From The Straits Times    |

Gender, youth, nature, health and comfort are just some of the issues that fashion designers are tackling on the season’s runways. Why so serious, one might ask? Creatives usually can’t help but to be influenced by what’s happening around them. And during this highly unusual time, when the whole world is still grappling with the global pandemic, the reaction can be felt in many aspects of SS ’21.

Designers have been forced to relook, rethink, and revisit fashion. They’ve taken a few pages from the past, searching for the purity of lines, and trying to balance function and style, just like the legends before them. Some have recalibrated the whole concept of the fashion calendar and the logistics of it.

They’ve reintroduced the art of tailoring and dressmaking by experimenting with volume, colour and texture. Others have recreated a childhood memory in order to connect with the youth of today. Fashion, after all, is about creating an image and manufacturing desire (our “wants” almost always trump our “needs” when it comes to shopping). But really, the most important thing for fashion right now is to offer respite. And for that very reason, the shows still have to go on.

The Return Of Thinking Fashion

The crux of minimalism in fashion is actually the idea of purity, and a connection between the clothes and the wearer. Think of Helmut Lang’s heyday in the ’90s, when fashion ignited a movement rather than mere trends.

Credit: Sportmax

Maximum Volume

What is fashion without some exaggeration? In SS ’21, it’s seen on everywhere from sleeves to skirts and dresses. They come in bulbous shapes with pleats, plisse, ruches and gathers exemplifying an haute couture trait – the pinnacle of dressmaking technique.

Credit: Loewe

Pockets & Pouches In Ingenious Places

Talk about being functional – designers are offering solutions for your storage needs. At Burberry, Riccardo Tisci suggests a pouch on cap, while at Prada, it comes as an attached oversized pocket on a cloak – all of which are clearly created for a modern woman on the go.

Carrot-Leg Cargo Pants

Part fashion and part utilitarian, the must-have pants of the season are roomy on top and pegged at the hem. Add to that a bit of military edge in the form of khaki colouring, complete with cargo patch pockets, and you’re set.

Credit: Loewe
louis vuitton
Credit: Louis Vuitton

The Malibu Barbie Look

Okay, this might have been seen as entering the “fashion as camp” zone. But the takeaway here is the incessant obsession that designers have with youth. It’s all about a mixture of colours, prints and textures, in the hope that we can play dress up once more.

Credit: Versace
Credit: Etro

Highlighter Hues

The surprising surge of looks and accessories in various permutations of neon greens, yellows and pinks instantly adds a youthful energy to the season.

Highlighter hues
Credit: Left to right: Tod’s, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Versace, Tod’s, Bottega Veneta

Doodles & Scribbles

Channelling their inner child, designers are scribbling on bags, tops and T-shirts. Perhaps the line work marks their favourite pastime during lockdown, when the SS ’21 collections were actually being designed.

Doodles & Scribbles
Credit: Left to right: Issey Miyake, Burberry, Balenciaga, Coach

A Handmade Tale

In a nod to a simpler time when clothes were made in small batches by hand, designers are using needlepoint techniques on dresses, tops and sweaters. These pieces, in crochet, knit or lattice work, also point to the ’70s flower child moment in fashion.

Sheer Beauty

One of the biggest trends we’re seeing on the SS ’21 runways is the play on sheer fabric as layers. From silk chiffon to organza and georgette, these delicate textiles add sophisticated allure to any ensemble.

Credit: Chanel

This article first appeared in the March 2021 issue of Her World.