Now, before we dive into our present-day runway examples, we'd like to first take a minute to talk about the woman who popularized the mod look: Twiggy! The British model-best remembered for her slender shape, pixie haircut, and voluminous lashes-was at the height of her career when the modernist movement originated in London during the early-to-mid sixties and epitomized the mod look with her androgynous features and affinity for short hemlines and straight-up-and-down silhouettes. In the image above (taken on August 6, 1966), Twiggy wore a textured white minidress with Mary-Jane flats, which quickly became the style icon's signature look.
Today, mod dresses are appearing all over the runways, but of all the F/W 11 collections to look to for inspiration, we suggest starting with the veterans: Yves Saint Laurent and Prada. Both fashion houses channeled the '60s enthusiastically, updating the timeless mod dress by giving it an intriguing outerwear twist. For the Yves Saint Laurent show, Stefano Pilati sent out A-line coats, like the Black Tweed Sleeveless Coat with Patent Leather and Chain Details ($4575), which were worn to look like dresses and paired with knee-high Wedge Boots ($1595), resulting in a cool, schoolgirl take on the trend. And while Miuccia Prada also turned out mod-inspired coatdresses, the designer opted for a straighter narrow, more conservative cut. Especially noteworthy was the way she coupled the white Gabardine Natte Coat ($2930, select Prada boutiques) with the Castoro Spitz Bonnet ($760, select Prada boutiques) and Suede and Lurex Boots ($1400, select Prada boutiques). The combination of luxurious fabrics along with the pseudo heel-and-socks boots give the overall outfit a decidedly chic and feminine allure. Of course, coatdresses weren't the only mod-inspired frocks on the runways! Over at the Calvin Klein Collection show, we came across the Slate Double Faced Flannel Zip Placket Dress ($2495, 212.292.9000), and were immediately drawn to its of-the-moment silvery hue and classic cut.
Now that you're caught up to speed about the past and current origins of this classic silhouette, it's time to discuss how some of your favorite stylish ladies are addressing the trend. And interestingly enough, all three of today's featured celebs picked mod dresses with visually intriguing accents. For example, Michelle Williams showed up at the New York screening of Meek's Cutoff earlier this year wearing a taupe Chanel dress from the S/S 11 collection with a pair of basic black pumps. The frock's black sequined cap sleeves keep the retro design feeling current while giving the overall look a dose of glamour. Hailee Steinfeld, on the other hand, caught our attention when shore wore Miu Miu's Blush Pink Cady Silk Dress with Pearl and Crystal Embroidered Collar (price upon request, select Miu Miu boutiques) to the screening of said fashion house's second short film MUTA in Beverly Hills last month. We were particularly pleased with how the unconventional collar adds just the right amount of interest to the otherwise clean and polished ensemble. And while both Williams and Steinfeld opted for conservative, knee-length hemlines, we also appreciate Beau Garrett's daring minidress-Rachel Zoe's Sleeveless Flower Sequin Shift Dress ($495), to be exact-that she wore to an InStyle dinner celebrating the stylist/designer back in June. The short hemline is a nod to the classic mod dresses worn by the likes of Twiggy and Jean Shrimpton.
If you're ready to embrace this retro trend, we have a lovely selection of dresses that are sure to give you the mod look. Minimalist seekers should snag DKNY's Crepe Silk Dress ($275); the vibrant red hue is a spot-on choice for both summer and fall. Additionally, we're fond of Gap's Colorblock Pleat-Neck Dress ($60) and Zara's Dress with Side Zip ($60), and think both would look smart teamed with simple neutral accents. If you're a fan of Garrett's white minidress, you'll definitely want to check it out in black-the Peggy Sequin Shift Dress ($495)-for your next girls' night out, or try Rachel Zoe's Cap Sleeve Dress ($325), which is more subdued, yet equally stylish. Also, be sure to check out Imitation's Kiki Dress ($295) if you're interested in recreating the Twiggy outfit, above, or Zara's Dress with Box-Pleated Skirt ($90) if it's Prada's dropped-waist silhouette you're after. Want something with a little more pizzazz? We thought you might, and as such, have included Phoebe Couture's Sequined A-Line Dress ($350) and Lipsy Love's Pixie Lott Embellished Peter Pan Color Shift Dress ($52); the latter comes in a bright coral hue and has a jewel-embellished collar, making it a must-buy choice for those who enjoyed Hailee Steinfeld's noteworthy look.-Jessica Baker