Runway Rundown: Spring 2012, New York, Day 3 and 4

VPL
Victoria Bartlett's futuristic under pinnings have evolved into a seriously covetable ready to wear collection that fits right in alongside the likes of Rag & Bone and Alexander Wang. Judging by her spring line, Victoria was privvy to the sportswear memo, but managed to do it in a way that distinguishes her line from the rest. It's almost like a modern take on survival wear, with structured pieces layered over slim, purposely draped knits and jerseys. The collection is mostly neutral, but with several bold splashes of green, orange and abstract prints. Whatever Barlett is doing, she's doing it right. Carry on.

Victoria Beckham
I remain thoroughly impressed with how far Victoria Beckham has come since her days as Posh Spice. Her latest collection shows a new level of maturity as a designer, with a slight veering away from the stern shapes she began her career with. The slim silhouettes are still there, but they're more forgiving and even have several utilitarian touches in the form of suspender-like straps and several sportier shapes. The palette is neutral with splashes of tangerine and muted metallics. It's a grown up look that takes on the athletic trend that's clearly going to be prevalent next spring, but in a classy way that ensures the pieces remain wardrobe staples for years to come.

Altuzarra
Altuzarra's army parka is at the top of my wish list for fall 2011. It's sold out everywhere—and out of my price range—so I'm lucky he's given me something else to focus my attention on, in the form of his spring collection. Next season, Altuzarra is giving up sportswear with a sophisticated edge. It's clearly embracing the season's trends, but you wouldn't dare put any of these on to hit the gym. The lines are sharper and more elegant, giving the pieces a higher end appeal that works on the street and for a formal night out.

Alexander Wang
Well, Alexander Wang has done it again! The boy genius showcased a covetable spring collection full of solid, edgy designs and exceptional accessories. It's sporty cool done with his signature downtown swagger. Modern geometric screen prints and knits were juxtaposed with busy tropical patterns, sheer panels and sporty mesh. I love the sophisticated take on sporty without veering into overly baggy. This ensures the pieces will work on any number of tastes and body types.

Derek Lam
Derek Lam does sportswear, and he does it well. Clean lines and tailored pieces that fit perfectly were the name of the game. But there's something about sportswear done by a California boyy that gives prim pieces a different kind of cool. Maybe it's the top done in leather, or the sheer blouse with structured lapels. Perhaps it's the abstract print you'd love to wear at the Getty Villa. Derek Lam's skills are in pieces that'll make a home in your closet and never leave and he didn't disappoint for next spring.

Helmut Lang
Helmut Lang returned to the runway with Nicole and Michael Colovos at the helm after a five year hiatus. The clothes were everything you've come to expect from the brand, elegant, urban and drapey with their unique brand of city cool. Neutrals were the name of the game except for the sunshine yellow pieces that were a definite shock to the senses. With the reputation the brand has for cool pieces everyone loves to own, there was no need to reinvent the wheel, and they didn't. They did however give you a reminder why you loved the brand to begin with.

Prabal Gurung
Where to even begin with Prabal Gurung's spring collection? This season was a clear departure from his previous collections, but I'm not objecting to his more vibrant and dynamic direction. Sure, it was overwhelming, what with the saturated color palette, sheer cutouts, creative use of textiles and kaleidoscope of prints. But I loved it, and it made me smile from start to finish. There was a clear Asian influence in the designs, but it was subtly done—no Mandarin collars or obis to be found. Overall, the pieces were daring and sexy, sleek and structured, but not overly so. There could have been a few less embellished pieces, but overall it's one of my faves for the season.

Thakoon
Thakoon made a big statement for fall that he's carried over into spring. He's proud to be bold and not turning back. The collection was one statement piece after another in daring colors and dashing prints, with nary a neutral to be found. It's almost like the prairie hoe down on acid, except in this case it was the prairie on a Bollywood trip—not too different, really. Although some of the pieces have questionable staying power as far as classics go, there was more than one piece that I wouldn't mind seeing in my wardrobe come spring.

All photos: Imaxtree