Fashion Week Fall 2011: The Halftime Report

 Fall 2011 RTW reviews

Photos: Imaxtree

Looks from Jason Wu, Prabal Gurung, and Altuzarra’s Fall 2011 collections.

If you’re reading this, you’ve made it past the halfway point of New York Fashion Week. Congrats! Now it’s time for a check-in.

There’s no doubt the buzz thus far has belonged to new guard Jason Wu, Prabal Gurung, and Joseph Altuzarra. pointed out that Wu’s show drew nearly 100 photographers to the pit, but he more than matched the hype: “The clothes are legitimately living up to his outsized reputation,” Nicole Phelps wrote of the Versailles-inspired sportswear.

Hamish Bowles for wittily noted the “subtle play on the marriage of le grand sport and le grand luxe,” while fawned over the collection’s opulence, with its “no less than 15 different kinds of lace, gilding, Swarovski crystals, and models with gold leaf painted onto their hair.”

Over at Gurung, Women’s Wear Daily highlighted the departure the designer took from his Spring offering. “Last season, Prabal Gurung dipped his foot into sportier than usual waters; apparently he decided that pool’s not for him,” WWD wrote of the Miss Havisham–inspired collection. “The difference proved delightful.”

Eric Wilson for the New York Times was also caught off guard. “I think both [Linda Fargo of Bergdorf Goodman and I] were a little surprised at the shift seen on Mr. Gurung’s runway,” he said, “from his clean and bright sportswear last season to full-on evening glamour for fall, with louche-ly draped dresses in vampy red and pink, feathers from top to bottom on some looks, lace prints that seemed to disintegrate on others, and stockings with a pattern that suggested corset ribbons.”

Fashionista’s Lauren Sherman had one complaint: “I wish Gurung would have included more day wear,” she wrote.

Like Gurung, Altuzarra’s grungy collection was a shift from last season’s ultraprecise looks. Although Milk Studio’s Web site,, reports that Altuzarra was battling an intense cold the day of his show, that didn’t stop editors from fawning.

“Altuzarra is vying for a [’90s] ease by way of Seattle,” wrote WWD. “It made for a spectacular collection, ultrasophisticated yet edgy and cool.”

“There is certainly no doubting Altuzarra’s ability to edit some great fashion moments of recent history and put together a sophisticated inspiration board,” Bowles wrote on “But his exquisite finale dresses, for which he swathed and pleated georgette panels over silvery beaded pale chiffon flapper dresses, showed that he can make these the starting points for fashion adventures that are very much his own.”

Of course, these three designers aren’t the only ones to draw praise so far this week.

“It's safe to say that [Max] Osterweis and [Erin] Beatty turned a corner of their own with this collection,” wrote’s Phelps of Sunos Fall 2010 showing at Milk Studios on Saturday. gleefully reported on Rachel Antonoff’s “prom-tastic” collection, which was shown in the gym-cum-dance hall at LaGuardia High School, complete with a performance by the Like.

Hipster fave Kimberly Ovitz’s Oscar Niemeyer–inspired collection drew praise from WWD, which called it “a bold push for the designer, which, though not without hiccups, proved Ovitz is ready to take some risks.”

Cathy Horyn of the New York Times called Rag & Bone “a thoroughly enjoyable blend of ski and Scotland,” and described Derek Lam’s show, presented February 13 at Lincoln Center, as “a pleasure to watch.”

Check back with FashionEtc for all the Fall 2011 news, reviews and reactions—we may be half finished, but there’s still Marc, Proenza, Ralph, Vera, Calvin, Donna, Oscar …