Anyone who's ever been backstage at a fashion show can tell you it's quite the spectacle. Hair and makeup work frantically to achieve the perfect beauty look, wardrobe scrambles to finish last minute changes, and a slew of photographers and videographers run around hoping to get the best shots and interviews. And in the midst of all this backstage madness, a mini fashion show is taking place as models turn up in their finest off-the-catwalk ensembles. Working day in and day out with the industry's top designers, stylists, and editors, these ladies have access to the most covetable clothing and are always up on the latest trends, so they know a thing or two about constructing interesting and inspirational outfits. So what sets this season's ensembles apart from the others? While past model-off-duty favorites have included moto boots, leather skinnies, and Alexander Wang bags, this time around we're seeing a whole new crop of essentials (think: high-fashion sneakers, printed pants, and Celine purses)! As such, today's What They Wear story is dedicated to a few of the most inspirational backstage looks, courtesy of runway veterans and fresh faces from the F/W 12 Fashion Week season. Enjoy!
WHO: Shu Pei Qin
WHAT: Photographed at the Alberta Ferretti F/W 12 show.
WEAR: Fashion Week in February can be quite chilly, so incorporating cozy and stylish outerwear into your ensemble is key. That said, we're mad about Shu Pei Qin's furry gray Theory coat from the F/W 11 collection, which is strikingly chic and acts as the ideal complement to the luxe look of her sky-blue collared shirt and beige trousers (both by The Row). To cap off her texturally-intriguing, on-the-go outfit, Qin accessorized with Prada's Saffiano Patent Leather Tote Bag ($1520, select Prada boutiques) and gray suede Balenciaga boots.
WHO: Anabela Belikova
WHAT: Arriving at the Derek Lam F/W 12 show
WEAR: Is it just us, or are models always toting the season's most covetable handbags? Take Belarusian model Anabela Belikava, for example. We came across the blonde bombshell backstage at the Derek Lam F/W 12 show, and were delighted to see Celine's drool-inducing Trapeze Bag ($1950) hanging on her arm. The divine color-block carrier serves as the perfect accompaniment to her neutral ensemble, made up of a white turtleneck, fur-lined coat, skinny jeans, and lace-up boots.
WHO: Valerija Kelava
WHAT: Roaming backstage at the Derek Lam F/W 12 show.
WEAR: If we had to describe the perfect haute-biker look, we imagine it would resemble Valerija Kelava's outfit at the Derek Lam F/W 12 show. The brunette beauty killed it in a leather jacket and slim printed pants tucked into chocolate brown boots. Plus, we love the addition of her big buckle belt, which makes quite a statement sitting nonchalantly on her hips.
WHO: Roomey Strijd
WHAT: Getting ready for the Peter Som F/W 12 show.
WEAR: It's official: Isabel Marant's wedge sneakers are the new model-off-duty wardrobe staple! During the F/W 12 Fashion Week, we spotted a slew of runway's elite sporting these cool kicks, but it was the way in which Roomey Strijd wore them backstage at the Peter Som F/W 12 show that was particularly inspiring. The Dutch model teamed her multi-colored pair, which is sadly no longer available, with Mango slim, dark-wash skinnies and a Rag & Bone sweater layered over a Zara tank for a clean and simple look we love.
WHO: Elsa Sylvan
WHAT: At the Alberta Ferretti F/W 12 show.
WEAR: If you're unsure of how to wear your floral-print pants this spring, perhaps you should look to Elsa Sylvan for some on-point guidance-her outfit is a definite winner in our book! The Swedish stunner impressed us with her edgier take on the popular spring trend, when she styled her garden-inspired Balenciaga pants with a black Miu Miu top, vintage gray zip-up sweatshirt, and Whyred men's boots. The result is a fresh masculine/feminine contrast we can't wait to emulate.
WHO: Liu Wen
WHAT: Hanging at the Peter Som F/W 12 show.
WEAR: Nothing says preppy chic like a crewneck sweater layered over a collared shirt, which might explain why we adore the outfit veteran catwalker Liu Wen wore to the Peter Som F/W 12 show. The look, which consisted of American Apparel's Cable Knit Pullover ($70) in Navy, Zara's Basic Herringbone Shirt ($40), Rag & Bone corduroy pants, and Balenciaga boots, is unfussy, ensuring Wen can run stylishly from show to show with ease.
WHO: Aline Weber
WHAT: Spotted at the Rag & Bone F/W 12 show.
WEAR: While not everyone can pull off an ensemble with rock 'n' roll insouciance, Brazilian beauty Aline Weber does so with aplomb. The model showed off her laid-back sartorial sensibilities at the Rag & Bone F/W 12 show, when she turned up in an effortless mix consisting of a graphic tee, red leather pants, and marbled knit sweater. To finish, Weber threw on a pair of high-fashion kicks, specifically Isabel Marant's wildly popular Internal Wedge Sneakers ($680), further accentuating her off-the-runway ensemble's cool-girl vibe.
WHO: Tian Yi
WHAT: Posing for the camera at the Alberta Ferretti F/W 12 show.
WEAR: We're crazy about the outfit Chinese model Tian Yi assembled for the Alberta Ferretti F/W 12 show, but can you blame us? The combination of her plaid button-up and utility jacket gives the look a great outdoorsy vibe, yet we love how she accessorized with Celine's classic flap bag, which immediately adds polish to her down-to-earth ensemble.-Jessica Baker
All backstage images, courtesy of First View