The unveiling of spring / summer 2021 collections has come to an end with the last days of Paris Fashion Week.
And, while the pandemic may have hit pause on physical runway shows, it also sparked a rush of creativity on how best to present the new collections.
The static lookbook-style photography of the shows that happened over the summer has now been replaced with more thoughtful, less rushed alternatives that push both labels and audiences into new and thrilling territory.
Here are the highlights from this season's Parisian catwalks and presentations.
Having cancelled its summer-scheduled Resort collection owing to the pandemic, womenswear designer Nadege Vanhee-Cybulski cleverly kept it and folded it into the spring / summer 2021 offering. The result? A rich collection that veers from the light ensembles needed on a yacht to more buttoned-up layering better suited to a chic city life.
Harking back to the glamour of 1980s Chanel under Karl Lagerfeld, the label served up endless looks featuring oversized shoulders, boxy jackets and dressed-up layering. Amid the overscaled cuts, however, was a minuscule bag (carried over from the Cruise collection), hanging around necks and from hips. Perfectly quilted and no bigger than a lipstick, this is seriously one for the lust list.
Continuing the show-in-a-box idea he started earlier in the year, designer Jonathan Anderson sent out life-sized posters in lieu of a runway presentation. On the posters were models clad in exuberant looks, made with whatever fabric the team had on hand that felt like a celebration of life, despite the limitations of Covid-19. Bright, brash and with blown-up, shifting silhouettes, this was about unbridled joy over fear and restriction.
Having vowed not to do a runway show, instead, designer Demna Gvasalia went for a music video, which, given his penchant for the unexpected, felt perfectly normal. Amid the heavy and oversized outer-layer looks came his answer to the issue of face masks: a diamante-scattered polo neck that pulls up over the face.
For this collection, Nicolas Ghesquiere embraced tech and allowed guests to take part remotely, via cameras on the front row that moved on command. For the clothes, the opening look took a political stance with a call to “Vote” (no doubt aimed at the American audience), while the rest of the collection was womenswear awash with men's tailoring. The best bits? A mini dress made of huge sequins, and outrageously comfy-looking padded ankle boots.
Kate Moss's daughter, Lila Grace, opened a preppy, sport-infused show, squarely aimed at Lila's generation, who have had to spend months curtailed indoors, instead of being outside and carefree. The result is a collection that is light, fresh and fabulous, and speaks of easier days to come.
This first outing for new designer Matthew Williams offered a co-ed show to set out his new vision. Filled with ultra-sharp tailoring (for both genders), Williams also presented elegant clutches in the shape of an M, which, given his street-smart style, can hardly be a coincidence. Sophisticated and very pulled together, this is a skilful new direction for the house.
A notorious showman, creative director John Galliano ditched any standard form of presentation and instead delivered his collection as an Argentinian tango. Filmed at night, in the pouring rain, the clothes took shape as the dancers moved. Against the charged atmosphere, the exquisitely deconstructed clothes were given space and life, while the models' faces were covered in chiffon and under berets. If there is such thing as a perfect visual offering, this was it.