What's Hot Across The Pond: European Fashion Designers

It seems like Europe is always one step ahead of the United States of America when it comes to fashion design. Whether you know it yet or not, what's fierce on the runways of Paris and Milan's fashion weeks have likely not made it over to American runways just yet, and when they do, Europe will likely be on to more cutting-edge trends by then. So what is it that keeps the European fashion market one step ahead of the American market? Among many things, fashion school students speculate that it is the inventive European designers that keep their eyes wide open and their collections fresh and innovative. For those of you in speculation of this phenomenon, here's a list of European designers who put on 2011 runway shows that awed young fashion lovers, photographers, magazine editors and seasoned fashion veterans alike!

Daughter of Beatle, Paul McCartney, the British-born Stella McCartney has been a successful designer since the nineteen-nineties. Though some speculate that she got an industry advantage because of her ultra-famous father, McCartney has proved herself time and time again to have immense creative vision and talent. After she graduated from fashion college in England, she was quickly appointed chief designer at the Paris fashion house of Chloe. Since then, her designs have been almost unanimously commercially successful. Her most recent collection for Autumn of 2011 plays with a lot of delightful gender ambiguity. McCartney has created loose, yet tailored women's wear, including collared coats and blazers with a playful sensibility.

British shoe designer Nicholas Kirkwood was raved about after February's Autumn/Winter 2011 fashion week presentations. Relatively new as fashion industry insider, the designer has practically re-defined what is thought to be possible in shoe-design, with his alienous, decorative collection. Kirkwood's shoes are usually unthinkably high, and they are often sprouting fur, feathers and beads. Often, they feature wild patterns, layered and diverse fabrics and materials, and always artful and unexpected angles. Kirkwood's Fall and Winter shoes are truly a fashion delight.

Of Italian and Japanese heritage, Nicola Formichetti is the creative director for the French fashion house, Thierry Mugler, and the chief designer for pop sensation Lady Gaga. Originally an architecture student, Formichetti dropped out of school and became heavily involved in London's club scene and immersed himself in the world of European street fashion. Eventually, he got himself a job at a fashionable boutique called The Pineal Eye quickly working his way up to art director and head buyer. His talent was soon recognized by fashion editors, which led to work in several high fashion publications, and eventually to his position at Mugler. Formichetti's designs are often futuristic and hyper-sexual, evocative of the club scene he was once so heavily immersed in.

McCartney, Kirkwood and Formichetti are only three of the countless innovative minds in European fashion design. We look forward to future fashion seasons, and the striking collections that they will surely produce in years to come.

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