Cathy Hardwick: Smooth Selling

Some collections lose their meaning under the big tent. That doesn’t mean Cathy Hardwick didn’t have plenty of solid, salable clothes, but her presentation somehow lacked the impact needed to carry a runway show.

Stores, however, can feast on her cashmeres — especially the T-shirt dresses — and heather-toned slim pants with cropped tops. Hardwick also does some money-in-the-bank wool jersey suits with short jackets and little A-line skirts. But what were basically nice clothes suffered from bad styling: heavy hiking boots with sheer hose, passe pearls and jeweled belts looked all wrong.

Randolph Duke: Duke U

Randolph Duke, who is making a splash on QVC, knows a lot about mass appeal. And it showed up in his first collection for CMT, which glorified the hip preppy. Duke touched on more than a smattering of trends — from ubiquitous plaids and micro skirts to fake fur. He’s revived his contrast-edged suits, this time in bright tweed outlined with plaid instead of leather. He layers them over bodysuits, and even showed a hooded one under a schoolgirl plaid kilt dress. His fake shearlings — oversized swing coats or long, narrow shapes — were so effective, they even looked good on the reverse side.

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