For the Fall/Winter 2021 ready-to-wear season, the responsible trend of virtual showings prevailed. Despite news that both budding and beloved fashion entities have wavered in the wake of the pandemic, Fashion Month proceeded with mindful adaptations where necessary. Aesthetically, there was increased innovation and hybridization in how fashion companies shared their recent collections.
This resulted in more collaborative multimedia efforts and fashion films, whereas some houses opted to forego the traditional release cycle and operated more intuitively. Collectively, it appears that many designers were creating with comfort and utilitarian futurity in mind, while simultaneously casting a wide and hopeful net that we’ll glamorously revel in each other’s company again in the near future. Here’s a look at NBGA’s favorite collections from the FW21 ready-to-wear season.
This year, Acne’s creative director and co-founder Jonny Johansson offered up the collection of our coziest maximalist dreams. There was no shortage of crochet, pony hair boots, delicate florals, and thoughtful layering of all of the above. The bold accessories, including boxy handbags and frosted aviator glasses resembling eye masks, are notable standouts. There’s also the whimsical ceramic animal props (chain-strapped and carried like purses), the result of a collaboration with Russian artist Apollinaria Broche. Overall, this collection by the Swedish fashion house was a pleasant explosion of colors and textures to witness during Paris Fashion Week (PFW).
Dries Van Noten
Romantic, expressive, and theatrical: these three words perfectly sum up both the clothing and visual representation of Dries Van Noten’s FW21 collection. The stunning lookbook was accompanied by a video of models and dancers performing on stage, with many improvising as if they were at a contemporary dance audition. Set to a soundtrack of “Angel” by Massive Attack, it’s beautiful to study the grace and fluidity of these draped garments in motion. Between the liquid-like painterly fabrics, tinsel dresses paired with vinyl, and voluminous satin jackets, this is definitely a collection for those who dare to move to the beat of their own drum.
Prints and patterns have always been a hallmark of the Emilio Pucci look and the latest collection was no surprise. Between varying silhouettes (a mixture of an ongoing 1960s mod revival, futuristic glam, and a more contemporary model-off-duty look), this season highlighted the Italian fashion house’s signature swirl motif and pastels at full capacity. Jewel toned color-blocking, quilted fabrics, and iridescent pleats all converge in this space. I’m very intrigued to see how this collection will be styled editorially, especially those all-encompassing spandex morphsuits that recall the iconic Pucci one-piece ski suit.
Faithful Ottolinger devotees have grown accustomed to the label’s playful colorways and mixed-media techniques. Each season, however, the designers (Christa Bösch and Cosima Gadient) take it up a notch with the placement of ceramic pieces and knotted construction. For FW21, it was chunky day-glo eyewear and slithering ceramic accents, as well as marled scalloped knits in cropped and duster varieties. Between the architectural puffers and decadent shearling trims, this collection is texture-rich and a masterclass in experimental layering. The pair’s signature padded heels are present, with towering moon boots oscillating amongst the looks. The collection is also accompanied by the technicolor gradients that have appeared in prior Ottolinger shows and features bold artwork by New York painter Cheyenne Julien as a pattern.
French designer Marine Serre returned to PFW with another stimulating fashion film titled Core: Muses, Tribes, & Families. Presented as a compilation of individual scenarios, the documentary provides a multi-layered look at the meaning of heritage. Core offers a perspective of Serre’s meteoric rise to prominence and does so by weaving a tale of her eco-futuristic design ethos to the day-to-day lives of the featured multi-generational models — some of whom you may recognize from previous Marine Serre presentations. The transcendent collection is full of regenerated fabrics in lively silhouettes, like patchwork monogrammed leather trenches and repurposed silk scarf dresses.
Danish sibling duo Julius and Victor Juul shared a compelling commentary on balance and negative space with their “Unstable Equilibrium” collection for PFW. The garments are expectedly minimal and monochromatic in tone (like rich black hues and earthy greys), while the silhouettes are sleek and utilitarian. Cohesively, the collection is accented heavily by sharp cutouts and striking, unconventional proportions. Standout elements include the buttery split-hem leather trousers with carabiner enclosures and the harness blazers.
The recent collection of designer Maximilian Davis perfectly followed up on a theme of sophisticated and undeniable sensuality introduced in his inaugural presentation with London’s Fashion East last fall. With both collections, Davis has provided a vibrant homage to his Trinidadian heritage and the spirit of Carnival. The FW21 collection comprises 18 mostly monochromatic looks and features complementary earthy tones, in addition to touches of fire-engine red (on both the garments and models’ nails). Styled by Ib Kamara and photographed by Marc Hibbert, the models posed regally amongst well-saturated backdrops. In terms of accessories, opera gloves and infrared goggles are in stark conversation with the tuxedo coats, harlequin-patterned gown, and 1960s-esque miniskirts that Davis designed.
In many ways, Peter Do’s “Night” collection for FW21 was representative of the liminal space occupied by the dark hours, as evidenced by the mystical and existential visual of sharply dressed models (including supermodel Debra Shaw) engaging with the unknown. There’s many standout details to discuss, from the architectural suiting to the protruding feather brooches to the bolero-style sweater wraps with gloves. Regarding the clothing’s luminescent colorways, it’s a mostly neutral palette with shades of reds and purples (very notably: exciting hints of mauve and oxblood).
For PFW, Miu Miu presented a collection titled “Brave Hearts.” The lookbook visuals (photographed by Johnny Dufort) captured the models in a snowy climate at different times of day, while donning masterful proportions of quilted textures, cashmere, and fur. In an accompanying video, the models’ paths converge as they stylishly ascend to a summit point and beyond. Individually, garments like puffer bodysuits, studded slip dresses with tall furry boots, and knitted bikini tops might not be practical for that terrain, but they sure layer well (the styling comes courtesy of Lotta Volkova). This collection was also ripe with ski-ready balaclavas, transitional capes, and an undeniable urge to explore.
Vienna-based designer Petar Petrov showcased a collection for London Fashion Week that looked intelligently comfortable and highly transitional. The ready-to-wear clothing embodied a significant timelessness with a mix of knitted fabrics, wide-leg denim, and sleek leathers. In a video set to “Party Girl” by Michelle Gurevich, Petrov’s models imbued the spirit of 1970s rocker chic with a flair of 1990s minimalist sensibility. The full length dresses in leather and herringbone suits provided a sense of ease with minimal styling. To be quite honest, I’m simply imagining the possibilities of that stunning wood grain pattern for any season!