Fashion design is a form of predicting the future. The most memorable trends, such as Dior’s 1947 New Look brought decades of success to the historic house by precisely foreseeing the flow of fashion design. Yet, foresight has become nearly impossible since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our world has become so filled with uncertainty, that one can be happy when being able to plan two weeks in advance.
This uncertainty is reflected within the collections of fashion houses. Creativity was not only essential in design and craftsmanship, but also in how the outcome is being presented to the public.
The SS 2021 collection combines the historical patterns of the fashion house with today’s trends. The history of the house is evoked by the opening walk of former models displaying the PB monogram, then followed by fluorescent and black-and-white contemporary attires.
Filmed at Houghton Hall in Norfolk, the video combines the style of digitised shows and fashion films, defining its message as a kind of manifesto: the collective desire of people to connect with nature and art through fashion.
The brand has made its spring-summer 2021 collection around the concepts of freedom and movement. Respect for the environment is emphasized not only in the composition of the images, but also in the composition of the clothes, as the brand worked primarily with recycled and sustainable materials. Silhouettes were made with waste minimization that also evoke nature in their colors: pink, khaki, peach, mandarin orange, sky blue and shades of bamboo.
The Louis Vuitton House closed the Paris fashion week with a parade of forty-three silhouettes, presented in front of two hundred guests in the interior of the historic La Samaritaine department store
Nicolas Ghesquière’s collection brought next season’s trends through evoking different seasons and combining a variety of styles. Classic and black-and-white-films, creating dialogue between the clothing line and digital technology, were projected on the walls of the department store that closed 15 years ago. The company is actually planning to reopen the iconic building as a store next February.
John Galliano, one of fashion’s great storytellers, seems to enjoy the opportunity of online fashion shows through films. Back in July, the house’s haute-couture collection, SWALK, was unveiled with Nick Knight’s film.
Maison Margiela’s SWALK II, brings the development of craftsmanship presented in the former collection to the world of prêt-à-porter collections. Inspired by the atmosphere of Buenos Aires echoed by tango and dance, the collection is presented through an artistic performance. Additionally, the film reflects the house’s respect for tradition and craftsmanship while also embracing the key significance of sustainability and recycling in fashion design. Although the film is longer than ordinary fashion shows we are used to, it remains an intriguing creation.
A futuristic scene gave place to the presentation of Miu Miu’s sporty collection at Prada’s headquarters. The models, including the daughter of Kate Moss (being her first performance during a fashion week), were marching on a sportsground-like scene while spectators were digitally displayed. Elements of the sporty collection were combined with retro aesthetics and spiced with bold associations to create pieces of a youthful, yet luxurious contemporary wardrobe.
The Chanel show is usually one of the most anticipated events of the fashion month. The house’s spring-summer 2021 prêt-à-porter collection presented in the Grand Palais evokes a lovely, light, and cinematic atmosphere. This feeling is reinforced by the music and the scenery, displaying a huge CHANEL inscription, inspired by the famous Hollywood sign. Witnessing all this from the front row must have been an amazing experience!
The fashion house has brilliantly combined the experience of a public performance with the sense of exclusivity. The metallic sparkle of Paco Rabanne's iconic dresses inspired by the sixties were displayed through a diverse group of models. Julien Dossena has created a wardrobe ranging from suits to timeless silhouettes that preserves the glittering and golden elements representing the trademarks of the fashion house.
Directed by Waltern Stern, Balenciaga’s presentation of its Summer 21 collection conveys a particular feeling of life, accompanied by the BFRND adoption of Corey Hart's Sunglasses at Night. Filmed during Paris at night, the collection
Diversity within the characters of the models was also a key aspect, as well as environmental awareness. The unisex collection was created using raw, certified organic materials along with reclycled fabrics. In terms of style, the collection is a hybrid mix of day and night, representing the craftsmanship of Balenciaga.
Appointed to head the artistic management of Schiaparelli in April 2019, Daniel Roseberry presents his spring-summer 2021 collection through striking backstage material. At one moment, we see the backstage of the creative workshop, at another the photoshoot is being prepared, while later, the pieces of the collection come alive on the streets of Paris. The atmosphere of Ebony and Ivory highlights the presence of golden accessories.
Suits with the house’s own print appear besides the black and white outfits. Following the authentic and elegant double-breasted jackets, evening dresses are being presented by the two gorgeous models.
Alexandre Mattiussi celebrates the extravagance of the French capital by displaying his collection of monochrome colours on the bank of the Seine river. Rethinking the use of black, he also presents office wear inspired by the seventies. This film pays tribute to Paris and the Parisian fashion culture that lives upon many generations.
The peculiar minimalism of Hermès inspires our fantasies regarding our wardrobe. The feminine elegance of beige creates a subtle contrast to the skin, sometimes paired with boyish silhouettes, that is occasionally contrasted by strong red tones. The runway evokes the atmosphere of big stages, creating a magical, urban forest in which the collection is displayed.
Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood
Despite being designed before the epidemic, the collection is reflecting on the current conditions. Made from recycled, environmentally conscious and organic materials, the collection has colourful, elegant pieces with the elements of well-tailored outfits.
Designed by the duo of Lisi Herrebrugh and Rushemy Botter, the spring-summer 2021 collection of the house was inspired by the essence of Nina Ricci's “L'Air du Temps” pieces. In today’s situation of forced confinement and isolation, the collection and the video made for its presentation invites the viewer to daydream and for a retreat regardless of time and location.
