Fashion Week Style

In the spectator sport of fashion, ready-to-wear shows may be the sanctioned events, but often the real action takes place outside the official arena. For us, the street style displayed during these biannual presentations is invariably inspiring and occasionally transformative. In fact, we'd go so far as to say that the edgy clothing combinations and influential ensembles are enough to turn any outfit-watching hobbyist into a high-stakes style stalker!

The idea behind creating this What They Wore: Fashion Week Style was simple. We wanted to take a moment to spotlight some of the women-primarily international industry insiders-who consistently amaze us with their cutting-edge taste. As photographed by trendspotter Anne Ziegler during the Fall 09 shows in New York and Paris, these style savants represent some of the boldest and brightest minds in the fashion world. Many of today's subject are responsible for awe-inspiring runway looks, editorial spreads, and ad campaigns; all of them have the kind of remarkable personal style that should be celebrated and studied. In the hopes of giving you a head start on the latter, we analysed their top street style trends and have broken them down for your learning pleasure.

Fantastical Footwear
One of the most dynamic elements of these ladies' sartorial assemblages is their keen ability to balance the most sensational statement shoes with practicality. After all, they literally have to run around town to catch countless runway shows and make appearances at multiple parties each night, so the heels can't hurt (too much, anyway). Fashion's cognoscenti know that a killer boot or perfect platform has the ability to transform even the most basic outfit, but when worn in tandem with a beautifully executed ensemble, it can be the perfect final touch. Take Stacey Duguid, the executive fashion editor at UK Elle, for example. She wore a knockout plaid coat from London design duo Preen, Janet Collins handbag (formerly of Mulberry), and Burberry shoes, yielding an au courant look while showing off her allegiance to British designers! (Though they aren't straight off the runway, we like the Strappy Buckle Wedge ($184) from ASOS for a similar, budget-friendly alternative.) L'Uomo Vogue's Giovanna Battaglia selected equally striking shoes; her caramel-coloured snakeskin boots set off her neutral A-line skirt, pussy-bowed blouse, and gold drop earrings perfectly. No wonder she's always considered the chicest of the season!

Unexpected Outerwear
The style-savvy set loves to play extremes and isn't afraid to experiment with bold textures and prints when it comes to their outerwear options. When the weather cools down, these fashion insiders opt for some seriously hot statement jackets to keep warm - and we love the end results! French fashion glossy L'Officiel's Sabrina Marshall chose a nubby grey sweater-coat to go with her tapered trousers and oversized clutch, achieving the perfect masculine-feminine androgynous amalgam. And who could overlook Barbara Martelo from Spanish Vogue, who wore a zebra print jacket, fitted leather pants, and Balmain's Fringe Leather Ankle Booties to the Chloe show at the Tuileries. We love the look of a loud printed jacket with cutting edge monochromatic basics in luxurious materials: c'est parfait!

Shock of Colour
One of the many reasons we love to watch how these ladies pull themselves together for fashionable events is to see how they create transitional looks, for those tricky in between seasons. The way in which they blend their winter wardrobes with more warm-weather appropriate pieces shows us how to smartly do the same. One of the best ways we saw this done in Paris and New York was by adding a shock of bright colour to an otherwise neutral or dark outfit. By adding a pale pink slip-like skirt and black jacket, opaques and booties or a shock of red to an otherwise muted grey outfit (as spotted outside of Stella McCartney and Zero Maria Cornejo's S/S 09 runway shows, respectively) these ladies added a fresh accent to their look. To get an equally chic contrast try a red pair of Rich & Skinny's Super Skinny Leg Jeans ($146) tucked into a grey slouchy boot like Steve Madden's Tyller Suede Boot ($100). Another great way to get a terrific transitional look is with a brightly-hued coat, which will create a swath colour, as seen outside of Celine's Paris presentation. A belted mint jacket looks apropos and appealing over a turtleneck sweater-dress, paired with dark Wayfarers and open-toed Marni boots, ideal for making the trek from one glamorous show to the next.

Skinny & Slashed Jeans
Our final thoughts on street style address the most universal of fashion item: jeans. The shape and style that prevails is skinny in fit and slightly slashed at the knee, as seen on Vanessa Coyle, Senior Fashion Editor for British Harper's Bazaar, and stylist Deborah Watson. Coyle's outfit pays homage to the meticulous mash-up of denim and leather à la Riccardo Tisci's Givenchy S/S 09 show, though frankly we like her version better. She wore her cropped motorcycle jacket with rolled up skinny jeans and the perfectly layered denim shirt to the Stella McCartney show, proving that a sophisticated riff on the Texas tuxedo can work, when executed properly. Create your own economical version by layering your favourite moto jacket over BDG's Chambray Shirt ($52) and Forever 21's Stone Wash Skinny Jeans ($20). Watson went for a slightly darker pair with subtle distressing: another great choice. She styled her jeans with a stripped shirt, military jacket, printed scarf, and custom Goyard carryall, confirming her status as a mix-master extraordinaire. Follow her lead by donning J Brand's Wounded Knee Jeans ($189) with Forever 21's Crowns & Chains Satin Scarf ($9) to get an equally admirable look!

All photos by Anne Ziegler.