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The Critics Take on DVF, Tom Ford, and Poor Neglected Thakoon

DVF images via <a href="http://www.wwd.com/fashion-week/spring-ready-to-wear-2011/review/diane-von-furstenberg-rtw-spring-2011-3259322?city=new-york&amp;module=today">WWD</a>
DVF images via WWD

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From the tents to the blogs, here's what the folks sitting in the front rows had to say about yesterday's shows:

Diane von Furstenberg
Women's Wear Daily: "[New Creative Director Yvan] Mispelaere and von Furstenberg envisioned their goddess as an empowered, intellectual beauty, her messy librarian's bun and John Lennon sunglasses radiating chic practicality. The pilings were out, and clean, crisp sportswear was in. The dominant look was for day, built out of lightweight silk separates—shorts, shirts and jackets that were tailored fluid ease. Done in solid, sporty brights, such as mint green and melon, the result was refreshingly pared down and grown up. Likewise the mix of dresses, mostly modern variations on a slip or a sheath. Of course, there was also an abundance of prints, here, blown-out and graphic, some so big they bordered on blinding. Mispelaere will have his chance to tame them. Because even though there's new blood in the house, some things will never change."

Wall Street Journal: "In fact, the whole show was rock-inspired. At parts, it felt a bit déjà-vu. To see black leather motorcycle vests and jackets after they were so hot a year ago was a bit surprising. Harem pants? Last year, too. But in the context of a major brand controlled by Adidas, it makes more sense. More trendy than cutting edge, Y-3 is designed to reach a wide audience of young hipsters...And a show with flat shoes for women shown with nearly every look? Godsend."

Alexander Wang:
The New York Times: "Unlike some of his dreamy peers, he decided at the outset to make affordable clothes. That's the traditional, pre-Internet way to reach a lot of people. He also must have sensed that fashion's memory hole was widening in direct proportion to the numbers of young people Googling his name. The designs were cool, but they didn't have to stand up to much scrutiny—hey, didn't Marni do those pants last season?—so long as the stuff was widely and easily available. Mr. Wang doesn't really have courage in the traditional sense of trying something new and difficult, but he does have China. Nearly all of his clothing is now produced there."

The New York Times: "[Joseph Altuzarra] has the ability to create a high-impact look on the runway, often with a classic style. That's a lot harder to do than it sounds...Lines were interrupted, as in a slim, long-sleeved navy dress that had a strip of black snakeskin crossing a bright orange rope belt and a hemline cut into at one side and squared off...Some of the mixes and cutting looked labored, and the conical bra cups will be jettisoned for production. Mr. Altuzarra said he knew it was risky to use such a tired device. But that's what youth is for, he seemed to say—to make mistakes occasionally."

Charlotte Ronson
Nylon: "Travis Birkenstock, meet your dream girl. Charlotte Ronson's show is always a shop-the-runway endeavor: You go, you say 'I want that, and that, and that!' and then you run home and figure out how it'll all fit in your closet. This season was no exception, as Charlotte churned out a string of clothes that could be called Grunge Without the Grungy-ness. Floral dresses paired with flat boots. Wool socks under spike heels. And hoodies ingeniously tied into button-front skirts, paired with sweet schoolgirl blouses in (yeah) more florals."

Thakoon Panichgul
The Wall Street Journal: "Poor Thakoon Panichgul. Crammed in between the Adidas-backed Y-3 show at 5 pm, and the debut of Tom Ford's women's wear collection at 7 pm, Mr. Panichgul's 6 pm Thakoon show was forced to start without quite a number of guests and even a couple of its models. Lest you take this lightly—this meant that the looks intended for those models never saw the runway. Anna Wintour (Vogue) and Sally Singer (T Magazine) were in such a hurry to make it to Mr. Ford's highly coveted event that they literally ran from Thakoon even before the models made their final walk...It's a shame folks didn't get a chance to meander over Mr. Panichgul's spring collection. A lot of designers this week have been trying awfully hard to do minimalism, with bold patterns, and other trendy looks. The Thakoon collection is an antidote. It's spring-like, optimistic, sweet in spots (like white pants with lavender printed flowers, and a transparent matching top) and with intriguing details."

Jason Wu
Women's Wear Daily: "His spring collection flaunted this self-aware, perfectionist approach to design, balancing beautifully tailored sportswear against girlish froth. That tension worked quite well for day with great trousers, pleated and wide with a Forties swagger, worn with filmy blouses in point d’esprit, organza and lace chiffon and layered under meatier tweeds."

Tom Ford
Women's Wear Daily: "Ford made his return to women's fashion a masterful ode to exquisite oxymoron. It was a small-scale, high-impact show that gave the traditional fashion audience—so many of its members by now weary of big tents, pushing, shoving and Twitter-dee/Twitter-dum tent-tabloid—everything we've been longing for. The crowd, make that guest list, was small enough to fit, albeit snugly, into his Madison Avenue boutique, yet included many of the most important industry people who typically populate fashion's front row...He turned the whole age-body-image conversation into pure magic, showing not on a lineup of comely teens, but, he explained in a brief welcome, 'on many of the world's most inspirational women.'"

"Ford then proved what a movie star personality is. Completely debonair in a newly grown beard and impeccable tuxedo, he narrated the show as if in an old film, 'Ladies and gentlemen, Ms. Farida Khelfa,' he said before describing her ivory silk double georgette in detail. He then proceeded on through a lineup of fabulously diverse women from Beyoncé to 'The Honorable' Daphne Guinness to Natalia to his pals Rita Wilson and Lisa Eisner. And multiple model generations were well represented from Marisa Berenson to Chanel Iman—they were all adult. These are the types of women who might reasonably buy and wear Ford's clothes, and they look fantastic."

Alexander Wang

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