Like many designers, Carven
's Guillaume Henry was preoccupied with the nineties this season. And he found an appealing angle into the era, conjuring not its sneering riot grrrls but its sweethearts. "I was thinking about the girls I went to college with, first of all," Henry explained after the show, "but then also about women like Drew Barrymore and Liv Tyler. There was something tough about them, but they also seemed upbeat and approachable." Henry certainly got at the upbeat-ness, what with his bright florals, gingham check, and frisson of rodeo chic. And certain of his pieces, like the buttoned, waistband-free skirts, had a real cool-girl authority. But this collection wasn't entirely convincing. For one thing, the inflated volumes of the jackets came off forced, especially alongside so many trimmer looks that felt fresher. Another quibble was with Henry's emphasis on curvilinear matte-crystal embroidery that read as a bit carbuncular (though the way it had been worked into the garments was impressive when seen up close). More generally, though, Henry just succeeded too well at reanimating the hip mall-rat chick of the late nineties, and fell a touch too short at elevating the reference for the runway. That said, there were plenty of items here that ought to sell like hotcakes, starting with those buttoned skirts and ending with the bow-tied slingback platforms.