Fashion Report Card: Alexander Wang Divides, Preen Impresses in Debut

rag & bone, Lela Rose, and Preen

From left, rag & bone, Lela Rose, and Preen.Photos:

Could Alexander Wang live up to heightening hype? Some critics were cold and unimpressed. But Preen was welcomed in America with all but a parade down Fifth Avenue. Lela Rose’s Katherine and Audrey Hepburn theme proved puzzling, and rag & bone veered too far from what they do best. Who else got slammed?

Alexander Wang
Alexander Wang’s show has had steady buzz for two weeks, peaking when word came out that former model Erin Wasson was styling his show and DJs AM and Aoki were spinning his after-party. But did the man live up to the hype? Sort of. Cathy Horyn lamented that “the clothes had a street currency but not much of a designer vision,” while WWD said “the collection wasn’t the eyesore that it could have been.” Flattering. The Daily, on the other hand, was eager to appoint Wang the new king of the hipsters, claiming his “aesthetic is one of cool, insouciant chic.” noted that there were some standout pieces, “like the elusive just-right, thin heather-gray T-shirt and terrific, slouchy light denim jeans.” But WWD asked the most important question: “Will his customers shell out big bucks for clothes that resemble what’s probably sitting in her closet?”

Watch a slideshow of the Alexander Wang collection.

With London designers gaining more fame and accolades, it was no surprise to see some of them showing in New York. Duo Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi of Preen debuted here to applause. WWD loved “their covetable tough-chic ideas on dressing.” “The designers still wowed the audience with their mix of cool luxury with just the right touches of sensuality,” raved the Daily. British Vogue thought the show clever, even if they did misinterpret the theme. proclaimed, “What Thornton and Bregazzi do best is a mash-up of classics: silk blouses, trousers, and bathing suits, like the showstopper worn by Anja Rubik.” And Horyn noted that “fans of Preen have seen the clothes grow in sophistication and surprise.”

View a slideshow of the Preen collection.

Lela Rose
Lela Rose tried to channel both Katherine and Audrey Hepburn, which seemed to confound critics. “What, exactly, does that mean?” asked. British Vogue answered, “Rose deftly mixed the femme (Audrey) with the homme (Katherine), oftentimes in the same look.” The combination seems to have worked for Rose, said the Daily: “The designer’s strengths are her use of exquisite fabrics and the ability to dress women in a perfectly flattering way.” And though some of her pieces were a bit saccharine for WWD, the metallic polka dots and jeweled necklines had “an appealing quirky quality.”

See a slideshow of the Lela Rose collection.

rag & bone
With a safari and Bond-girl theme, David Neville and Marcus Wainwright of rag & bone united the critics: Everyone felt the designers veered too far from their base of upscale Americana. “If the designers misstepped, it was with dresses,” said, adding that “familiar shapes like a floaty trapeze frock and a baby-doll smock lacked the subtle subversiveness of the duo’s more androgynous looks.” Horyn chided: “The show had some cute effects, like windbreakers, but it lacked direction.” But British Vogue dissented, claiming the collection would have even “Pussy Galore purring in approval.” But the Daily wouldn’t budge, complaining that “some of the dresses were so neutral that they strayed too far away from the brand’s luxe yet hip image.”

Watch a slideshow of the rag & bone collection.

Fashion Report Card: Alexander Wang Divides, Preen Impresses in Debut