Distilling dozens of designer collections isn't easy. But after a month-long cavalcade of fashion weeks in the style capitals of Paris, Milan, London and New York, here goes — our picks for the fall-winter 2011 season's top five trends.
Caped crusaders: The newest-looking outerwear pieces for the season are capes and ponchos. There was one or the other in nearly every collection, and choices to suit nearly every mood, from sporty (Rag & Bone) to sleek (Lanvin) to sex kitten (Alexander Wang).
Novelty furs: Fur has been a perennial on the fall-winter runways for several years now. So this season, designers had to use it even more creatively to get our attention — on goggle straps (Wang), dickies (Fendi), cross-body bags (Michael Kors) and even grocery carts that models wheeled down the runway (Jean Paul Gaultier).
Lace: It was the stuff of plains women at Rodarte, ladylike artistes at Bottega Veneta and fetish queens at Louis Vuitton. Lace embellished everything, even the models' faces, at Jason Wu.
Sixties rewind: There were nods to mod at Prada, Yves Saint Laurent, Alberta Ferretti and Versace. And the entire Burberry Prorsum collection was inspired by 1960s supermodel Jean Shrimpton. Other designers (at Jil Sander, Thakoon and Junya Watanabe) took midcentury couture shapes and translated them for today, using modern materials and sportswear accents.
Glam grunge: Forget the greasy hair and thrift store finds of the Kurt and Courtney days. Grunge went glam on the runways at Chanel, Altuzarra, Haider Ackermann, Balenciaga and Alexander Wang, with a long, lanky silhouette and long, loose layers of rich fabric.