SS11 fashion week was filled with amazing collections, which were in turn filled with inventive and unique fashions. We couldn't just pick ten, so we've selected 20 top looks for you instead.
Alexander McQueen Sarah Burton's
It was street punk at Balenciaga this season, and what a sexy punk she was. Short minis and reflective textures were just the start of the street-style that infiltrated the runway. This look is both tough and sexy, boyish with a dose of something so unapologetically girly: a sheer, short skirt.
Phoebe Philo can do no wrong by the fashion set's standards. While I'm not one to jump on bandwagons, her SS11 collection for Céline was pretty darn close to perfect. Every look was spot on trend and could have walked right off the runway and onto the street. While every woman will probably point to a different look as her favorite (that's the beauty of Céline, isn't it?), this one is mine. It combines so many difficult elements--stripes, pants, bold colors, and white--yet they are synthesized with ease.
Dolce & Gabbana
"Tabletop to runway" was the theme at Dolce & Gabbana this season. Inspired by the tablecloths and curtains of Sicily's homes, Dolce and Gabbana's virginal fantasy couldn't help but be a bit naughty. The notoriously sexy Sicilians pulled down their hemlines and headed to the chapel, but it was no saintly affair; the peek-a-boo lace details in this look give it that coquettish bit of sex appeal that's at the heart of their collections.
Dries van Noten
Only weeks since the SS11 season ended and this look is already iconic. Everyone that compiled a slideshow of the Paris collections had this look in it, and the internet has been abuzz singing its praise. Comprised of so many familiar elements (the white shirt, the navy blazer, the statement scarf), its Dries van Noten's singular tailoring that makes this look so desirable by women everywhere. It has everything, and yet looks just as comfortable as a worn cotton tee. Plus, a lilac fur scarf is pretty hard to resist.
Giles is one of the few designers that's not afraid to step outside the lines of traditional fashion shows. Casting tabloid sensations and top models, his show was among the most buzzed about of LFW. The best part, though, was his mix of cartoon-y, comfy clothes. This ensemble pairs candy colored sneakers, a kooky intarsia sweater, and dot-print pajama pants to create a look that is unmistakably cool, but not for the weak of heart.
Ricardo Tisci's showing at Givenchy this season wasn't the most well-received show, leaving many perplexed and unsatisfied with his vision of spring. The short/long relationship worked best when it was at its simplest, in monochromes and subtle prints that allowed Tisci's pristine tailoring to show. This look is unique in its form and embodies Givenchy's tough, sexy, dark, and somber vibe.
Haider Ackermann did what no one else could for SS11, revive the moto-chic trend. Deconstructing and reconstructing the classic motorcycle jacket to produce a vampy take on evening wear is no easy feat, but Ackermann succeeds with panache, making his vision stand out in a sea of white, minimalist ensembles.
Breton stripes are about the oldest play in the book when it comes to French fashion, but through the eyes of Junya Watanabe they take on an amazing new life. Watanabe plays off their wearability, adding a purist idea of form to create a look that is breathtaking. Directly referencing French culture and yet without a being distinctly French, this look is international fashion at its best.
Season after season, year after year, one phrase is uttered in the descriptions of Alber Elbaz's showings at Lanvin: "He understands what real women need." It's become almost necessary for someone to use these words even when mentioning Elbaz in conversation. It would be a truly annoying cliché, except that it's true. Out of all the designers working today, Elbaz is among a handful who consistently send out beautiful, happy, and elegant models on the runway, and for that women worship him. But he's no traditionalist. This sexy take on the power suit has just the right amount of oomph to turn heads at night and be wearable in the day.
Mary Katrantzou will take you to another world with her SS11 collection. This dress, adorned with a dreamt up scene-scape, is as statuesque as it is surreal.
While the stars stole the show at Miu Miu, it was the swans that really stood out. Evoking a 1930s glamor and a weird sense of japonisme, this look is just the fix for a sophisticated party girl with a sense of humor.
Like the shot heard 'round the world, the simultaneous gasp heard in Lincoln Center when Freja walked in this creme dress was a momentous event. Classic, minimalist, pure, stunning--all words that could describe Rodriguez's show--but it's this look that dropped jaws. If universal beauty exists, this dress is it.
In theory, this Prada look should be hideous. A cobalt and black thick-striped cotton top with a gray and black faux rococo skirt, art nouveau sunglasses in white, and gigantic stripe-soled stompers.... It sounds terrible. And yet with Miuccia's swift hand and ability to move from style to style effortlessly, it all comes together in something modern. Each piece is so strong on its own, but with Prada's magic they make an unforgettable look.
Girls became ladies this season at Proenza Schouler. The tough aesthetic that defines the label evolved into neon colors and hard edged lace, elements that felt warm in a season of stark coolness. The acid yellow and black ruffles in this ensemble are delicate and strong, creating a feeling that is purely Proenza.
Rick Owens went somewhere new this season, to a state of control. His signature somber looks were expertly crafted in twists and turns. The minidress is not an Owens staple, so it's interesting to see what he does with the somewhat unfamiliar style. The complexity of the draping and effortless effect make this dress perfect for goths and princesses alike.
Rodarte's SS11 venture left most speechless. Not only did they create more wearable and easily-produced clothes, but they also managed to transform 1970s California into a series of desirable dresses. The faux wood print was their most successful translation of the NorCal aesthetic, working wonderfully here in a structured minidress. Not since Schiaparelli's faux bois dress from the 1930s has forest dressing seemed so luxe.
Viktor & Rolf
The plain white shirt. It's a staple of wardrobes everywhere, so, naturally, Viktor & Rolf decided to redo it in their fantastical style. While they offered many larger than life interpretations for spring, this look was among the most memorable. Equipped with a long train, Viktor & Rolf's white shirt is business in the front, party in the back. It's funny and stylish at the same time, the kind of thing you'd expect to see on an avant-garde trendsetter or a sophisticated bride.
Yves Saint Laurent
Stefano Pilati's SS11 for YSL may be most remembered for Cathy Horyn's comments ("boring"), but among the severely chic looks there were some resounding highlights. This black one-piece is seriously stylish and would look amazing on a woman-about-town. Paired with the center part and blood-red lips, this complete look is a showstopper.
Raf Simons got the season right.