Cacharel was the Isabel Marant of its day: young, carefree, colorful, in love with prints, and very French. Marant's isn't the only route to success in the advanced contemporary market, but it's not a bad road map for designers eager to build a brand. Watching Ling Liu and Dawei Sun's third runway collection for Cacharel, you wondered why they haven't tried their hands at her more casual, everyday approach to clothes. It might give the collection a currency that it needs in order to survive and thrive in a seriously competitive category.
The show didn't lack for charming pieces: It started strong with a lyrical botanical print on a popover top and Bermuda shorts set, and it ended well, too, with a strapless long dress covered in a colorful abstract goldfish motif. In between, though, it was difficult to fathom why the designers insisted on the cool blues and hot oranges that were used almost exclusively. Certainly there are other, prettier colors. The graphic knits could've used more finessing too. But what was most perplexing were those sheer organza smocked dresses and ruffled skirts. They were prissy when they should've been sassy.