Christopher Straub Spring/Summer 2012

Project Runway Season Six contestant Christopher Straub showed his Spring/Summer 2012 collection at the Westin Hotel in Edina, Minn. this afternoon, to benefit the Child Neurology Foundation. I found it to be quite an improvement over previous collections in both design and construction.

Straub's prints, my favorite part of the show, were beautiful and in keeping with the current psychedelic trend. His strongest garments also happened to be the simplest, such as a chic white snakeskin jacket and skirt, and sleek dresses, skirts and tops in the aforementioned print. His tailoring, especially with the jackets, was flawless. I spotted very few fit issues throughout the presentation.

Straub showed a range of silhouettes, from long, flowing dresses to an agressive, spiky black statement dress and skirt that looked rather painful to sit in. His palette was cohesive, with the main themes being the psychedelic print, white snakeskin and black spikes. He made a impressive snakeskin finale gown (last photo) — a tricky feat to pull off, but it looked rather elegant, especially on the Swinton-esque model.

Some problems arose in the details. I disliked the ruffles and thought they cheapened what would've been an elegant garment in each instance. I also thought the black dress with the spikes on the shoulder looked awkward and oddly shaped. But my least favorite piece was the black dress with the shiny black circle appliques. It made the model look like she was covered in hundreds of miniature records ... not to mention inexpensive.

In my opinion, Straub's best results are the simplest — a well-cut jacket, sleek dresses and separates, and eye-catching prints. No need to add ruffles or hundreds of shiny appliques, the latter of which probably wouldn't sell as well as simpler designs anyway. Leather will likely always appear in his body of work — as it should. Not a lot of designers know how to work with leather, but he does.

Straub is clearly improving as a designer by leaps and bounds. He just needs a little editing and some steering in the right direction, which, judging by his growth thus far, is exactly where he's headed.

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