1 Yves Saint Laurent This runway season, many designers have referenced the work of the man, Yves Saint Laurent. So it goes without saying that the house, Yves Saint Laurent, would need to be the definitive voice on these ideas. Stefano Pilati’s collection intelligently and beautifully reinvented the master’s trademarks including the smoking tuxedo jacket, the color orange, longish ruffled dresses and more — with strong results. They were exactly the kind of vibrant, feminine clothes that Pilati needed to show after last season’s lukewarmly received, clinical looks. They captured the trends of the season in an exceptionally memorable way.
2 Vanessa Bruno A bumping sound track of Rye Rye had Lou Doillon and singer Nneka dancing in their front row seats. The clothes — mostly teeny tiny shorts and asymmetrical neon floral print dresses — had a similar “where’s the party?” vibe. It was all very fun and flirty, a slight departure from Bruno’s usually effortlessly cool look, and brought to mind humid nights spent clubbing in Miami.
3 Chanel Always known for his mastery of the theatrical in fashion, Karl Lagerfeld staged the ultimate garden party with models walking through an elaborate runway set modeled after the landscaped greenery of Versailles. The looks, easily the most sublime of the week, ranged from ethereal (fantastical, couture-like tiered gowns with tulle and feathers) to whimsical (tweed suits with frayed edges). At the end of a long week of shows, the collection was a burst of energy for Paris.
4 Elie Saab Considering that Saab’s high-wattage glamour is a mainstay on the Hollywood red carpet, it’s not too surprising that he would hone in on the seventies for spring/summer ‘11. But rather than churning out literal looks from the decade, he used the period as a springboard for a series of salmon, green, ivory and slate cocktail dresses and gowns that merely hinted at the reference. The collection featured plenty of ruching, draping and shimmery embellishments to keep the paparazzi cameras flashing come Oscar season, the kind of universally appealing elements that helps a woman get on the tabloid best dressed lists.