Fall/Winter 2021 is a season quite unlike any other, simply because the collections masterminded by some of the most creative minds in the world were inspired by very unusual circumstances, COVID lockdown. There were ideas that came from within, as there was little external inspiration beyond our sweatpants. These were collections made of dreams and aspirations.
The result, well there was a number! Some collections were dark, lacking creativity. Perhaps those creatives dug into their archives for some inspiration when they couldn’t find any of their own. It’s important to remember that COVID affected us each in very different ways, and this was abundantly clear in this season’s collections. Other collections were super-colorful, breaking every playbook rule. And some didn’t bother with the rules at all and created their own. Here you go!
The return of the tight-fitting mini dress, a blast from the past for many designers whose upbringing was heavily influenced by the Eighties. Nostalgia clearly played an important role here, these dresses weren’t inspired by the Eighties they were the Eighties! In rich tones and black of course, the most referenced dress of all is the blue velvet mini worn by Bella Hadid for Off-White.
For those of you that don’t see mini dresses in your near future, the high and low look could work for you just as well. Opt for a short dress, skirt or even shorts and match them to a long coat, this is a very popular look that will probably be even more popular and realistic to wear for many.
What Suits You?
Well, it surely wasn’t a surprise to see the suit, be it pant or skirt on the runways. We haven’t been able to wear them for a while, with working from home and all. Additionally, during the past year, we really have longed for comfort clothing and power-dressing doesn’t exactly fall into that category!
There were two silhouettes here, the super-wide legged pant with darts at the waist for added effect. This shape was primarily matched to bomber-style jackets that are having a moment. There was also a more snug silhouette, either way, there was one constant, layering. We still can’t decipher the significance of layering, but it was a constant across the board this season.
Inside – Outside Blazer
Blazers were dominant on the runway, but not in the form we know best from seasons’ past where they had been primarily oversized and hip grazing. This season’s blazer is more fitted and hits the middle of your leg in a midi style. Matched to fitted pants this jacket can work for both indoors and outdoors.
Many have spoken of the need for control of our lives, where we can go and where we can’t. This trend and the above one also, speak to this. We are almost ready for anything with all the layers, and we have a jacket that works indoors and outdoors, so there are no constraints, asides from COVID that is!
You’d think that COVID gave us a good taste of what is worthy of our attention and what isn’t. It would be fair to say that designer logos fall into the ‘no attention needed’ category.. but not so! The runways were filled with logo prints in every shape and form. There was also a lot of mixing and matching of logos in a single outfit. It’s worth acknowledging the power of Gucci’s Alessandro Michele, where it comes to fashion. This specific trend was encouraged by Gucci and it seems like many have followed suit.
This is certainly the breakout color of the season, a rich tone pastel purple, lilac or lavender. Don’t make the mistake of using this color as an accent to match with your camel or khaki pieces. This look is meant to be worn from head to toe, and comes in everything from a puffer jacket and pant set at Miu Miu, to a beautifully tailored coat at Jilting Sander. We are personally obsessed with the luscious knit dresses as seen at Altuzarra.
The Color Print Mash-Up
This trend will certainly attract your attention, with its strong colors, prints, and mismatched elements, not just in terms of color but also in terms of cut and style. This trend was loud and clear, there are no rules to break, we are free to do as we please. Designer’s creativity was unleashed here, they spoke their truth even if it didn’t ring true to all. Dolce & Gabbana lead the way with some eye-watering combinations indeed! Moschino did what it did best, bend the rules, agitate our comfort zone, enough for us to say, ‘Hmmmmm….’.
The Vest Is Up To You
The fashion world has been toying with the idea of a vest for some time now. This season the vest style comes in a variety of iterations, from menswear classics to collegiate argyle sweaters and coat-like gilets. Perhaps the common denominator on all these versions is the layering aspect. However which way you choose to wear your vest consider something underneath, or something over, or both!
We are no strangers to striking bold colors matched together. This season designers dipped their paint brushes in beautiful jewel tones, khakis, mustards and lilacs to bring us some truly original combinations. The days of bright pink and orange are definitely behind us. This season experiment with rich bold colors matched to more muted autumnal shades. Consider three or four colors at a time, each represented in an item of clothing for a modern take on what has perhaps become a classic.
