We thought we had seen it all when it came to braids, but leave it to the mad geniuses backstage at Fashion Week Fall 2011 to come up with insane new ways to wear a braid. From a loose and romantic side-braid at Emilio Pucci to a structured, leather-bound plait at Collette Dinnigan, we saw braids in all shapes, styles and sizes. Check out these backstage braids--some beautiful, some totally bizarre--and get inspired to try out fall's hottest hairstyle!
Try on braids in the Makeover Studio!
This messy, slightly Victorian braid at Af Vandervorst has us in a total Jane Austen mood. We can see this model running across English moors, weeping over her arranged marriage. Or in line at Starbucks getting an iced latte--it works for both scenarios.
Brushed-forward bangs, a deep side-part and a low braided-bun make a for a very strong, warrior woman effect at Alexandre Herchcovitch .
Rag & Bone
This disheveled, askew braid at Rag & Bone looks exactly like what happens when we try to braid our own hair at home. This is infinitely cooler than our off-kilter plaits though.
What's the best accessory for a loose side-braid? A metallic cat-eye of course! This is how you make a braid date night-ready people.
Nicolas Andreas Taralis
We're not really sure what to call this particular style at the Nicolas Andreas Taralis show. A basketweave braid? Dream weaver? All we know for sure is that it's pretty and probably a bit too complicated for us to do on our own.
Viktor & Rolf
We love, love, LOVE with a capital L this braid-within-a-braid at Viktor & Rolf. It's delicate without being twee and freshens up a hairstyle that's otherwise been done to death on the runway.
We really hope that model stocked up on aspirin, because those super-tight braids really look like they hurt. Beauty is pain girls.
A pretty looped braid is a cute way to pull your hair back without having to fall back on the ho-hum ponytail. Dress it up with a hair accessory, or leave it plain for a chic, workday hairstyle.
This is how braids do bondage: Tied-up and lots of leather. We like the structure of these thick plaits and the addition of the leather ties really sexes up the braid, which can often suffer from looking a little too innocent or sweet.
Hats are so last season. Real fashionistas know that twisting your tresses up on top of your head is so much chicer than a chapeau, obvs.
Anne Valerie Hash
Sometimes it's the subtle things that grab the most attention. This delicate braid peeks out from an otherwise sleek hairstyle, creating a fashionable focal point that draws in the eye.
This graduated braid at DSquared2 starts off giant and then gets smaller and tighter as you go down. The trick to creating this look is to pull apart the braid at the top, pulling less and less as you get to the end of the braid.
Why settle for one braid when you can have a whole head full of them? This look combines a braided bun with sectioned plaits up top to create a polished, intricate updo.
Nicolas Andreas Taralis
This asymmetrical French braid at Nicolas Andreas Taralis was one of the most intriguing hairstyles we saw backstage. It's soft, but still has a bit of edge that makes it look more cool than cute.
Marco de Vincenzo
We're hardcore crushing on this segmented braid at Marco de Vincenzo. By wrapping a section of hair around the top of the braid, it glams up the hairstyle with a minimal amount of effort. Smart and stylish!
One look at this gorgeous braided bun and we seriously questioned our career path. Why didn't we listen to our four-year-old selves when they said they wanted to be a ballerina when they grew up?
Felipe Oliveira Baptista
We love a good undone braid and this one at Felipe Oliveira Baptista has just the right mix of tousle, texture and definition. The sectioning off of the top, middle and bottom pieces is a genius way to add structure to the braid without making it look too stiff.
Who needs a headband when you've got a milkmaid braid perched like a crown on your head? We call this look "Hair Tiara."
More loop than braid, this low bun at Junko Shimada looks elegant and sophisticated, without being stuffy or old-fashioned.
If Medusa ever ditched the snakes, we think this coiled updo is the hairstyle she'd want to rock.
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