1. The Re-Return of the Wide-Leg Trouser—For some of us, the high-waisted, wide-leg trouser will never really go out of style. So, when we saw it popping up on practically everyone’s runways—the sidewalks outside the shows, included!—we knew these ’70s-inspired bottoms were back with a vengeance. And Marc, Tory, and Tommy all fashioned them to perfection.
2. A Zest For Orange—Rich mango, persimmon, ripe pumpkin—however you slice it, bold orange was one of spring’s sweetest color trends. And whether paired with white at Marc Jacobs or with bad-girl booties at Chris Benz, this intense shade feels fresh once again.
3. Futuristic Militaristic—We have to honor Victoria Bartlett for planting the seeds of this trend when she first launched her line VPL in 2003. And this season, a venerable army of otherworldly whites, straps, and harnesses all pointed to a more ethereal, somewhat abstract take on the more traditional military trends of seasons past.
4. A Full Skirt Moment—The mini craze that has swept closets and women’s gams for the past few years has slowly given way to longer hemlines (could that century-old connection to a conservative economy be true?). But spring’s skirt obsession wasn’t so much about restraint as it was about elegance and sophistication. And the styles we spotted at Marc Jacobs, Suno, and Band Of Outsiders were nothing short of serious statements themselves.
5. The All-Day Pajama Party— We’re not sure how practical it is, but we really, really loved all the many plays on pajama dressing, from Karen Walker’s sleepy-time head-to-toe look to Suno’s slouchy dotted silk trousers.
6. The Old-School Halter Neck— Something about the many appearances of gorgeous halter-necks and unusual necklace-like cinching methods reminded us of a certain someone’s mom from her very glamorous summer days spent by the sea in Ibiza. Almost universally paired with long, languid summer gowns, this little detail yielded lots of impact.
7. Another Study In Neutrals—Maybe it’s Phoebe Philo’s influence at Céline permeating everyone’s mood-boards, or perhaps it’s just the chaotic energy out there in the world that’s driving designers to simplify their palettes, but spring was no stranger to neutrals—especially those warm and soothing shades of sand, camel, and ivory all nicely framed with dark swipes of black.
8. Long and Longer—Again, instead of showing more skin—during a season that loves a lot of it!—designers like Prabal Gurung, Rag & Bone, and Tommy Hilfiger all chose to show less with lots longer skirt and dress lengths. Skimming the floor with knee-high slits or sheer fabrics, these ankle-grazing styles gave the season a much more grown-up, almost serious appeal.
9. The Prettiest Chartreuse Ever—No shade seems to garner as much controversy as chartreuse. No, it’s not for everyone, but thanks to Miuccia Prada back in the day, we’re occasionally introduced to this somber green shade in surprisingly chic ways. And such was the case this season, when designers like Rodarte, Jason Wu, and VPL all ventured into chartreuse territory with abandon…and wonderful results.
10. Dolman Sleeves, Please—Blouses have been gravitating to fuller, boxier, cropped cuts for some time now, so it was no surprise to see so many designers playing around with even fuller silhouettes and classic dolman sleeves. Some of the blouses we saw referenced vintage surf hoodies, while others felt very modern and almost evening-like. Our favorites: Yigal Azrouël and Vena Cava, who managed to give this typically casual piece an old Hollywood sophistication. We loved!
Summary: The days following New York Fashion Week are always somewhat schizophrenic. The dust is barely settling from all the shows, the taxis, and the very late nights, and we’re already wondering what’s to come from London and the rest of the shows on the horizon. But what NYFW does that none of the others do, is lead the way for all those big ideas that anchor the season. The New York collections come first, so we naturally applaud all our favorite designers—from Phillip Lim and Jason Wu to Rag & Bone and Marc Jacobs—for making all of these bold declarations first…and so beautifully. So, herein lies our list of the spring 2011 fashion trends that made the fashion week shows so unique and iconic. And if you’re like us, you’ll want to start giving some of these looks a whirl right now…those high-waisted wide-leg trousers and the dolman sleeve? We’re on it.