I've always longed for a video that records what's happening outside the shot. Loewe's short film extraordinarily brings such cuts together. "I wanted to put the viewer in a position where he himself becomes a creative force." Regarding the pieces, the classics of the house were reinterpreted to create airy, lighty, contemporary pieces.
Despite the current circumstances, Isabel Marant celebrated the joys of life with her spring-summer 2021 collection unveiled at the Paris Fashion Week. Accompanied by performance of the (La) Horde dance ensemble, the light silhouettes were displayed on an outdoor runway in front of a handful of admires of the brand. The miniskirts and shorts allowed us to observe the seductive movements of the legs, while the emphasis on shoulders evoked the trends of the eighties and nineties, attempting to present the clothes as suitable for both busy days or party-filled nights.
The display of Rick Owens’ SS21 collection was heavily inspired by Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice. Reflecting on the situation caused by the pandemic, models were wearing masks on the outdoor runway in front of the iconic Venician Palazzo Del Casino and were surrounded by a handful of staff of the fashion house. Models walking to the rhythms of the remixed version of Donna Summer’s I feel love presented a collection characterised by a futuristic appeal, layering a variety of different materials, thigh boots and pocketed micro-shorts. All, giving a strong impression of a Sci-fi scene.
The Parisian Palais de Tokyo gave place to Chloé spring-summer 2021 show. Yet, parts of the collection dedicated to A Season of Hope are first presented on the streets of Paris. While most fashion houses attempt to embrace the opportunities of digital technologies to present their collections, Chloé has redefined the essence of traditional shows with these images taken on the streets of Paris, fuelling our hopes towards a normal way of life after these difficult times.
Committed to a versatile and diverse wardrobe, Y/Project’s SS21 show resembles a unique instructional video. The absence of any background music directs all our attention to the makeover of the different clothes. Glenn Martens’ designs create a magical wardrobe, leaving Nania behind as a boring color book.
Minimalis, monochrome fantasies, diverse layers and eclectic textures. Along with elegant designs, Acne Studios SS21 collection presents a wardrobe tailored to everyday life for today’s modern women. Translucent fabrics, the alternation of long and short, layers, as well as matte and glossy materials all add up to serene cutting lines.
Patou’s SS21 collection comes alive in a video inspired by an archive of an old recording of a fashion salon.
The ruffled playfulness and the abundance of materials appear in the clothes combined with classic couture.
The brand, founded in 2014 by Christelle Kocher, presented its SS21 collection outdoors, in Parc des Buttes Chaumont. Bearing the risk of the weather’s unpredictability, yet respecting safety and COVID guidelines, models walked to the authentic melody of bagpipes. The eclectic wardrobe features the combination of sportswear with couture elements.
There’s something frustrating about the fact that one of the most reflective collections on the epidemic was unveiled at Fashion Week by a fashion house whose founder has since died of complications arising from the virus. Felipe Oliveira Baptista's second collection for Kenzo was presented in the gardens of the National Institute of Young Deaf de Paris. Even though one might have the impression that the protective accessories on the faces reflect on the current pandemic, they were originally inspired by the gear of beekeepers, paying tribute to the profession. The collection is also characterized by a sense of proximity to nature and Kenzo’s Japanese essence.
Dries Van Noten
While some fashion houses were inspired by the tradition of classic runway shows, others were keen to explore and experiment with the opportunities arising from digital presentations. Dries Van Noten, inspired by the latter approach, presented his SS21 collection in a lookbook-like film. Male and female silhouettes come alive from Rotterdam to Amsterdam trhough the lenses of photographer Viviane Sassen.
Dior combines the culture of fashion with the aesthetics of sanctity. The eighty six silhouettes designed by Maria Grazia Chiuri walked through the catwalk while being surrounded by colourful windows inspired by those of cathedrals and accompanied by the contemporary and experimental choral composition Sangu di Rosa of Lucia Ronchetti performed by Sequenza 9.3. Besides acknowledging the importance of acceptance through dressing the female body, her collection also reflects the evolution of society. The previously unrealized work of Italian artist Lucia Marcucci, Vetrata di poesia visiva also provides a visual experience through the displayed collage of illuminated images and texts.
Dior is committed to work with local experts and artisans to preserve cultural values and ensure the survival of specific techniques. This time, by evoking Indonesian traditions.
Since her debut in 2018, Marine Serre looks forward to using apocalyptic themes to which nowadays's situation characterized by climate change and the pandemic provides a unique source of inspiration. The presentation of her SS21 collection was also unique, being the sole truly cinematographic work of the Paris Fashion Week. The creations of the contemporary designer come alive as costumes of the science-fiction film, featuring the story of two characters: Iranian-Dutch singer-songwriter Sevdaliza and artist-model Juliet Merie. A white surgery room, an empty, barren desert and a spooky cave give place to the duality arising between self-defense and the desire for connection.
Within each imagery scene, Serre’s specific trademark is the driving force. In sharply contrasting landscapes, different attires adapt to the backgrounds: opening lab shots are dominated by shades of gray, black and white; fiery red silhouettes amplify desert lights, and the shades of sapphire and cobalt embrace the unknown world underwater.
Jimmy Choo has collaborated in the design of the shoes, resulting in footwear of an ultramodern, almost extraterrestrial nature.