Trends

Most unexpected fashion trends of 2011

Elle Canada
Trends

Most unexpected fashion trends of 2011

Twice a year (and then some if you count resort collections), fashion designers send their creations down the runways of New York, London, Paris and Milan. As trend reports are compiled and fashion addicts make their lists of favourites, the trends trickle down to the mainstream market and are dictated thereafter by the general population. Here’s a roundup of the top trends that surfaced in 2011 that took us by surprise:

Flares/Bell-bottoms
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Derek Lam Spring/Summer 2011

Seen at Derek Lam, Marc Jacobs and Tory Burch for Spring 2011, wider leg pants are certainly having a moment right now. In the years that skinny jeans reigned supreme, it was hard to even imagine a return to the flare, let alone the more exaggerated bell-bottom. But with the return of '70s glam, cuts and silhouettes shifted: Waistlines were raised, fabrics became loose and draped and pant legs went from tightly tailored to roomy and carefree. While there’s still a place for both wide and slim pant legs in current fashion, we love that flares are back in a big way now, and looking forward through to Spring 2012 collections.

Leather everything

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Junya Watanabe Fall/Winter 2011

Leather jackets will always be in style — this closet staple finishes a spring or fall outfit like no other. But for Fall 2011, collections at Chanel and Junya Watanabe, leather went to the next level: Lapels, pockets and sleeves at Chanel and jackets, capes, dresses and pants at Watanabe proved that leather (whether faux or real) is the material of the moment. With Canadian designers like Greta Constantine and Mark Fast now collaborating with Danier in new and interesting ways, we’re seeing leather hit the streets in all shapes and surprising ways.

Sophisticated plaid
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Carven Fall/Winter 2011

Plaid-patterned clothing
used to conjure up one of two visuals: lumberjacks or Scottish weddings. In 2011, we saw plaid go from rustic wear to high-end luxe on fashion designers runways like Sonia Rykiel, Rag & Bone, and Carven. Moving past the grungy flannel of years gone by, 2011 plaid showed up feeling both modern and entirely revived. Our favourite look of the year goes to Carven’s prim yet playful dresses.

What other trends were really unexpectedly popular this year? Find out on the next page...
Turbans
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Jason Wu Spring/Summer 2011

At Spring 2011 collections for Jason Wu, Issa, and Vena Cava, turbans had their respective moments in the spotlight. If you were told just over a year ago that turbans would be a top fashion trend of 2011, you probably wouldn’t believe it, but the modern ways we’ve seen these toppers come from the runway onto the streets (popularized largely by street style blogs), has been impressive to say the least. With a minimalist outfit and the right attitude, the turban of 2011 is totally chic.

Return of the crop top
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Proenza Schouler Spring/Summer 2012

On the streets this summer, we saw “mullet tops” take off (short in front and long in the back) and moving into the New Year, the return of the crop top will be undeniable with Proenza Schouler, Acne, Alexander Wang and Altuzarra all baring midriffs in their Spring 2012 collections. While we thought the days of bare midriffs went to bed with washed up '90s pop stars, here we are again (more than a decade later) watching this trend evolve into its modern counterpart.

In 2011, we saw many fashion trends get translated from fashion shows to everyday looks on city streets; some were expected and others caught us by surprise. The return of the flare and bell-bottom brought us back to '70s silhouettes, leather used in innovative ways evoked a sophisticated '80s revamp, grown-up plaid and crop tops made us look at 90s fashion in a whole new light and turbans caught us completely off guard. Some of these surprising trends will continue on into spring 2012 collections and others will be shelved, making room for a new set of fashion favourites in the years to come.

Read more:
Fall/Winter trend report
The best lace-up boots
How to wear the transparency trend
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Most unexpected fashion trends of 2011