Paris Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2011 Round-up

In contrast to the 21st-century minimalism displayed by designers in Autumn/Winter 2010-11 Paris Fashion Week, Spring/Summer collections were an ostentatious display of bold colours and patterns. Rebellion against the subdued Fall wardrobe came in the form of leopard, poppy and star prints, vibrant orange, violet and blue shades and punk and oriental influences.

Although the white trend seen at New York Fashion Week continued with pure white head-to-toe statements at Dries van Noten and Chloe, to name a few, Paris Fashion Week injected a splash of colour into Spring/Summer wardrobes. The colour of the week was blue, from rich teal and sapphire to pastel sky; blue pieces were peppered amongst almost every collection. Elie Saab and Celine presented block colours of blue whilst Louis Vuitton and Dior showcased bold prints in various blue hues.

best dresses paris fashion week

(L-R: Elie Saab, Louis Vuitton, Dior)

Early 90s Grunge made a stylish reappearance, with a futuristic interpretation bringing the Rock ‘n’ Roll trend bang up to date. Balmain’s Christophe Decarnin used Sid Vicious, the poster boy for punk, as the perfect muse. He presented a rebellious army adorned in safety pins, distressed and smudged flag prints, slashed t-shirts and an abundance of leather, against a Sex Pistols backdrop.  John Paul Gaultier paid homage to Joan Jett with unkempt black mullets, creating a tough femininity through contrasting leopard prints and lace against leather. The look at Balenciaga was polished and futuristic with houndstooth and creeper brogues, further reinforcing the conclusion that punk’s definitely not dead.

(L-R: Balmain, Jean Paul Gaultier, Givenchy)

Tailoring inspired by the clean, sharp lines of men’s formalwear was another huge trend in Paris. Sleek, structured jackets were worn over crisp white shirts at Hermes and Dries van Noten. “It’s going to be a boyish season,” stated Nicolas Ghesquière, the creative director of Balenciaga, in reference to his Spring/Summer collection. Tuxedo suits were worn with red and black leather shorts for a futuristic new take on power dressing. A monochromatic palette was the defining theme, with grey suit jackets paired with slim leg trousers at Lanvin whilst Riccardo Tisci at Givenchy showcased deconstructed, sleeveless tuxedo jackets, marking the emergence of a confident new woman for the season ahead.

(L-R: Hermes, Stella MacCartney, Dries van Noten)


In direct contrast to the masculine styling’s favoured by many designers at Paris Fashion Week, a few key collections showcased dresses that would not look out of place in a romantic, whimsical fairytale. The focus was on the soft silhouette created by liberally draping sheer, almost weightless fabrics, from floor sweeping gowns to flirty mini dresses. The colour palette was refined, with dresses appearing in a variety of dusty and pastel shades. Chloe’s Hannah MacGibbon took inspiration from the ballerina, pairing pleated sheer dresses with satin ballet flats to produce a delicate and elegant collection whilst Nina Ricci introduced flirty ruffles as a more playful interpretation of the trend.

(L-R: Chloe, Elie Saab, Nina Ricci)

Undoubtedly the most highly anticipated show of Paris Fashion Week was the showcasing of Alexander McQueen’s’ Spring/Summer 2011 collection, with Sarah Burton making her debut as the brands director. After working alongside the ‘enfant terrible’ of fashion for 14 years, she proved herself as more than competent to continue the legacy of the brand. Sarah Burtons’ connection to McQueen’s’ vision was clear in every aspect of every garment, from fabric and pattern to shape and structure. In leaves of black leather and dresses constructed predominantly from feathers and wheat and even gilded butterflies, the intricate craftsmanship behind the designs was startlingly flawless. One noticeable change was the subtle yet peaceful femininity that graced the collection. The collection was almost ethereal, inspired by nature and pagan goddesses, with garments that would not seem out of place in the 70s film, The Wicker Man. The fantasy surrounding the late designers theatrical work remained alive in a more delicate, magical collection that was unmistakeably, reassuringly McQueen.

Paris Fashion Week was full of surprising contradictions, from tough punk to delicate ballerina and bohemian goddess to femme fatale. The time has come to say goodbye to the neutral and camel hues favoured by the Autumn/Winter season and embrace an optimistic new colour palette.

(All images courtesy of

by Lauren Waine

Lauren Waine is a 21 year old third year student studying BSc Fashion and Textile Retailing at The University of Manchester. Lauren is interested in all aspects of fashion, from current trends to the history of design. Lauren plans to move to London next year to study MA Fashion Journalism.

Gabrielle Teare is the best Personal Stylist and best Personal Shopper in London.





Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

thirteen + four =