SLP’s Favorite Collections from Spring/Summer 2021 Fashion Week

Balmain:

Olivier Rousteing searched through Balmain’s archives and hit flea markets for inspiration for his Spring 2021 show for Balmain. The fashion house being known for it’s strong shoulders, this time around the strong shoulders were on steroids with even fiercer, sharp tailored shoulder shaping.

A signature all over print adorned skinny pants with a small kick flare, or skinny cut city shorts almost as skinny as bike shorts. His collection focused more on Heritage dressing and a new luxury, believing since the Pandemic hit – consumers will be investing in long term heritage pieces.

His palette of predominate Grey, Navy, White had vivid shots of Neon Bubblegum, Safety Yellow and a touch of Cherry Red.

Dries Van Noten:

Many Designers forgoed traditional Catwalk shows for styled shoots this season due to the Pandemic, this was a real treat in many ways as inside of a runway, the shoots really showed the true artistic impression of the collection. The Dries Van Noten Spring 2021 Collection was shot by Viviane Sassen, in a kaleidoscope of color. The collection was optimistic, global and happy. The designer developed the collection from his home, during lockdown, and communicated with his team via Zoom. His idea was to find opportunity in limitations. About finding beauty in the smaller things.

The collection, to that end, is unfussy – stark white and black is splashed with rich color accents. Van Noten was inspired by the work of filmmaker and artist Len Lye – who’s work in the 30’s and 40’s had an ahead of its time look, almost echoing the psychedelia of the 60’s. Van Noten worked with the Len Lye Foundation, and recreated some of his works, on silks and fabrics to make up this stunningly creative and artistic collection. Each piece, and the placement of the print – is a work of art.

 Alaïa:

In 1996, Azzedine Alaïa joined Peter Beard in Kenya for a photo shoot. There were probably many fun and memorable moments from that trip, and with Peter Beard’s sad passing – perhaps Alaïa wanted to commemorate his friend in his newest collection. Alaïa’s Spring/Summer collection had obvious African influences, with the simple silhouettes and the textural components.

Global inspired block prints, in shades of cream, white, brown and accents of clay adorn full sundresses. Texture abounds in knit dressing, with openwork and crochet accents. Raffia and Fringed trims add a touch of whimsy. Sweater dressing looked fresh in two pieces. Pleated and perforated technical woman cotton contrast the textural knit pieces. Laser cutting was a theme in many collections, along with eyelet and Alaïa used the techniques in fresh, simple ways.

The color palette of rich cocoa brown, stark black, soft tan, crisp white and with accents of paprika looked perfect to reenact Out of Africa, when we are allowed to travel once again.

Victoria Beckham:

Although criticized for furloughing some of her design team, Beckham used her time wisely during lockdown. Her Spring/Summer Collection for 2021 was hosted with just 4 models at the East London contemporary art gallery, Victoria Miro. Beckham’s clean, 70’s inspired designs came in a palette of cosmetic tones accented with cafe au lait and caramel tones, along strong black and what could be described as Kermit the Frog green.

Silhouettes were long and lean, with extra long pants, perhaps that may lead to ‘Fashion-Roadkill-Accidents’, sharp tailoring in trenches and jackets, and oversized ‘artists’ shirts. Her denim was fresh, wide legged with oversized cuffing details, and seaming/blocking. Colorblocking was featured in some of her silk dresses, mixing satins and chiffon for a nice play in materialization.

Dresses featured peak-a-boo drawstring cut outs, which felt quite retro and her accessories were bold, with chunky chains in brassy golds with oversized O-rings.

Versace:

Versace isn’t usually in my list of ‘best collections’. Not that I don’t see the value in the design of Versace, but the Italian fashion house hadn’t felt as fresh as other designers in recent years. This Spring Summer 2021 show, Donatella Versace suggested “Darling it’s better, down where it’s wetter” in a fun Little Mermaid inspired collection.

The runway was dusted with sand, with broken down Roman pillars, suggesting lost ruins deep underwater – her models walked the catwalks with wet look hair, for an ‘Under the Sea’ experience. Scuba pieces, wetsuit color blocking and sporty styles mixed in with fabulous aquatic themed prints, emblazoned with starfish, sea creatures and even jellyfish. The colors were optimistic, and it took us on a much needed vacation in lieu of any of us actually traveling right now.

Encrusted jeweled starfish adorned a stand out dress Irina Shayk modeled in beautiful ice blue silk satin with thigh high slit, flounced ruffled scuba/neoprene dresses, bold and bright color along with micro pleated silks in gorgeous aquatic prints. This collection had me longing to throw on my flippers and snorkel again.

Marni:

MARNIFESTO: From Marni – ‘We point our S/S 2021 show to the necessity, unity, inequality, beauty, isolation, intimacy, retrenchment, change and struggle — marking this very moment. At a time when we are ‘all in this together’ and have never been further apart: there’s nothing worth having without risk, nothing worth doing without trust; nothing small enough to be taken for granted. Let’s not get back to normal: let’s refashion the ‘model’, the ‘runway’, the ‘venue’ and the ‘show’. Not models, but human beings. Not a runway, but living.  Not a venue, but the world. Not a show, but an experiment’.

