Monday, March 12, 2012

My Feelings about Fashion Reviews

I review collections with my eyes. I pour over the looks as they walk down the runway (or more than likely when I view pictures of those looks as they walked down the runway) and make judgements about what details I love, which ones I could leave and then the styling choices that the designer made. I almost always give a designer credit, whilst reviewing in my head, for things I haven't seen before or looks I want to recreate... and after all that, I may read a review of the collection if only to catch details that I might have missed... but if I read a review, I take the risk of that reviewer making me feel like my admiration is wrong.

Photos: Marcus Tondo /

Take for instance, the most recent Elie Saab runways show from Paris Fashion Week, of which all pictures in this post are from. I look at the clothes walking down the runway and think to myself, how if I were a slimmer, wealthier, more put together version of myself, I could totally wear these gorgeous clothes. Making women look gorgeous is a designer's job, isn't it? The way that the girls are styled, all with blunt bangs and long, straight tresses is what draws me in. What a modern, svelte woman Elie Saab makes me want to be. Then I read's review, and while not totally torching the whole collection, it makes me feel stupid for even liking it in the first place.
 "For the most part, it was as gray as the skies have been all week here in Paris, but it offered more variety than you usually find on a Saab runway", quips's Nicole Phelps.
I don't think she was referring to the color palate, although there were some fantastic grey tailored suits. I think Nicole was saying that this collection was boring but Bravo! Elie Saab for putting something out there that is a little better than mediocre.

Commenters on's post were not happy with how the site received the collection. One commenter made me laugh. 
"No need for a review to be posted. We all know what Nicole Phelps will just criticize for there being "nothing new" and that the shapes were all referencing the New Look and the peplums seen at Givenchy last season. Blah. This collection was--as always--stunning. Elie Saab knows how to make women look beautiful and he slowly and gradually takes risks. So what if he doesn't provide a radical change in silhouette or go to extremes? The clothes are beautiful and over the course of the past few seasons, you can see a development and an evolution, while still providing gorgeous looks. What more can you ask for? It is baffling how a true designer like Saab can be consistently criticized here."
Obviously, everyone is entitled to their opinion. Your opinion of what is good might differ from other's opinions and that is what makes the world go 'round isn't it?

But should I even read reviews then if all I will feel is deflated about things I felt positively about? Is it my own insecurity about my fabulousness* that makes me unable to read someone's difference of opinion? Am I going crazy for even writing a post about whether or not I should read fashion reviews?  But then I think, I am reading reviews to get a better understanding of fashion and what is considered new, innovative and inspiring. Right? 

Read this post by the clever and funny Kathryn Kattalia on "Fashion Speak". OK, so she doesn't read fashion reviews because no one should tell you what to like and then if you do read the reviews, you might not even know what the heck they are trying to say. Should I buy into fashion reviews at all? Should I even write fashion reviews? Short answer, yes and yes.

Cut to WWD's review of the same Elie Saab collection, it's not so much a review as it is a overview of the collection as a whole. I get the sense that the reviewer thinks it's a perfectly good collection and that, like me, the gowns at the end are the show stealers. Look at that, she kind of feels the same way as me. We have the same opinion. At the end of the day, all fashion reviews are opinions, some formulated based on years in the industry, some simply from admiration of pretty clothes. Some reviews are uppity and others are in awe of beauty; they run the gamete of reactions and opinions, coming from editors and bloggers alike. Fashion is in the eye of the beholder, much like beauty... well, because fashion is beautiful even if it's ugly.

*Please note, I never question my fabulousness.

Photos: Marcus Tondo /


  1. Fantastic collection from Elie Saab!:) Kisses!:)

  2. Nice post!  (And I never question your fabulousness, either!)

  3. Oh my, there is some beautiful and wearable dresses there!
    Lucy Loves To Blog

  4. That collection is gorgeous! Obviously opinions in fashion are important...that's sort of why we blog. Engaging and discussing is fun! But I totally agree with you. Nicole Phelps certainly knows her stuff, but if I could spend the rest of my life in that gray tailored trench coat, I probably would. Great post! Thanks for the shout out! :)

  5. Great review...I love the way you made all so personal/particular.
    Congrats & thx!

  6. you did a nice work because all that you posted are so beautiful!

  7. I might read reviews (but they'd never change my mind) and maybe I don't know enough to formulate enough of an opinion to write about shows, or I'm narrow minded when it comes to clothes, because my reactions would be love it, hate it, or meh. And 9 times out of 10, I wouldn't be able to tell you why. LOL


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