By Bronwyn Barnes
September 18, 2012 at 07:47 PM EDT
Mark Von Holden/Getty Images; (inset) Chelsea Laur

But what I really want to do is design…

Whether they’re looking for a new career path, waiting for the next big movie role to come along, or just have a passion for fashion, stars are launching their own labels left and right.

What happens when they put their creations on display for editors, buyers and industry critics? Click through the gallery to read the reviews of the five most buzzed-about celebrity collections at New York Fashion Week and vote for your favorite in our PopStyle poll.

Victoria Beckham: Victoria Beckham

She built her brand on the appeal of her own edgy look, but Beckham’s latest collection moved beyond the body-conscious.

“She broadened her range with some [dresses] that skewed casual, including trompe l’oeil charmers that feigned separates,” Women’s Wear Daily said of the minimalist line. “Beckham still offered plenty of the alluring curvature that she’s made her own and that her customer loves.”

“With a graphic, clean, and focused collection that introduced new proportions and elements to her characteristic body-conscious line, Victoria Beckham continues to grow her brand with quiet assurance and intelligence,” Vogue‘s Hamish Bowles wrote. “Paired with Stephen Jones’ slouchy black felt scarecrow hats, and mannish flats designed with Manolo Blahnik, [bias-cut midi skirts] signaled a refreshing new direction for the designer.”

Next: Venus Williams

Venus Williams: EleVen by Venus

“The EleVen spring line is full of on-trend elements such as color-blocking, graphic prints, chambray and a chic color palette,” said USA Today‘s Arianne Thompson.

“What a genius move to present the clothes being worn for activities beyond tennis–and in action,” was the Huffington Post‘s verdict on the tennis star’s decision to use athletes and dancers in place of professional models at the Fashion Week re-launch of her sportswear line. “Colorblocked tanks, lightweight separates and floral printed dresses that were inspired by Monet’s Giverny garden served as the collection’s most exciting pieces.” The line was so exciting, it elicited a post-presentation standing ovation and cries of “Bravo!” from Vogue‘s own Andre Leon Talley, according to the New York Post.

Next: Katie Holmes

Katie Holmes: Holmes & Yang

Undoubtedly the most talked-about presentation at New York Fashion Week, there was nothing over-the-top about the first collection officially shown by Katie Holmes and co-designer Jeanne Yang. Unfortunately, not every critic thought that was a good thing.

“Fourteen outfits on 14 models, none of them especially interesting other than that the models’ hair was pulled back into a ponytail in the style of Katie Holmes,” New York Times fashion writer Eric Wilson wrote. “A navy strapless dress, some slouchy leather pants, a motorcycle jacket and a dress with a questionable floral print – it was all perfectly commercial, but none of it added up to a statement.”

Editors from Elle and Glamour liked the line’s understated wearability, while LA Times fashion critic Booth Moore hedged her bets. “Could Holmes and Yang be the next Row, the line designed by Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen? Or the next Victoria Beckham? We’ll see,” Moore demurred. “First, Holmes and Yang have to show us more about what their particular brand of fashion is all about.”

Next: Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen

Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen: The Row

The sisters already have plenty of street cred in the fashion industry, having won the 2012 CFDA Award for Womenswear Designers of the Year, but the buzzwords they chose to describe their spring 2013 collection were a lot to live up to.

“English country garden. The scrolls of Japanese painter Ito Jakuchu. A bit of American folk. Minimalism. Lots of silks. Those were the catchwords Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen offered prior to their showing of The Row,” WWD reported. “As it turns out, the designers invoked the first three cryptically, and gorgeously so. Theirs is a very specific take on minimalism, with a quiet grandeur and authority that values elegance over edge. Whether they know it or not, the Olsens are the aesthetic descendants of Zoran and Ronaldus Shamask.”

“Indeed, it’s hard to believe that these are the same designers who built a brand on slouchy T-shirts and sexy leather leggings,” said Style.com‘s Nicole Phelps. “This quietly accomplished collection was just about as far removed in ambition and mood from their origin story as can be.”

Next: Avril Lavigne

Avril Lavigne: Abby Dawn

While many outlets skipped the show altogether, others chose to focus not on the clothes, but on Lavigne’s decision to cast Kylie Jenner as a model. “Oh dear. Another Miley Cyrus in the making?” the Hollywood Reporter lamented. “Let us pray…”

The reviews that did come in for Lavigne’s latest collection were not exactly kind.”I was so, so wrong. Wrong in thinking this show would consist of anything other than skull motifs, studs, spikes, and super-controversial f-word prints. There was ripped denim. There was leather (pleather?). There was black lace. There was a tee that read “I F*cking Love You Bitch” inside a heart (aww!). And garters with no stockings attached. Obviously. Pieces had names like ‘Hellraiser,’ ‘Play Me,’ ‘Ghoul School,’ and ‘F*ck Off Forever.’ BTW Avril Lavigne is in her late-20s. Just sayin’,”  declared Fashionista, summing up the presentation as a “mall fashion show for Hot Topic amped on Pixy Stix.”

Which celebrity-designed clothing line would you wear? Cast your vote in the poll below!

reporting by Nakisha Williams

Follow Bronwyn on Twitter: @BronwynBarnes

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