Possibly inspired by the baby tees of the Eighties, these cropped tops in the form of a fitted bodice or cutout dress bear little resemblance to their ancestral cotton tops. Most of the crop tops come matched to pants or a skirt for a well-tailored and formal look. Again layering is key, these tops are often worn with sheer blouses underneath, or matched under blazers or long coats. Overall the look is glamorous and chic, and we’re loving it!
Little Black Dress
In the midst of all this chaos and mayhem designers needed some sort of familiarity and stability and nothing can give you that more than an LBD. This season’s versions were super short and fitted. The details ran the gamut from lace and sheer panels to pussy bows and high collars. Velvets came in the first place, a beautiful juxtaposition between the super short lengths and the dense and luxurious texture of velvet.
More après-ski this season though, and fewer lockdown favorites. Winter outdoors has never sounded more appealing, and we’ve got the perfect, go-to pieces for it on the runways! Designers went all out, with colorful knits and of course puffer jackets that would work perfectly for a much-needed winter getaway.
Yes, we are past lockdown but knits still played a very important role in this season’s collections. Our dependable knits were transformed into more sophisticated and luxurious pieces that were translated into dresses, skirt and sweater sets and even coats. The details were well-thought-out, giving the items that save us during COVID a well-deserved makeover.
From futuristic bright tin-foil silvers to heavily beaded gold evening dresses. Bright metallics were everywhere on the runways. Discreetly tucked under a blazer for a daytime event, or a rebellious silver baggy pant matched to an aviator style jacket, or even an OTT evening dress, metallics were plentiful and appreciated this season. Perhaps a reflection of our desire to see a bright future or maybe just a celebration of life, who knows..
We will never be able to live without our loungewear, even long after lockdowns are over. The fashion world provided us with soft and dependable pieces in 2020, and perhaps one of the features of them were their ability to hug us.. Well that was well documented on the runways this season, with jackets, cardigans and even knit dresses that were snug enough to hug us, yet lose enough to give us our space, and they were luxurious too and could be worn outdoors.. how perfect.
You don’t need to be Paris Hilton to adopt this trend. After a year of being cooped up at home, the world is ready to play dress-up. From ostentatious dresses better suited to a Debutante’s ball, to head-to-toe sequined looks, these pieces aren’t just for evening! This trend is saying, “The world is too uncertain to play by the rules, we can make up our own, and have fun while we’re at it.” What we do find interesting is the style of the dresses and pieces up for grabs this season; they are demure, expensive looking, modest and thoroughly chic.
If there is anything that we need today it is transparency! We need to know what is going on with the world, with the environment, with our bodies and our livelihoods and this came across in a very physical way on the runways. Blouses, skirts and of course evening dresses all in sheer fabrics such as organza and silks, additionally there was unlined lace, and additionally lovely woven knits that showed skin.
It’s In My Genes
Denim has re-emerged after a couple of seasons in the cupboard, because seriously who wore denim in lockdown? This season’s denim is formalized, appearing as head-to-toe tailored pieces, boiler suits and even a few dresses. It was also interesting to see boyfriend-cut jeans styled with luxurious coats on the runway, which is probably how we are all going to end up wearing them. The summer’s favorite style of pale blue denim (wide-legged and slightly baggy) was nowhere to be seen. In its place, strong blue denim, slightly distressed, baggy around the hips and tapered around the ankles.
We are indestructible, we are strong, we are protected. That was the message coming off the runways in the form of puffer jackets, quilted long coats and puffer sets perfect for your next ski trip. Interestingly, these pieces were bold in silhouette, but soft in colors and textures. There was a gentleness almost that signified the fragility of humanity, and of course the sensitivity of our emotions.
Midi Of The Road
Length of skirts has always signified the current mood. When spirits are high so are the hemlines, with mini skirts and above-the-knee versions popular. When the mood is less so, the hemlines go down to signify austerity and tough times ahead. Interestingly, both hemlines were evident on the runways, from ankle-grazing full skirts at Dior and Chloe, to the miniest of minis at Saint Laurent for example.
The Utility Room
Off we go, that was the statement on many runways, with models marching up and down ready to depart to somewhere. A sentiment we have all experienced in 2020. At Balmain, the looks themselves were staged against an airport backdrop. From trench coats to aviator jackets, it was clear that the designers were keen to travel, to feel free to move to wherever they needed to go, and I’m sure we all sympathize and agree!