Credit: Mathieu Young/The CW ©2010 The CW Network Photo: Zac Posen on ANTM

Watching the ANTM models walk in Zac Posen’s designs for his lower-priced line, Z Spoke, this season, you’d never know there was anything wrong. The contestants and judges both poured praise all over Posen for his creative talent and fun, flirty aesthetic. But, then again, those were the clothes were from his Fall 2010 collection. When the designer presented his Spring 2011 Zac Posen collection in Paris last month, the critical response came down hard. First there was the fact that Posen moved his label from New York to Paris because in Europe, he said, “my clothes are respected.” Then there was his choice to show in the same opulent hotel ballroom where Yves Saint Laurent used to show his couture collection. But neither point would have mattered if the critics didn’t feel that Posen over-embellished his designs. Apparently, they experienced flirty overdrive.

Womens Wear Daily reported that, “On the whole, the collection veered dangerously into tawdry territory, especially when feathers were trapped under mesh, jutting out from hips or splayed over bosoms. The painted-on pants and rampant bodice wrapping took Posen far from the girly glam for which he’s known. In coming to Paris, something was definitely lost in translation.”

Suzy Menkes for the New York Times said, “Daytime? Perhaps Mr. Posen thought he had sorted that with the debut of his second Z-Spoke collection in New York. Or maybe, if you are thinking showgirls, the outfit for a noontime wake-up coffee would be a body-skimming mesh jumpsuit, perhaps with a curvy little jacket. And feathers.”

Finally Style.com ended with, “Subtlety has never been Posen’s MO, nor are we suggesting it should be, but it wouldn’t have hurt if he’d picked up a few pointers on chic simplicity from Monsieur Saint Laurent.”