Cult Of Individuality

Feb 15, 2012 | Updated Oct 11, 2012

We spend so much of each Fashion Week and the months following it talking about trends, shoehorning each great piece under the larger categories that we deem "in" that season. But just take a look at the rise of the street style photographer to recognize that it is the individual style that truly captivates. And a few collections in the past 24 seem to have alighted on that quirkier, more personal side of style.

Marc Jacobs always marches to the beat of his own drummer, while the rest of us follow behind him. For Fall 2012, the pied piper of NYC design images an exaggerated shape, from the tips of a clunky loafer clad toe to the wide, almost pannier-like hips of a stiff dress to overflowing knits to outlandish hats that would make the most jaded royal fascinator watchers gape. Whether inspired by Helena Bonham Carter (a recent campaign model for the brand) and her dark children's book look or just taking a trip through his own fairytale landscape, Jacobs created a collection that could not be mistaken for anyone else's -- and that's an undeniably good thing.

Rodarte has legions of self-assured fans, who follow the Mulleavy's fantastical trips through spiderweb knits to gowns printed with billowing fields of grain. And this season, they rewarded them with an assured, wearable, dare-we-say commercial collection that featured beautifully cut dresses with a hint of '40s flare and highly covetable shearlings. I hope front row faces Natalie Portman and Dakota Fanning start wearing them immediately.

Two other shows that nailed the look of the individual at more accessible prices points: Tory Burch and J. Crew. Clashing and coordinating colors, bold patterns, simple shapes and killer accessories added up to standout collections that make even the most jaded fashionista want to step out of her uniform and add a little twist of something different. Fuchsia fair isle, anyone?