her collection to be lackluster and one-note.
Watch a slideshow of the Doo.Ri collection.
This minimalist collection bored critics. Rodriguez offered up “more of the same,” said WWD. The designer mostly referenced himself, Suzy Menkes observed, and tunics and pants were “pajama-like in their simplicity.” Fashion Wire Daily called the collection an elegant, modern statement but complained that nothing looked new. There were, however, standouts: Style.com fawned over Rodriguez’s black coat with “sweeping proportions,” and WWD liked some of the dresses and a white coat — but added that the clothes didn’t create any longing.
Watch a slideshow of the Narciso Rodriguez collection.
Alice Roi was in a dark mood this season, presenting what the Daily called “hospital chic.” Inspired by night sweats, fractures, and sutures, the collection featured clogs reminiscent of nurse’s shoes. Though the mohair looks and double layered blanket skirts were “cute effects,” Horyn called this a struggling collection. Style.com seemed indifferent but did find one item to covet: the “perfect, fluid, black silk dress with a metallic-trimmed ruffled flourish.” Horyn also suggested that Roi herself was as bored with her bratty-little-girl look as the critics were. Judging by the reviews, she’s right.
Watch a slideshow of the Alice Roi collection.