One look at the sea of black- and camel-clad fashion editors at the shows this season, and it's clear that a new minimalist aesthetic is taking root.
The female designers at the helm of the Celine, Stella McCartney and Chloe brands have all espoused a streamlined look, although Celine designer Pheobe Philo's monumental fall collection was certainly the game changer.
Which is why everyone was so eager to see how she would follow it up for spring. Smartly, Philo continued in the same vein, while adding a bit of color and craftsy detail.
First, the basics: an impeccable white cotton square-neck tunic, a beautifully-cut jacket with cape sleeves, trousers that hang on the hips just so, and a khaki skirt that wraps in back.
Adding texture were slick leather tops, nubby blue linen trousers, and marled knits resembling indigenous craft.
Some trousers came with a narrow band of color at the waistband, which was a chic touch. But the vivid stripes and tiny geometric patterns splashed across boxy silk tops and pants were more of a puzzle. Still, this collection was solid enough to keep the cult of Celine going.
Celine spring-summer 2011 runway collection photo gallery
Stella McCartney's collection, on the other hand, was a bit wobbly. She borrowed her best pieces from the boys and offered them in pastel colors, including straight-line, shawl- collar blazers (one sleeveless with a racerback), paired with cropped flat-front trousers and knit polo shirts.
But when she dabbled in denim, things went awry. An oversized denim tunic dress with dropped shoulders, chambray culottes and a boxy denim jacket lacked designer polish. As did the citrus print on split-front skirts and dresses, which brought to mind vintage dish towels.
Still, the wicker bags and low-heeled cork sandals that had half the front row swooning are proof plenty of McCartney's down-to-earth appeal.
Stella McCartney spring-summer 2011 runway collection photo gallery
Hannah MacGibbon's Chloe collection may actually have been the strongest of the three. She looked to ballet for inspiration, pairing open-back leotards and long pleated chiffon or tulle skirts in pale makeup shades, with soft-sole ballet shoes. (Come spring, it looks like we won't be raiding the Army Navy store for inexpensive fashion finds any more, but we might be hitting Capezio.)
The graceful mood continued with draped silk jersey dresses, white cotton poplin shirtdresses with bow-tied sashes, and a white daisy-dotted dress.
Meanwhile, precision-cut tailored crepe coats and dresses were complemented by slick metal accents, such as a silver bow belt, and sandals with thick leather ankle straps and gold block-heels.
It was MacGibbon's best Chloe collection yet. And together, these three female designers are on their way to changing the way women dress.
Chloe spring-summer 2011 runway collection photo gallery
-- Booth Moore in Paris
Photo top, from left to right: Looks from the spring-summer 2011 Celine, Stella McCartney and Chloe runway collections. Credit: Jonas Gustavsson & Peter Stigter / For The Times. Photo left and right: looks from Celine. Credit: Jonas Gustavsson & Peter Stigter / For The Times. Photo middle: Looks from the Stella McCartney runway show. Credit: Jonas Gustavsson & Peter Stigter / For The Times. Photo bottom left and right: Looks from the Chloe runway show. Credit: Jonas Gustavsson & Peter Stigter / For The Times.