Backstage

The F/W 11 show season may have come to an end, but there's one off-the-runway topic we haven't addressed: backstage style! Yes, the fashion scene surrounding New York, London, Milan, and Paris was certainly exciting, but aside from the oh-so stylish attendees, we're also intrigued by what our favorite models are wearing pre-or-post show. After all, these industry insiders never fail to excite us with their thoughtfully constructed off-duty ensembles! So after sifting through hundreds of behind-the-scenes photos, we've narrowed our list down to ten of the most inspirational outfits for your viewing pleasures. But that's not all we offer in this installment of What They Wear: Backstage! In addition to the obvious eye candy, today's story is filled with tons of smart styling suggestions, like how to work spring's longer hemlines into your wardrobes or create a smart transitional look with a bold, printed coat. So read on for all the wonderful details, and don't forget to let us know which look is your favorite!

Printed Coats
Though spring is officially here, the breezy temps are still lingering, giving us reason to hold on to our winter coats for just a little longer. And since we're always looking for ways to keep our ensembles feeling current, it should come as no surprise we're smitten with the idea of styling a bold, printed jacket with spring basics for a smart transitional look. Ruby Aldridge executed this smart combo flawlessly at the Fendi show earlier this month (top row, far right), when she showed up in a leopard-print Jo No Fui blazer over a vintage tank and Levi's cut-off shorts. It's an excellent balance of summer and winter essentials, making it a prime between-seasons outfit. At the same show, Abbey Lee Kershaw (top row, center) caught our attention by simply layering a long, leopard-print vintage coat over a white vintage maxi dress; the combination of her ethereal frock and animal-print outerwear is very striking. Meanwhile, at the BCBG show in New York, Arizona Muse (bottom row, far right) looked totally chic in a striped Balenciaga shearling jacket worn with slim Marc Jacobs pants and a pair of white BCBG Max Azria boots. We love that Muse's ensemble encompasses a couple of trends--like fall's of-the-moment jacket and the '70s-inspired boots--mixed with a touch of desert charm, via the amazing concho belt she picked up at a market in Morocco. If you're interested in recreating these enviable outfits, we suggest styling French Connection's Leopard Love Coat ($104) over Melissa Odabash's Lupa Pointelle Jersey Maxi Dress ($240) for a whimsical and luxurious look! For those seeking something similar to Aldrige's mix, try ASOS' Print Chiffon Blazer ($73) or TBA's Ditsy Floral Loose Tailored Blazer ($305) with your favorite cut-offs and a breezy tank; it's a smart option for a casual afternoon outfit.

Plunging Hemline
Though we typically find these slim specimens in sleek body-con dresses and skirts, we were excited to find a few beauties embracing spring's lengthier hemlines. For example, we spotted Suzie Bird at Marni (bottom row, second from left) working a full, midi skirt by Marc Jacobs paired with a vintage button-up shirt, vintage shoes, and Hansel from Basel knee-high socks. This type of ladylike look is lovely for a summer garden party, so be sure to check out Annie Greenabelle's Florence Midi Skirt ($104) or Talbots' Garden Print Full Skirt ($89) to achieve a likeminded ensemble. Of course that's not the only example we have, Anja Rubik was snapped backstage at Stella McCartney (top row, second from right) in a slightly longer, narrower skirt. Rubik impressed us with her decision to contrast the sweetness of her ankle-grazing Chloe skirt and top with her edgier Burberry Prorsum leather jacket and AllSaints combat boots. We even noticed some ladies went for full-tilt floor-grazing hemlines, like Vlada Roslyakova (bottom row, far right), who chose a bohemian-inspired, plaid and ruffle maxi dress for her backstage ensemble. If you're ready to take the plunge too and are particularly fond of Rubik's delicate pick, don't miss Pins & Needles' Chiffon Maxi Skirt ($54) or American Apparel's Long Accordion Pleat Skirt ($62); the latter looks almost identical to the skirts on the Chloe S/S 11 runway. Interested in a maxi dress instead? Twelfth Street by Cynthia Vincent's Tank Dress ($295) and Milly's Emilia Printed Silk Ruffle Maxi Dress ($525) are both charming options that are worth checking out. To achieve Roslyakova's enviable outfit, try styling your maxi with a lightweight cardigan tied in a knot around the waist.

Mixed Proportions
If there are two things our favorite models consistently master, it's effortless layering and knowing how to play with proportions in a smart way. Happily, two of today's featured ladies combined both clever styling choices with ease. Take, for example, Swedish stunner Sara Blomqvist (bottom row, center), who was photographed backstage at Stella McCartney wearing light, colorful layers, which included a green blazer over a longer waterfall jacket, mustard yellow cardigan, and pink button-up shirt. She contrasted the relaxed, drapy layers on top with a pair of slim dark gray jeans. Merethe Hopland created a similar look at MaxMara (bottom row, second from right), styling a textured vintage coat over a Gina sweater and white Zara blouse. Like Blomqvist, Hopland went for a pair of slim pants by H&M to finish her on-the-go look. Since the temperatures are going to start warming up soon, it's best to try this look with lightweight layers a la Blomqvist. To put together a similar ensemble, start with Cooperative's Loose Button-Up Shirt ($62), then add Lou's Cardigan Sweater ($365), Forever 21's Double Knit Jacket ($18), and Halogen's Jersey Boyfriend Blazer ($52). For the bottom half of your look, you want to go for something simple, like a pair of slim pants; Cheap Monday's Tight Denim Jeans ($65) will certainly do the trick!

Long-Strap Shoulder Bags
A fuss-free bag is key when dashing from one show to the next, so it's no wonder we see so many models toting hands-free carriers, ranging from across-body messengers to long-strap shoulder bags. Speaking of the latter, Jac was snapped arriving at the Rag & Bone show with a chain-strap Chanel satchel hanging from her shoulder (top row, far right). The structured bag perfectly complements her downtown lady ensemble--which includes an Alexander Wang jacket and Rag & Bone sweater dress and boots--while also giving her look a chic and polished finish. A few weeks later, at the Giambattista Valli show, Joan Smalls also accessorized her look with a long-strap shoulder bag (top row, second from left). And though her leopard-print purse has a decidedly more relaxed shape than Jac's Chanel bag, it's a functional choice that works well with her laidback ensemble. If you're a girl on the go, we strongly encourage you invest in a long-strap shoulder bag--fortunately, there are a variety of shapes and sizes to choose from! Topshop's Moc Croc Lady Bag ($65) and River Island's Mini Lady Bag ($60) are both must-have options if you fancy Jac's prim carrier, or we suggest checking out 3.1 Phillip Lim's Minnie Envelope Purse ($495) and Alexander Wang's Brenda Shoulder Bag ($725) if a slouchier style satisfies your tastes.--Jessica Baker

All photos, courtesy of First View
EXPLORE: What They Wear, Balenciaga, Chanel, Chloe, Jo No Fui, Marc Jacobs, Levi's, MaxMara, ZaraRag & Bone
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