1. Ski season
With the pandemic forcing everyone outdoors, it’s no wonder that a resurgence in skiing, snowboarding and other snow activities have taken hold this winter, and designers have snow sports on the brain, too. Thom Browne held his entire fall ’21 show on a ski run at Park City (and he tapped Lindsey Vonn to star in it), showing a variety of avant-garde evening looks that each had a touch of ski gear to it, from puffer accents (and Vonn’s gigantic gown-with-tuxedo) to cable-knit sweaters, resort souvenir patches and even a few gloves and mittens that appeared to actually be technical. Miuccia Prada chose the ski resort Cortina d’Ampezzo to in the Italian Dolomites to showcase her version of ski gear, pairing gigantic, thigh-high Yeti-like fur boots with crocheted bra tops, skirts and balaclavas. Chanel, meanwhile, went for just a hint of après-chic, pairing a variety of day-to-night wear and statement overcoats with a series of shearling-covering boots that will wear well both on city street’s and at mountain chalets. Overall, collections seemed to pay more attention to actual winter wear (especially at Givenchy), with plenty of coats, pants, gloves and hats that seem to serve a real purpose — in this case, a positive side-effect of the pandemic’s forced lifestyle shift.
2. Slipper style
There’s a lot of talk about how everyone is ready to get back into their heels after a year of slippers and sweatpants. But a handful of designers are being more realistic about how people will transition back to real dressing — we might be more reluctant to give up our cozy kicks than we’re will to admit. Designer Joseph Altuzarra offered a chic update, in a flat fluffy sole attached to a gladiator wrap sandal accented with pretty drop pearls. Elsewhere, Nina Ricci’s modish looks were punctuated by a similar fluffy sole, while Gabriela Hearst’s new Chloé brought forth the designer’s need for easy shoes, this time in shearling comfort bed slides with knit uppers to match knit dresses.
3. Hands in glove
You might call it a paranoid effect of the ultra-sanitary conditions everyone has been trying to keep over the past year. The latex rubber gloves of our reality morphed into chic, sleek leather styles on this season’s runways and fashion films. At Dries Van Noten, a pair of soft leather opera gloves were matched to a red lipstick, while Jil Sander coordinated a buttery version to an equal supple leather trench coat (and matching bag). At Lanvin, opera-length leather gloves gave a retro lean to ladylike looks while a black leather styles accented with crystals gave an edge.
4. What’s on the outside
Maybe it was all of those outdoor dining setups, which demanded a good coat this winter. Statement outerwear has always been a priority category for the season, but this year designers took it up a notch, marrying eye-catching prints and shapes with a warmer, or even more technical look. At Louis Vuitton, warm wool done in a collaboration print with Fornasetti was layered over a matching tunic and a hood. At Dries Van Noten a rosedbud print red coat had a cocoon shape, ample hood and elastic sleeves, while
5. The sleek and sturdy boot
If there is one footwear takeaway from this strange fashion month, it is that a good solid leather boot is a must. It can be anywhere from just below the knee to a tasteful thigh level. It can be most any color, from basic black to metallic, even to banana yellow. But it should stay sleek and minimal, without any decoration, only a stacked heel of some height. Isabel Marant, Jil Sander, By Far and Longchamp did some of the season’s best.
6. Back to suits
Pre-pandemic, the women’s power suit was everywhere and on everyone, from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to Hollywood starlets and legacies alike, and the fall ’20 season had plenty more that many planned to wear. Alas, those suits were shelved for sweat sets and chunky knits while everyone stayed at home. But now, both in celebrity style and on the fall ’21 runways, the silhouette is back. It’s bold but easy way to get back into real dressing, as it’s something of an all-or-nothing game. At Christian Dior, Maria Grazia Chiuri took a modest, slightly retro approach, pairing some suit jackets with A-line mid-calf skirts or conversely, mini skirts (the jackets were the surest bet, smartly belted for a “done” look). At Jil Sander, cuts resembled an early 2000s return. At Loewe, JW Anderson had some fun with shapes, color, prints and hemlines in non-suit suiting.
7. Puffed sleeves
Another pre-pandemic trend, the puffed sleeve’s life cycle may have actually expanded after a year of Zoom meetings and figuring out what to wear while working from home. It’s like the slide shoe of tops and one of the easiest ways to stand out in a virtual meeting: it carries less stuffiness than the aforementioned suit jacket and can, of course, be worn with jeans (or, honestly, sweatpants). Isabel Marant continued to offer easy-to-wear options by way of knit jumps and tops, while brands such as Loewe and Louis Vuitton took the shape to outerwear.