1 Chanel: Part of the fun of a Chanel show is seeing how Karl Lagerfeld will reinterpret the house’s signatures. A coal miner’s daughter in tricked out tweed at a swanky Paris nightclub? On Karl Lagerfeld’s ash covered runway in Paris’s Grand Palais, it weirdly made sense. He sent out a dark and fantastical array of beautifully constructed looks, including miniskirts over skinny trousers, tweed boleros and jumpsuits for evening — all worn with tough-girl biker boots. Romantic lace balanced out the hard edginess of it all.
2 Yves Saint Laurent: Prince of Wales check, long the stuff of stodgy old English men, has all of a sudden become cool again. After surfacing in the New York and Milan shows, it popped up again in Stefano Pilati’s masterfully tailored collection. He showed lots of suits in the classic print, in vaguely ’60s silhouettes, before segueing into a group of white, fluid, silk dresses that had a more ’70s feeling. This was a seriously chic, thoroughly grown-up collection that seemed to look back on the earlier days of Yves Saint Laurent’s ready-to-wear — a time when women dressed up more than they wore jeans and tees. It’s not easy designing in the shadow of a legend who is the subject of one glowing retrospective after the next (the exhibition “Saint Laurent: Rive Gauche, La Revolution de la Mode” is currently on show in Paris), but Pilati’s fall collection seemed to be a strong rebuttal to those rumors that his days designing for the house might be numbered.
3 Jean Paul Gaultier: How does that saying go? 50 is the new 30? 40 is the new 20? Both were true at Jean Paul Gaultier’s show, which had gray-haired, bouffant-donning models, dressed in sophisticated tweed, pinstripe and fur, walking down the runway and stripteasing before the cameras. It was a little Cougarville. But the clothes, when stripped away of the geriatric wigs, had a transgenerational appeal. His sexy, printed silk blouses and leather and wool hybrid coats would look good on a woman of any age.
4 Chloe: Imagine the ’70s feeling of Chloe’s fall 2010 collection combined with the lightness of its spring ’11 collection, with python prints and leather mixed in. That’s the direction Hannah MacGibbon took her clothes in for fall, updating and refining the easy, breezy look she’s become known for. She tweaked her wide-leg trousers, which came in python prints and leather, by dropping them a bit on the waist and creating more slouch in the legs. Her soft, beige dress also got the python print treatment and a slightly longer, more fluid look. Altogether, the collection made a chic way of sustaining the ’70s trend, which should please all of the women who spent so much money investing in it.
5 Collette Dinnigan: It was arguably one of her best shows in several seasons: a series of pretty, Parisian dresses in structured shapes that had hints of the ’50s. Highlights included a series of sheer, embroidered, organza dresses that were both prim and provocative.
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