From Inspiration to Runway: Fall 2011 European Edition

As designers share the sources of their ideas, we illustrate how their collections bring paintings, stained glass windows, and Ziggy Stardust to life.

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As designers share the sources of their ideas, we illustrate how their collections bring paintings, stained glass windows, and Ziggy Stardust to life. Tomas Maier said he hoped the effects of his designs for Bottega Veneta would be reminiscent of refracted light through Gothic stained glass windows. Maier may have had something more abstract in mind, but we saw quite a literal reflection of his inspiration in the old English window pictured at right.
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Nina Ricci's Peter Copping was influenced by John Singer Sargent's Madame X. The fair-skinned model, soft shadows, and lace-inset gown on Nina Ricci's Fall 2011 runway seem to bring the painting to life.
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David Bowie's presence was palpable at Dolce and Gabbana -- not only in the soundtrack, but also in prints - and pouts - which recalled Bowie's '70s-era alter-ego, Ziggy Stardust. (Style.com revealed Dries Van Noten was also Stardusted by Bowie this season.)
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Vogue's Hamish Bowles wrote that in addition to David Bowie, Janelle Monáe also served as a musical muse for Dolce and Gabbana's porkpie hats and jaunty suits.
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Armani's "boudoir" inspiration was evident in diaphanous dresses and robes that resembled dressing gowns of days gone by.
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Donatella Versace clearly dug into the house's archives, resurrecting the baroque flourishes and primary brights of her late brother Gianni's reign. Claudia Schiffer takes a spin on Versace's runway in 1991, at left. Twenty years later, at right, a model wears a mini-dress with signature Versace medallions at the shoulder.
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Margherita Missoni told Style.com she was feeling like “Courtney Love” at Missoni's Fall 2011 show. We get the reference, seeing as Love excelled at toughening up saccharine-sweet pastels, but we're not sure Missoni pulled it off with those pastel python boots.
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Alber Elbaz told The New York Times that the willow tree on his stage at Lanvin represented “emotion, femininity and comfortable roots.”
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Indeed, models walking in front of the willow tree at Lanvin looked beautiful in feminine shapes grounded by "comfortable roots," or, as it were, boots.
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According to Style.com, Karl Lagerfeld's graphic, richly textured collection for Fendi was inspired not by art, but rather by art teachers. We don't remember ours ever looking quite this sexy (sorry!), but we do see little smart and eccentric touches - a ruffled neck here, pop-colored tights there - that a fun-loving creative type might get into.
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