6 Fashion Trends for Spring Summer 2021
It’s time to dive into the trends of the season! This post is a curated review of everything the runways have presented, what to remember & how to turn the designer looks into wearable looks.
Normally I share this around February, but I was busy preparing the re-stock of my jewelry collection. Now it is done, check :-)
The fashion for this season was prepared last year, during the pandemic and while we didn’t know yet how to solve it or how long it would last. That state of mind is clearly visible in the collections, where designers infused their own aesthetics and creative visions – not only in the clothes but in the way they were presented: without a runway, outdoors, through a photo lookbook or even a video performance.
I see 3 main design directions this season, with several trends within each one.
A pragmatic search for extreme comfort
Clothes that are good for the work-from-home lifestyle.
Long flowy, comfy dresses that make the whole outfit: on the left, you see a classic take by Chanel, with a halter neck & a jabot collar. A more romantic version with leg-o-mutton sleeves. A more boho version with beautiful fabric by Dior. A sportwear version by Vuitton: it reminds of streetstyle because the basis is a t-shirt & because the color palette is very contemporary – and yet there is a lot of draping and pleating in this design. Last but not least, an arty version by Issey Miyaki.
What do they all have in common?
No cleavage is shown. You could wear any of these for a Zoom call and look fabulous, you could also wear them on the couch and be comfortable. And: minimal, neutral footwear. It’s about the dress, not the shoes.
If dresses are not your thing and you prefer pants, this year is the year where wide-leg, full-length pants officially replace skinny, cropped pants. Everyone who is tall, including me, claps hands 3 times :-)
Flared for Saint Laurent & Gucci. Vuitton presented a shape which I have seen across many brands: very large on the thighs and then cinched at the waist level. It includes pleats all around the waist and can be worn under a hip-long top, like at Chloé. Or it can be a combination of different fabrics: Chanel cropped the pants but completed the length with a draped organza.
Most brands showed high-waisted pants, in fabrics ranging from mid-weight to very light-weight, perfect for summer and extremely comfortable.
Now on to the garment that is the epitome of comfort: a sweatshirt. Zipped and striped, it is a sporty look, see on the left side. Max Mara made theirs oversized and with elevated sleeves. McQueen made voluminous sleeves that fit their aesthetics but embraces this season’s trend – I love that one.
When McQueen, known for their corsets, start making sweaters, it really is a sign of changing times!
Vuitton made a wide one, almost like a poncho. Rodarte, which is a dreamy, romantic brand, mixed baseball stripes with lace and a flower pattern. The one in the bottom right corner is a Jil Sander design: not technically a sweater but still casual, with a beautifully draped element.
The times when all sweaters looked the same are over, now we’re gonna get multiple options & I am quite happy with that evolution. It reflects the real lifestyle of real people.
For the design direction tending towards extreme comfort, overall, the designers have chosen fabrics that are easier to combine with your existing wardrobe, easier to wash, less patterns, more solid colors.
Now we are switching gears & looking at trends... which might be the opposite of the boards I showed so far!
Fairy tale fantasies
Some designers have been dreaming of the world going back to normal, or having dressed-up parties again, or escaping to a dreamy, fairy tale world. Or at least, this is how I would explain where this trend comes from.
And so we’re seeing 21st century princesses: a full-length embroidered dress at Dior. A punk princess at McQueen: note that the corset is here, the combat boots are here, it is a McQueen look after all, but the tulle is baby pink and gathered into the kind of volume little girls dream of. Lanvin draped the silk into beautiful sleeves, with a gathered collar reminiscent of 18th century undergarments. Rodarte combined tulle, silk, lace and embroidered details.
This fairy tale got pushed even further...
… into covered shoulders and capes. There is something very powerful about women who wear capes. Lanvin made shoulder coverings almost liquid, that embrace the exact shape of the shoulders, very sensual. Valentino made the cape a part of the garment itself, in a fabric so light and flowy that it flies as she moves: this is Venus walking on water. And then Burberry and Erdem took their modern-day fairy tale warriors to the enchanted forest. Magic creatures could be coming out from behind a bush any time!
I’m getting a little bit carried away, but I totally understand that when you have been wearing your PJs 7 days in a row without leaving the house, you can use some fantasy. This is not the kind of wearable look we need right now, but it looks great...!
This leads me to the 3rd big design direction: showing skin as to suggest the intimacy of a home setting.
First, the key item of the season: elevated bralettes.
They are not really tops but they are not lingerie either. Very short, cropped much higher than the belly button. At Hermès the look is a bandeau, worn under a suit which adds some belly coverage. At Dior, it’s worn under a luxurious robe. Isabel Marant styled the voluminous bralette with color-matching suspenders. Jacquemus exaggerates the sleeve volume even more and pairs it with a fitted pencil skirt. Big sleeves as in: fairy tale sleeves, because sometimes trends do overlap. He also presented a version with a classic shirting collar & cuffed sleeves, with a sort of “ropes” criss-crossing around the waist.
Overall these tops are cropped high but the bottom garment is then also very high-waisted, so that it’s not your entire belly showing, but only a stripe of skin: the upper abs. Would you wear something like this & if so, how would you style it?
I must say this kind of garment is extremely comfortable to walk around the house AND no one in a Zoom call can see your belly anyway!
Mesh (& similar patterns)
You could call it a mesh, as in the Dries van Noten design on a blue sky. It can be laser-cut, as Valentino did it with this chic and sleek white dress. On the black outfit next to it, also by Valentino, it is even layered with a mesh-looking sweater on top, so it’s texture on texture but monochromatic. The 2 designs on the left are layered over a neutral and opaque basis, yet quite revealing of the model’s silhouette. The red dress on the right side isn’t technically a mesh: but it is composed of little red spades which are linked by metal rings, again building a pattern. Notice that all these designs are in solid, classic colors: the texture itself is in focus here.
Rather than being openly exposed, the skin is only visible through these little spaces, it is suggested.
You can watch my video on the trends:
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