other critics

Critics Laud Comey’s ‘Adorable’ Collection, Pan Siriano’s ‘Elmo’ Dress

Fashion Week hits its stride this weekend, as editors and buyers crowd the tents (and everyone else nurses their FNO hangovers). The early reviews are trickling in from the usual critics: Cathy Horyn of the New York Times, Godfrey Deeny of Fashion Wire Daily, Suzy Menkes of the International Herald Tribune, etc. We’ve compiled the highs and lows from the first two days of Fashion Week, ranging from gushing praise for Vena Cava’s culottes and halters to sniping at Christian Siriano’s voluminous gowns. Read on to see what the heavyweights thought of bondage bras, transparent gowns, and over-the-top ruffles on the spring runway.

Vena Cava
• “That these designers are women may explain why practical gestures like fluid lines and longer lengths were handled in sophisticated ways … Their washed crepe de Chine culottes and a flowing ankle-length skirt in washed poppy silk with a khaki silk halter blouse still have a retro look, but for the first time Ms. Mayock and Ms. Buhai seemed to appeal to a wider audience.” [NYT]

• “And then there were the louche silk MC Hammer pyjama bottoms and sweet rolled cuff overalls, which called to mind two of the Eighties’ better known styles. While we wouldn’t have championed either for a revival, Vena Cava duo Sophie Buhai and Lisa Mayock managed to somehow make both seem ripe for a redux … All told, this was a truly lovely outing that signaled a newly refined and soigné direction for VC.” [British Vogue]

• “These designers have always preferred elegance to edge, but this season, the results looked more effortless, without the superfluous extras that have proven a bit too distracting in the past … It looks like minimalism suits Vena Cava.” [Style.com]

See a slideshow of the full Vena Cava spring collection.

Rag & Bone
• “This was a big, chancy show that mixed transparency, sex-shop bits, a fabric that looked like Mylar, and macramé knits in saturated colors. The fellows were so confident in how they put it all together, with plenty of great separates for the modest types, that you had to pay attention.” [NYT]

• “Marcus Wainwright and David Neville delivered a women’s collection that masterfully balanced the delicate with the tough.” [Fashion Week Daily]

• [T]his season’s story [was] a beautiful yet wholly unexpected desert-combat, minimalism, boudoir one … Their biggest exodus, however, was the colorful prints, rendered from a vacation snap of Wainwright’s and repeatedly manipulated, which made it all feel utterly modern and fresh.” [WWD]

See a slideshow of the full rag & bone spring collection.

Rachel Comey
• “Ms. Comey’s collection was adorable — and, again, accessible to a range of ages … well-conceived shirt dresses and sleeveless or halter styles … were just the sort of dresses you can never find.” [NYT]

• “Blissfully, Comey offered a multitude of enticing options for those who don’t want to be stuck in cutoffs when the mercury rises … in general this collection was marked by an absence of the quirkiness for quirkiness’ sake that has sometimes overshadowed Comey’s designs. The slightly dressier, more grown-up mood felt right.” [Style.com]

• “[A]ll-round lovely … after viewing this pitch-perfect [collection] … it is hard to imagine that the Rachel Comey woman isn’t the woman that we all aspire to be. Elegant, understated and with the unmistakable joie de vivre that we’ve come to expect from this New York-based designer, Comey’s multi-hued collection was accessible and wearable without losing its subtly offbeat edge.” [British Vogue]

• ” … as far as charm and delicateness go, it was business as usual … her coquettish followers will eat it up.” [Fashion Week Daily]

See a slideshow of the full Rachel Comey spring collection.

Christian Siriano
• “[W]hile Mr. Siriano had a lot of pleasing day and cocktail clothes, usually with a shiny patch, his references seemed bookmarked by People magazine.” [NYT]

• “His fashion brand is very much a work-in-progress … For evening, the designer perhaps tried a little too hard, ruffling nearly every edge, especially when using the brash blood red or silver star burst prints that dominated his runway.” [Fashion Wire Daily]

• “At the end came the familiar va-va-va-voom dresses that would look right at home in Dolly Parton’s closet … The color was paprika, according to Mr. Siriano, but it was Pepto if you ask me.” [On the Runway/NYT]

• “[T]he ruffly, paprika-colored, tulle one-shoulder draped gown that closed his show briefly brought Elmo, among other things, to mind.” [Heard on the Runway/WSJ]

• “[A]part from the designer’s personality, there isn’t much of a sartorial story to tell. Siriano’s clothes generally don’t propose any fresh thinking about fashion or the way women should dress. And when they do, there’s an air of the ridiculous.” [Style.com]

See a slideshow of the full Christian Siriano spring collection.

• “Above all, one had the impression of a true talent, who burst onto the New York scene a half decade ago with some beautifully draped collections, attempting to hit too many targets in an effort to be commercial. One felt, unfortunately, the collection had a tad lost its way.” [Fashion Wire Daily]

• “She began with strong sportswear done in a pure palette of white and beige, and easy, clean shapes … From there, she moved to brighter colors and body-conscious silhouettes … that were pretty and satisfied in terms of sex appeal, but didn’t feel particularly new.” [WWD]

• “A neutral color palette like that doesn’t guarantee runway excitement, but Chung made up for it with eye-catching textures … The kaleidoscope print, as the designer called it, felt like a bit of an afterthought. Chung is much more comfortable with understatement.” [Style.com]

See a slideshow of the full Doo.Ri spring collection.

Cushnie et Ochs
• “Though Carly Cushnie and Michelle Ochs also showed finesse this season, especially with distressed chiffon tops and outfits that mixed black leather with georgette or cotton blouses, the designers occasionally spoiled the effect with a weird air of menace. You don’t really buy it from them.” [NYT]

• It was hard to keep your eyes off the shoes on the runway of Cushnie et Ochs … Were they stigmata shoes? … these, by Alejandro Ingelmo, looked downright terrifying.” [On the Runway/NYT]

• “A very romantic floral print — the most romantic this hard-edged label has ever gone — featured headless torsos floating about. The white gingham the designers used throughout looked as if it had been sprayed with acid … Even if it lacked that ‘aha’ moment you hope to see with designers who are experimenting and getting their legs, this was a solid collection.” [Style.com]

See a slideshow of the Cushnie et Ochs spring collection.

Richard Chai LOVE
• “Transparency is emerging as a trend, but the drab colors were a downer, and the straight-cut shapes of the nylon were timid to a fault.” [NYT]

• “Lest things get too risqué, he piled on the layers, as in culottes over sheer pants or filmy overlays atop bandeau bras; lingerie was another core emphasis. It felt fresh, if a bit repetitive in overall mood.” [WWD]

• “Richard Chai flipped the script on the typical fashion strategy of putting your flashy best on the runway while keeping those more subtle, plain-Jane pieces at the showroom for buyers’ eyes only … There might have been nary a sequin in sight, but the combination of transparency and layering did push the look in a fashion-y direction.” [Style.com]

See a slideshow of the Richard Chai LOVE spring collection.

Critics Laud Comey’s ‘Adorable’ Collection, Pan Siriano’s ‘Elmo’ Dress