Spring/Summer 2021 is the season where we learn to dress up again

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  • Saturday, 10 Apr 2021

Photo: Tory Burch

Fashion trends have come to a huge seasonal crossroad. Do designers continue creating clothes for life under lockdown? Or should they instead be dressing us to enjoy a post-pandemic world?

At the moment, most of us are neither here nor there. The runway looks for Spring/Summer 2021 (which were unveiled last year) look more like a prediction of both scenarios. They walk the line between glamour and practicality.

While some brands use campaign visuals to depict a more carefree lifestyle – like a glorious sunshiny holiday, others are subdued and careful with their messaging. The realistic “new normal” is still about minimalism.

As it is, the Covid-19 situation around the world differs from one country to the next. Labels are thus offering clothes for all manner of living. They are trying their very best to cover all bases.

Read more: Optimism makes a comeback in the Spring/Summer 2021 fashion collections

Working from home? You have your reimagined shirt dress to turn to for Zoom calls. Free at last to head out for a party? Metallic outfits are something you need to embrace. They are all the rage.

Clothes are getting their zing back too. Yes, even those with slouchy cuts. Embellished in a standout manner, they show that it is possible to be comfortable and stylish at the same time.

No matter the situation, fashion works to give us a little distraction. Whether to reminisce about the good ol’ days or look forward to a better future, it is definitely something we can count on.

Pandemic or not, the trends must go on.

Max MaraMax MaraFor all times

You have probably heard of the little black dress. Well, here is something new to add to your fashion lexicon – the little plain dress (as seen in Max Mara’s collection), something that you can wear for any imagined scenario.

Certain designs in the past have been promoted as being able to take you “from work to play”.

Now it is more about being comfortable enough for working on the sofa, as well as not look out of place at a small party (if you can actually go for one).

For once, being nondescript is a good thing. Muted they may be, but accessorised properly, designs such as these can navigate the fashion world without being called out as a faux pas.

“We started designing this collection at the beginning of lockdown. And it was a shot in the dark, because we had no idea at all if it would ever be produced or shown," Max Mara’s creative director, Ian Griffiths, said before his presentation in September.

All that glitters...

A design that shines and shimmers would probably remind you of New Year’s Eve parties. To capture that same spirit of unrestrained celebration, designers are rolling out clothes with metallic hues.

The trend used to be a huge trend in the 1980s. It is back with a vengeance. If not coloured full-on metallic, the generous use of embellishments on the fabric can achieve the same effect too.

Balmain’s Spring/Summer 2021 collection is fresh, young and elegant. It uses a lot of crystals (a whopping two million, according to the press release) for a selection of sparkly, party-ready outfits.

“Change happens. Advancements may require determined engagement, but progress is always possible," creative director Olivier Rousteing wrote in the show notes, about how he is still optimistic despite the difficulties of last year.

Issey MiyakeIssey MiyakePent-up positivity

Sweet and calming, pastels are making a big impact this season. The colours just remind you of a delicious sorbet. While not exactly new, at least this is something not overdone as florals.

In a time where everyone needs a little cheering up, pastels work. They evoke a sense of happiness and freedom – more so, when combined with trends of the moment like the boho-chic tie dye.

Read more: After a year of indoor living, fashion finds freedom in the boho-chic trend

Take for example, Issey Miyake’s Homme Plisse line for men. It portrays joyfulness using an online presentation that showed people out and about while enjoying their clothes (and lives) to the fullest.

At the moment, pastels are associated with serenity. The Issey Miyake short film even ends with a poignant and very relevant message: “For a future that is healthy, bright and full of hope.”

Miu MiuMiu MiuKnit wit

Singer-songwriter Taylor Swift may have popularised the humble cardigan last year when she released a song named after it, but it is fashion that now cashes in on the idea. Knitwear is everywhere right now.

Vogue has even declared knits as a defining trend everyone should be focusing on this season. Knitted pieces are said to be just the right meeting point between looking dressed up, while still being comfortable.

“While the days of loungewear and leggings won’t last forever, Spring 2021’s knitwear and ready-to-wear trends offer an easy transition out of it," the fashion magazine wrote.

Labels like Miu Miu went a step further. It made knits (once regarded as grandmotherly) a cool dress code for the young generation. The show was opened by Lila Moss, the 18-year-old daughter of supermodel Kate Moss.

JW AndersonJW AndersonWork chic?

What happens when you can’t head into the office for a year or more? You try to hold on to some semblance of work life – or at least, the wardrobe you have been accustomed to. Case in point: Alberta Ferretti.

The label presented no-nonsense designs for women in the form of everyday wear more suited to our current lifestyle. Flowing muslin dresses and embroidered shirts were the highlights.

Gucci surprisingly showed off muted looks that would not look out of place in an office. While it has always pushed the boundaries of out-there fashion, this time, it is about well-tailored outfits.

JW Anderson similarly offered formal-esque looks for the season. Although, these come adorned with design “quirks” – asymmetrical drapes, oversized shoulders or puffed-up pants, for example.

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fashion , trends , Spring/Summer 2021


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