In 2011, fashion was more accessible than ever before. The world's newest fashion icon and royal, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, was photographed shopping at affordable chain stores. Designers talked directly to fans on TV and Twitter, and sold cheap chic collections on EBay, at H&M, Target and Macy's. There was so much information and so many opinions out there about fashion, that at times, it was difficult to find any consensus, much less a trend. But here are my picks:
1) Hot hues. Bright color is a trend that we saw simultaneously on the red carpet (Emma Stone, top left, in that pink-and-red Giambattista Valli dress at the "Friends With Benefits" premiere) on the runways (at Jil Sander, 3.1 Philip Lim, Prabal Gurung, Roksanda Ilincic) and on the streets, or rather, the fields at the Coachella Music and Arts Festival, where neon reigned supreme. And it's only going to get stronger for spring 2012.
2) Dip-dyed hair. Kate Bosworth, Katy Perry and Lauren Conrad are just a few of the celebs who sported rainbow-colored tips this year. But I knew it was officially a trend when the 10-year-old boy sitting next to me at Sally Hershberger was getting a (very expensive) blue streak put in his tresses. Only in L.A.
3) Colored denim. Are you seeing a theme here? Skinny jeans didn't go anywhere this year. In fact, they were more popular than ever thanks to a widening range of color options available everywhere from J. Brand (above) to Forever 21.
4) Native accents. Fair Isle knits and Native American prints were splashed across everything from 1980s-era cropped tops, to chunky scarves, leggings and sweaters. If you're looking for the source, think back to the fall 2010 D&G runway (a Fair Isle fest as seen in the top right photo), Proenza Schouler's fall 2011 collection inspired by Santa Fe, and the music festivals.
5) Women in tuxedos. Beyonce wore a sequin Dolce & Gabbana tux at the VMA Awards, and Kim Kardashian (who is not one to cover up) wore one to pose for her family Christmas card. Tory Burch custom made her first tuxedo for pal Kanye West to wear to the Costume Institute Gala in May, then debuted her own range of tuxedos for women. But really, on a woman or a man, tuxedos (or le smoking as Yves Saint Laurent called them) are timeless.
6) Designer duds for a song. Missoni at Target (above right) and Versace at H&M, both out this year, were two of the most successful cheap chic collections of all time, as designers continued to go downmarket to increase the visibility of their brands and bring their style to a new generation of shoppers. The Missoni collection was a zippity zig-zag joy, and the Versace for H&M collection -- more Gianni than Donatella, more South Beach than Milano -- may have been the best Versace collection in years.
7) The new sobriety. Thank you Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, (above left) for bringing modesty and appropriateness back to the public forum with your demure shift dresses, tailored coats and classic pumps.
8) McQueen mania. It was the royal wedding of the century, and the bride wore Alexander McQueen. The bad boy British designer may have died last year, but his fashion label has never been more popular thanks to the stunning designs of artistic director Sarah Burton, who is carrying on his legacy. More than half a million people went to see "Savage Beauty," the retrospective exhibition of his work, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, kicking off a frenzy among museum curators the world over to come up with more fashion programming.
9) Fur and feathers flying. From feather hair clips to feather earrings, ombre fur coats to oversized fur handbags, this year we fawned over fauna. Except in West Hollywood, where last month, the City Council passed a ban on fur sales that will take effect in 2013 -- and could push some high-end fashion retailers out of the neighborhood.
10) Shock and awe. It was a clash of tutus, animal prints and fried chicken necklaces, as Nicki Minaj (above left) and Lady Gaga (above right) tried to out-weird each other with wacky outfits this year. But fashion's tolerance for weird is high (how else to explain the fascination with Daphne Guinness?) and we loved it.
-- Booth Moore
Top left photo: Emma Stone attends the "Friends with Benefits" premiere at Ziegfeld Theater on July 18, 2011 in New York City wearing Giambattista Valli. Credit: Stephen Lovekin / Getty Images
Top right photo: A model wears a fur and Fair Isle creation of D&G by Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana during the Milan Fashion Week fall-winter 2010/2011 in Milan. Credit: Jonas Gustavsson and Peter Stigter / For The Times
Second left photo: A model in a pink ombre fur jacket at the Prabal Gurung autumn-winter 2011/2012 runway shows. Credit: Jonas Gustavsson and Peter Stigter / For The Times
Second right photo: Colorful jeans from J Brand. Credit: J Brand
Third left photo: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge at the University of St. Andrews on Feb. 25 in St Andrews, Scotland. Credit: Chris Jackson / Getty Images.
Third right photo: The Missoni for Target collection debuted to unprecedented demand on Sept. 13, bringing the designer label's signature prints and patterns to apparel and accessories ranging in price from $2.99 to $599.99. Credit: Target
Bottom left photo: Nicki Minaj performs during the Victoria's Secret fashion show in New York on Nov. 9. Credit: Brad Barket / Associated Press
Bottom right photo: Lady Gaga, wearing Alexander McQueen, poses with her International Pop award during the Bambi awarding ceremony in Wiesbaden, Germany, on Nov. 10. Credit: Daniel Roland / AFP/Getty Images