Fashion month has come to a close for another season, and what a season it was. Largely digital due to the ongoing pandemic, designers still pulled out all the stops at New York Fashion Week, London and Milan Fashion Week with short films, presentations and audience-less shows presenting their AW21 collections.
In Paris, Dior took over Versailles no less (see a sneak peek below), while Chanel took over the iconic Castel club in Paris for a paired-back collection all about contrasts. Keep scrolling for more feel-good fashion from all our favourite designers, from Cecilie Bahnsen to Jil Sander, Louis Vuitton and Chloé.
There’s no need to venture far to create the impression of traveling. It’s enough to reach far back… to the Golden Age, or Age of Enlightenment, eras that forged the essence of our civilization. Everything is expressed so purely in Greco-Roman antiquity, the acme of an aesthetic whose primacy is uncontested. More than a journey, Louis Vuitton embarks on an odyssey with a Fall-Winter 2021 collection that incorporates fabulous drawings by Fornasetti, the delicate, fanciful engravings of an enduring era. His imaginative strokes explore, illustrate and impart style. It’s also a story of conquest — of body, heart and mind — in which humankind takes centre stage, in all its functional elegance, intellectual dominance, and earthly seduction. The astonishment of age-old principles endures and continues to guide us, such as contrapposto, a stance that first appeared in the 6th century BC and lent statues a dynamic allure, which countless couture poses have reprised since and still denotes a certain stylistic tension in fashion.
“I love contrasts, so for the more voluminous winter pieces, I wanted a small space. I don’t know if this is because of the times we live in, but I wanted something warm, lively. I imagined the models doing a show for themselves, going from room to room, crossing each other in staircases, piling their coats up in the cloakroom and going up to the next floor to get changed. And I thought of the shows that Karl would tell me about, back in the day, a long time ago, when the models would dress themselves and do their own make-up,” says Virginie Viard describing the atmosphere of the CHANEL Fall-Winter 2021/22 Ready-to-Wear show.
For the autumn-winter 2021-2022 ready-to-wear collection, Maria Grazia Chiuri explores the world of fairy tales. A network of symbols, these fantasy worlds are in no way a means of escape; they serve to question and challenge, above and beyond stereotypes. Like an invitation to self-affirmation, the tin soldier’s uniform is transformed into a series of blue cashmere coats enhanced with red and white accents. Black takes pride of place on a range of looks, from skirts to the Bar jacket punctuated with Dior’s iconic cannage motif or fitted with a hood, which might have been worn by Angela Carter’s Little Red Riding Hood*. Reinvented, feminine magic, and a subtle path towards a new awareness.
Electricity. The LOEWE Fall Winter 2021 women ́s runway collection is a full-frontal, visually saturated statement in shape and colour, pumped up to the max.
Breaking with the LOEWE formula, creative director Jonathan Anderson escapes the boundaries to define new ones. An exploded palette of bright, acrylic hues is juxtaposed in graphic compositions then mapped onto abstract silhouettes that swing around the body, drape all over it and sprout out of it. The sheer joy of fashion-making is harnessed to convey an idea of dressing up as an audacious act, marking a point of departure towards new grounds.
“In many ways, this collection is about a constant tension between two worlds. It’s about finding personal meaning in difficult circumstances; it’s about sincerity in what we do rather than strategy. We wanted to bring a sense of lived reality alongside precision, elegance and extravagance in the clothing and looks. Ultimately, fashion for us is a way of being, feeling and connecting rather than a game to be played. It’s almost like monumentalising the everyday, filling it with emotion – like music you can wear.”
Matthew M. Williams, Creative Director, Givenchy
Gabriela Hearst unveils her first collection for the Maison Chloé one hundred years to the day of Gaby Aghion’s birth. From Gaby to Gabi, two ambitious women interpreting femininity in the context of their time. And from Gabi to Gaby, the reassurance that, “Your House is in good hands.” When Chloé’s founder began presenting her earliest collections, she invited guests to Left Bank locales such Café de Flore and Brasserie Lipp. Today, with changes and cultural influences underway that are deeply personal to Gabi, the meaning of Chloé – ‘blooming’ in Greek – resonates anew. The Autumn-Winter ’21 collection is thus informed and inspired by sustainability and a commitment to the greater good. A forward concept has emerged that is subtle in design but bold in action. In every piece, a sense of purpose.
A vision of the past or a projection into the future? The Isabel Marant Fall-Winter 2021 collection translates this ambiguity into silhouettes, colors and prints.
The folk and libertarian spirit of the 60’s driven by Jimmy Hendrix or Janis Joplin meets the techno impulse of the Gabber scene, a subculture that took the nineties by storm. Psychedelic multicolor floral patterns are layered with an electric blue iridescent vinyl fabric, while Texan boots are worn with oversized sportswear-inspired pieces, adorned with colored yokes.
“After lockdown number one in Copenhagen last year, when we got back into the studio, I drew a line through the calendar. With my team we spent a month with the fabrics, making everything by hand, experimenting and playing – not even thinking about the final pieces. It became super important to me how the fabrics felt against the skin – the texture and touch. Our lives are so digital and distant in this moment, I wanted the fabrics to be a contrast. When you put on a piece from the collection, I want you to feel the beauty of the fabric, to be comforted by it. This sense of comfort is my idea of luxury.
After this month in the studio we had a creative challenge, to sit down, to edit and create a collection that felt coherent. I wanted it to be the most beautiful collection we’ve done – every detail, every silhouette, the fabrics, all of it to have the touch of the hand. I wanted the wearer to feel our passion for our craft in every piece.