This season Marni took the opportunity to make a statement, to embrace the changes we were facing in a global pandemic and ‘make lemons out of lemonade’. Marni decided to refashion runway as we know it. The collection was sent to non-models worldwide, and the show was told through LIVE stories from Milan to LA, from New York to Dakar, from Shanghai to London, from Paris to Tokyo. The clips were shot by the family or friends of the models. A unique way of capturing a sense of unity and diversity, showing we are stronger together.

The collection was created during lockdown, and Francesco Risso of Marni, raided Marni’s archives and reimagined the pieces. Old coats were cut up, pieced back together, mixed up and patched and poetic words were painted over the pieces. The word LOVE graffitied on a back collar, or No Stones Can Withold Me on the inside of the coats opening. Clearly political and societal statements as the world if so unsettled.

Burberry:

Burberry Creative Director Riccardo Tisci said that the inspiration behind his Spring Summer 2021 was the British Summertime. Any British Summertime you will need your raincoat, of course. This collection was shown in the woods, the ultimate social distancing.

The collection was inspired by Nautical elements, a lighthouse keeper, mermaids and sharks and then brought to land. The prints echoed these inspirations, with shark or whale fins beautifully cut into a tie front blouse in elegant silk, or silk dresses with full sublimation prints. Dresses and tops in openwork structured knit resembled fisherman’s netting. Boots were high, like waders, ready for the water and there were many technical outwear coats seemingly in coated materials with colorblock and contrast fabric piecing or hot melts. The ubiquitous trench coats, so synonymous with the Burberry brand were pieced with dark rigid denim and leather, creating a new more casual spin on the classic item.

Moschino:

No Strings Attached. Jeremy Scott for Moschino sent puppets down the runway for Spring Summer 2021 with miniature versions of his collection. Puppets created by the Jim Hansen Company walked the runway held by invisible wire. The audience was also entirely made from puppets. A novel way to show the collection and remain socially distant.

The collection was for a modern day Stepford Wife, and fashioned in the style of 50’s Dior, but upside-down and inside out just as life has become for many of us. Most of the seams were visible on the outside of the garment. Lavish brocades, silks, embroidered and jeweled netting, faux fur and leather were used throughout and the colors were sweet, similar to the color of neopoliton ice cream. Mocha, cafe tans with strawberry pink, pastel baby pink, a soft blue, muted mint and frosted lilac and pops of black.

The collection was modernized with models with corn rows, fades, and mini fro’s – which looked chic and fresh with the retro styling.

Patou:

Guillaume Henry for Patou, presented a fabulous line up of models in decadently glam outfits to an empty room full of nude painted chairs. Henry stated that since we didn’t know where things will go, and the future is uncertain, that we should invoke passion and desire. Made with mostly recycled fabrics and organic cotton, the collection was oversized and subdued at the same time. The colors reminded me of sugared almonds, and dusty nudes that popped with chic black. Accented with crisp white squared toe Mary Janes, and historical inspired hats with chin straps.

Liberty-esque florals looked fresh in supersize-me ruffled concoctions. Sleeves were more puffed up than Trump, and we even saw the return of the puffball hemmed dress (I rocked it the first time around). Lace and brocade dresses had passementrie trimming which looked ornate yet modern. Cropped pants were trimmed in Ostrich feathers and collars had a wide puritanical vibe. The flounced hem on shorter skirts was also seen at Versace, I see a return to more ruffles and flounces again as we seek more joy, fun and optimism in our clothing choices in the next year.

Dior:

Who said Boho is dead? Dior unveiled a poetic collection of bohemian dressing set with gorgeous stain glass arches behind bearing magazine collages by artist Lucia Marcucci and a choir of only females singing. The show experience was abject calm amid such upheaval in the world. The designer Maria Grazia Chiuri, wanted to focus less about the clothing and more on how the clothes make you feel, and the experience of peace. The clothing was all quite emotive, pieces you would touch and feel, and feel special wearing. The colors were calming, rich Sienna or Mustard color in sheer chiffon, ecru lace and crochet, bisque and taupe shades with splashes of olive and black. Patternwork was ornate, reminding me of Etro with it’s lavish paisleys and border prints.

A denim and chambray interlude saw denim on denim piecing and discharge printed denim in easy pajama style dressing. Jackets were simple shaped, modified kimonos with belted waists. Kagools looked fresh with tie die stripes for a touch of sport athleisure in the mix. The collection was easy, familiar and comfortable – perfect for at home dressing in the coming year(s) ahead. Grazia Chiuri name checked Susan Sontag and Virginia Woolf as inspirations.

LMVH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton executives — including chairman and chief executive officer Bernard Arnault — were left scratching their heads on Tuesday, when a woman got up at the end of the Dior spring 2021 show and unfurled a yellow banner painted with the words: “We Are All Fashion Victims.”

In a corner of the flag was the extinction symbol used by environmental protesters, including climate action group Extinction Rebellion, which last year disrupted London Fashion Week with a series of demonstrations. A spokeswoman for the group in London confirmed it was behind the protest. Considering Dior’s Creative Director for Womenswear Maria Grazia Chiuri uses the catwalk for activism messages it’s not ascertained if the moment was staged or not.

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