By Allyson Rees | Contributing Impressionist
Since the usual suspects of top models, editors and buyers are photographed all over New York, London, Milan and Paris season after season, we set out to measure which city offers the very best in street style.
In a game we’re calling Fashion Face Off, we pin them head to head, measuring each city on showmanship, i.e. overall drama and wow-factor, and commerciality, i.e. will the city’s street style drive commercial trends? Read on for our scores and analysis.
NEW YORK | ROUND 1
Arguably the most laid-back of the international fashion weeks, New York City maintains an urban, streetwear sensibility. It stays true to its American roots with a plethora of denim-heavy looks, and irreverent graphics and slang phrases are a popular choice on t-shirts and sweatshirts, especially for models-off-duty.
Showmanship | 9
Sportsbras layered under blazers. Adidas jogging pants worn with stilettos. New York’s mix of traditional athletic brands and pulled-from-the-runway pieces is a feast for the eyes.
Commerciality | 6
Though its street style is made up of predominantly commercial pieces—denim, sneakers and t-shirts—New York’s subversive styling makes it less friendly to the mass market.
LONDON | ROUND 2
Grittier and little bit darker than New York, London is heavy on grunge-inspired looks made up of torn denim, plaid shirts tied around the waist, grandpa cardigans and chunky creepers.
Thanks to London’s mercurial weather, this season’s blanket coats and capes were a favorite of street style stars. Many sported Burberry’s monogrammed plaid poncho, while others got creative with blanket scarves and belts.
Showmanship | 4
Compared to its counterparts, London’s street style is lackluster. Many street style stars tend to skip the city’s smaller, five day run and head straight to Milan.
Commerciality | 10
The grunge trend is still riding the coattails of the Met’s “Punk: Chaos to Couture” exhibit and is a huge hit with the mass market thanks to its bread and butter of plaid shirts and skinny jeans.
MILAN | ROUND 3
Thanks to Pitti Uomo, Milan has become the epicenter of menswear trends worldwide, which inspires the city’s female street style stars. Plaid suiting fabrics and sharp tailoring are a favorite, while statement A-line and shift dresses are the choice of women who want to stay feminine and simple.
Simplicity—think straight-leg denim, crewneck cashmere and plimsole sneakers—is also important in Milan’s overarching normcore sensibility.
Showmanship | 8
Milan’s creative play on proportion, especially on menswear-inspired looks—think high-waisted, wide-legged pinstripe pants worn with flat oxfords—make for the most clickable photos.
Commerciality | 8
Normcore classics will always be crowd-pleasers, and what woman can resist a no fuss, throw-it-on dress?
PARIS | ROUND 4
At the end of fashion month, editors, models and other street style celebrities go out with a bang. Extreme volume on skirts, dresses and coats are paparazzi-pleasers, as are coordinated sets and suits, which offer a high-impact head-to-toe bold color or print. The popularity of volume leads to tightly cinched waists, either belted or tailored.
While in Paris, models stick with the classic uniform of a white oxford shirt worn under a black blazer, made popular by French Vogue Editor Emmanuelle Alt.
Showmanship | 10
Celebrity fanfare (read:Kimye) at hot ticket shows including Chanel, Balmain and Balenciaga combined with the end of fashion month makes attendees save their most dramatic looks for last.
Commerciality | 8
There’s a reason the phrase “how to dress like a French woman” has over 44,900,000 Google results.