When viewing the spring summer 2021 collections you need to first acknowledge the context in which these looks were created—designers around the world were all working during lockdown, many away from their studios and usual resources, divided from their teams and facing huge logistical challenges. Their work was then presented to the world largely via livestreams, videos and fashion shows with limited audiences. With the usual circus and excess around fashion week removed, the focus really was back on the craftsmanship and message of the clothes. But what clothes do you create when— to put it plainly— you just don’t know what people will be dressing for in 2021.
How we get dressed can have a huge impact on how we feel, while also reflecting wider shifts in mood, and so it’s not surprising given the current climate that for this season designers examined its purpose and what we really need from fashion. There were two approaches here—some created fabulous, infectious clothes to put the joy back into getting dressed, and others brought us classic pieces that act as an extension of the past year’s comfortable uniform. That’s why below you’ll find a section for ball gowns and a section for slippers.
There are still question marks over what we will be doing in 2021, however below we have outlined the pieces and styling tweaks which are set to have a place in our wardrobes this spring and beyond. Keep scrolling for our guide to the most creative, beautiful and important looks we saw for SS21—and the ones that we believe will impact how we actually get dressed.
There was a feeling of optimism across all four cities, with clothes designed for a post lockdown world and as an antidote to all that loungewear—think OTT dresses, vibrant colours and feel-good prints. Many designers anticipate that in 2021 we will want to have more fun with our outfits and project a sunny outlook, whether that’s via a rainbow print or wearing the most fabulous dress imaginable. London Fashion Week designer Halpern is a perfect example of this sentiment, as he created infectious images with frontline workers wearing some of the happiest clothes you could imagine. “It’s about having fun—I didn’t want to do fantasy and ignore what’s happening in the world. Fashion should prop people up and give people a break, especially when they’ve been having such a terrible time,” he said to Vogue at the time.