I was drawn to the beauty of an empty city – with an imposing and industrial feel. In a very natural way, the mood and the storyboards for the lm became the inspiration for the colours and mood of the designs. I collaborated with my close friends at Moon to help bring this vision to life. Connection… linking arms…
being together… a journey… these things are dear to me.”
- Cecilie Bahnsen, Creative Director
Voluminous yet shaped silhouettes, soft and worn fabrics, contrasting moments of sweetness and elegant refinement; this collection is a visual evolution moving from a dreamscape into an awakened reality.
“I was thinking about what happens when we emerge from isolation, the same but also somehow different. This collection is a dreamscape that begins with soft pastel colours, before awakening into monochromatic clarity, which is an ode to the white or black clothes worn for rituals in our life cycle, like weddings and funerals.” says Jonny Johansson, creative director of Acne Studios.
For the Longchamp Fall/Winter 2021 fashion show presented during Paris Fashion Week Creative Director Sophie Delafontaine drew inspiration from the iconic Longchamp racehorse logo and the work of the French interior designer Pierre Paulin, whose vision revolutionised Parisian apartments in the second half of the 20th century.
Drawn by Turenne Chevallereau, the galloping Longchamp racehorse is the enduring expression of the label’s dynamism and art de vivre. It was this equestrian connection which influenced the choice of location for the show: Paris’ renowned Battesti riding hall, whose imposing glass and iron roof was engineered by Gustave Eiffel. Pierre Paulin, meanwhile, was a key influence on the collection’s silhouettes, with Sophie Delafontaine citing his innovative approach to line, function, colour and material as chiming with the creative spirit of Longchamp. Thus, many of the looks had a sensual, enveloping quality evocative of the curves of a Paulin sofa, while quilting and layering were prominent themes. Several silhouettes featured sleeveless, padded gilets in butter-soft lambskin, while cashmere crop tops were worn over, providing a more casual approach to dressing as a continued response to the world around us.
Fearless. This collection is an ode to individuality, freedom and change. It is mirror of the sense of self reflection and intimacy we are enjoying, even if it forced upon us, and the desire we have for the company of others. Our sensation of being multiple, manifold, of swinging between diverging needs and pleasures, of wanting to be everything we feel, giving space to our many selves, is intense, revealing, and eventually empowering.
Introducing ELLEME's debut RTW collection.
Liberated, determined, mysterious. Depending on her, a walk can be a routine, a nothing, or it can be a precious, vibrant escape. And in this very moment, the most natural encounter there is. The streets, the nature, pavement and parks, are for now a woman’s stage. In and out of town, women are clearing their heads, refreshing their spirits, passing on a good secret, and feeling anew, empowered and alive.
On a walk. She is free. Especially in her voluminous, enveloping covers. The layering, draping, oversized-ness of her look seem to add to the freedom of her walking with utmost ease.
Surrealism writ joyful. Bijoux that are as much armor as they are embellishment. A
disciplined palette. An irreverent take on silhouettes. This is Schiaparelli. All of us who love fashion understand that there’s an uneasy (if necessary) marriage between design and commerce. Too often, commerce has to win. Which is why I love working for couture house, where creativity still defines the mission and is never treated as an afterthought.
What is Schiaparelli? It’s a dedication to the unexpected, the risky, and the exuberant. You can see this philosophy in pieces like the oversized men’s parka, rendered in denim but with gold bijoux snaps; or the Milano knit trench coat trimmed in leather; or the navy-leather cowboy-cut pant. You can see it as well in the jewelry: oversized necklaces, earrings, and rings that combine a Dadaist absurdity with swaggering proportions, so that a row of molar-inspired rings (each crown of which is set with a glittering crystal) are worn on every finger, like a knuckle ring.
‘Actually, there won’t be a show this March 2021. Just like last year. And just like last October. NO SHOW. This pandemic has wiped out our shows, but not our collections. We’ve continued our work and stayed on track, despite it all. These dark and disturbing times encouraged us to use more colors and convey an optimistic message.
What else can we do in this unreality? When history plays tricks on us, there’s no point in sinking into black and white existentialism. On the contrary, it’s the perfect moment to “do something” to block its unidirectional path towards uncertainty.
-- JEAN TOUITOU’
This Fall Winter 2021 Maje has taken inspiration from the English countryside and the feeling of freedom & expression. The colour palette includes autumn browns, khakis, mixed with pastels and pops of orange, sky blue and pink. Materials are soft and subtle, and shapes are relaxed and unfitted to give the free-spirited feeling. Femininity is more versatile than ever… and this seasons Maje collection is effortless and filled with natural nonchalance.
"We are trying to find a golden common ground between the needs and desires, as both play a huge role in our life. After a challenging stay at home year, we decided we need some fantasy back - hence elevated styling and more glamorous background for the clothes. There is an optimist minimalism sneaking out this collection, that concentrates on the times we will once again be able to dress up, walk out and seize the day."
“The inspiration behind the collection comes a very organic mindset that we have developed during a new reality. Despite the craziness around society, love always found its way and this collection is a testament to that warm feeling oh hope and love despite the adversity. People are still following love and we want to celebrate the new chapter of life, one that is coming. We also felt compelled and moved by "La Primavera" by Sandra Botticelli, a painting that includes nine divine figures that emerge from the darkness of a forest, which to us, sounds pretty poetic.”