From Inspiration to Runway: Fall 2011 Fashion Week

The varied inspirations behind the Fall 2011 collections ran the gamut from rainbow-streaked chard at Libertine to Miss Havisham at Marchesa. Here's how they played out on the runway.

14 photos
left: Jenni Avins, right: Getty Images
left: Jenni Avins, right: Getty Images
As designers share the sources of their ideas, we illustrate how their inspiration plays out on the runway. A vegetable might seem an unlikely muse, but designer Johnson Sartig did a lovely job interpreting the rainbow-streaked chard from his garden for Libertine's Fall 2011 collection.
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The fictional Miss Havisham inspired designers like Marchesa's Georgina Chapman and Karen Craig. As pictured above, the designers used embroidery, lace, and raw edges to channel the Dickens' character's romantic decay.
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Prabal Gurung also cited Miss Havisham's heartbreak as an inspiration for his collection this season, which was heavily romantic - and red.
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Christian Cota's red came from a very different place. The designer found his inspiration in the Himalayas, integrating what he called "a flash of holy Tibetan red," as pictured on the monk above, into his F/W2011 collection.
Cota also said mountaineers were his muses this season, a detail that manifested itself in closures like the gold-tone carabiner, pictured above.
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Fashion icon Iris Apfel, 89, was a presence in the audience at a handful of Fall 2011 shows. We also suspect her image was tacked up on a or two, considering that older, eccentrically-dressed ladies were cited as a source of inspiration for more than a few designers.
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"Old ladies!" said Suno's designer Erin Beatty, of her Fall/Winter 2011 inspiration, citing their worldly wisdom, sophisticated hairdos, and eccentric accessorizing. We even spotted a pair of Iris Apfel-esque spectacles when we visited Suno's studio in February.
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Jewelry designer Waris Ahluwalia said a search for balance and self-discovery in Bali's Sacred Monkey Forest, pictured above, guided his work this season.
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It seems Waris' search for self-discovery in Bali also led him to his materials: "the gold that holds our history, diamonds that see the future and rubies that long for love," he wrote. We're not sure about seeing the future, but we do see traces of Balinese palm fronds in Waris' dazzling earrings pictured above.
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Proenza Schouler designers Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez were also inspired by travel. A road trip from Santa Fe to Wyoming resulted in accessories like the necklace above: a designer take on a necklace from a roadside stand in Santa Fe.
Designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy culled Rodarte's colors and silhouettes from the early 1900s on the American prarie, as pictured in Terrence Malick's film, Days of Heaven. Above, a wheat field printed on a dress' hem.
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Backstage at Zero + Maria Cornejo's show, makeup artist Gucci Westman said she took Cornejo's inspired idea of a sunset-printed dress, and applied it to a palette of warm shades for models' lids, cheeks, and lips.
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"Masai Warriors meets Marie Antoinette": Designer Thakoon Panichgul found surprising similarities between East African warrior-wear and European opulence, and created a vivid, voluminous mash-up of batiks and bustles that editors applauded.
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