Seasonless or not, fashion trends are now reflecting our changed lifestyle


  • Style
  • Wednesday, 16 Jun 2021

The lines are quickly blurring. Some Pre-Fall clothes look like they are made for high summer. Photo (from left): Carolina Herrera, Emilio Pucci, Moschino

When big designers called for the traditional fashion calendar to be abolished last year, it seemed like it would be a groundbreaking start of season-less collections. The trend did not catch on though.

In 2021, we are back to the usual cycles – even with the smaller releases like Pre-Fall. A number of fashion houses have reverted to what they know best. Although, the lines are quickly blurring. Some Pre-Fall clothes look like they are made for high summer.

For labels that have not released designs specifically labelled for the Pre-Fall season, they have expanded their Spring/Summer collections. Autumn/Winter releases have even been pushed earlier, for others.

One reason why Pre-Fall collections (released in the past to suit the early beginnings of chilly autumn climate) have lost some of its identity is the pandemic. With indoor living, fussy and overly thick clothing have become redundant.

Read more: Should the fashion calendar make a comback? The industry remains divided

Missoni, for one, focused on easy-to-wear athleisure pieces for the season. The Carolina Herrera label took talking points from its Spring collection, presenting designs that are more practical.

Emilio Pucci went so far as to strip down the excesses of flamboyant fashion. Colours were a lot more muted and the designs minimalistic. More comfortable or charming than wildly trendy.

As it is, the narrative for Pre-Fall is now different. From celebrating freedom and the great outdoors to taking a more “human” approach in celebrating individualism, it mirrors our changed lifestyles.

A sense of freedom

Photo: CoachPhoto: CoachFor Coach, it is all about being free-spirited. The season’s very casual collection (even more so than usual) combines the label’s heritage in craftsmanship with the codes of American sportswear.

Designs are both athletic and classic. Case in point is the debut of bags from its archives, freshened up with trendy quilted leather. There is even a new treatment for denim jacquard and exuberant use of youthful hand-embroidered knitwear. The campaign brings together three “friends” – actors Hari Nef, Dree Hemingway and Rickey Thompson. They are depicted as having the best time of their lives on a carefree, post-pandemic road trip.

“Our Pre-Fall collection is inspired by a sense of nostalgia, freedom and anticipation – feelings that I associate with summer, ” reads the press statement by creative director Stuart Vevers.

“I imagined the collection with new adventures in mind, exploring craft and Coach’s heritage with the fresh attitude of sportswear. To bring the collection to life, we created a campaign with the Coach family to tell a timely story about friendship and being together again.”

Mirroring real life

Versace chose to do away with the usual celebrities for this year’s campaign. In a rather unusual move, the fashion house instead focused on dressing “real” people of different personalities and characters.

Like so many other labels, comfort became a key element of the designs. Prints were a lot less flamboyant, and the colour palette adhered to monochrome shades – mainly black, in this instance.

Vogue said that Donatella Versace wanted to “infuse Pre-Fall with a joyous spirit and a sense of warmth”. Citing sources from the design team, it reported the vice president and artistic director as saying, “The gloss often looks untouchable.”

In a later email interview with Vogue, Donatella then explained that the collection is dedicated to all those men and women who are self-confident, aware of who they are and authentic, plus a celebration of individual identity and personality.

“Fashion and style become even more a way to express one’s own ideas. In fact, I believe that today, it’s not just about a fashion show or a campaign, but the extent to which fashion is shaping the way people dress and interact with one another by expressing their own ideas and values.”

Out to have fun

Moschino being Moschino, went all out to capture attention with wild, wacky and bold designs. Asymmetric cuts and loud motifs, for example, or the generous use of exaggerated lapels and bows.

According to the press release, this was about drawing from the art world, specifically sculptures made of objets trouves – French for “found objects”. It is a tribute to clothing, but seen as a creative collage.

“In fashion, these objets are the fabrics and fixtures and filigrees, all pieced and patch-worked together to create liveable, malleable statues, so to speak, ” was the given reason behind the collection’s message.

From sweatsuits spliced with silk to pairings of denim and leather, it was one contrast to another. Baroque prints popped up everywhere. Not to mention, super embellished corsets and thigh-high boots.

In the few rare designs that look somewhat ready for everyday use, Moschino upped the visual message by using model Winnie Harlow. Having vitiligo, she brought a different kind of beauty to the current Pre-Fall collection.

Out of bounds

Photo: BurberryPhoto: BurberryAfter a long year of indoor living, Burberry is celebrating the great outdoors for Pre-Fall. The season’s rugged collection is described in the look book as “an urban riff on a non-urban wardrobe”.

Many of us have a yearning to go out again, or wish for lockdowns to end once and for all. Chief creative officer of Burberry, Riccardo Tisci is of a similar mind. He draws from public sentiment for the season’s designs.

“I have been inspired by the rich heritage of traditional British dress codes and given them a fresh perspective... This is my uniform for the outdoors.... This collection is about mirroring the natural environments within its dynamic prints, colours, and textures.”

Camouflage was used abundantly. As are floral and faux fur embellishments. The colours remind of foliage, with earthy tones giving different pieces of clothing a very nice touch of animalistic fervour.

Offered are dungarees, fishing gilets, and kilts, as well as puffer jackets and vests. Just the kind of uniform that would not look out of place if you were to go for a “glamping” holiday with friends.

Making it personal

Valentino is also returning to the human element of fashion this season. In various interviews with the press, creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli was reported as saying that aesthetics should be determined by identity.

“For this collection, I really wanted to convey a new sense of sensuality. The overall attitude is less innocent and delicate, more self-conscious and confident, ” he said in an interview with Women’s Wear Daily, about the Red Valentino line.

Read more: How fashion models of today are becoming socially and morally conscious

“Instead of working on a sort of storytelling, this season we put more focus on the creation of bold, unique pieces, highly designed and injected with a sense of customisation. This idea of uniqueness and distinctive personality, I think it has been greatly interpreted in the images shot by Margherita Tamraz, who captured the essence of the collection with immediacy and authenticity.”

The clothes themselves will probably resonate with someone of a rebellious nature. It has a romantic feel, but edgy at the same time – anoraks, hoodies, capes, plus plenty of sheer trimmings and lace.

It is seen as the fashion house’s daring attempt at courting a younger crowd. As the press notes has so aptly put it: “The age of innocence is over. A new self-awareness takes centre stage.”

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