Somewhere over the rainbow, life beyond the mundanity of sheltering in place will resume in full spectrum. The question on every designer’s mind remains: when the time comes, what will we possibly wear? For the Spring 2021 collections, there was one resounding answer: all of it. If runways from New York to Paris are to be believed, “Loved it, couldn’t wear it,” will be a lament of yesteryear. Instead, the first thaw of spring will usher in refreshingly optimistic technicolor dream clothes to slip on and, with any luck, take anywhere we’d like.
Across continents, brands from Akris and Missoni to Marni and Versace eschewed complicated constructions and flash-in-the-pan flourishes in favor of pushing saturation to its limits. There were yellows of a new dawn at Alexander McQueen, a Kelly-green day suit with a carwash skirt at Bottega Veneta (the brand’s bold new signature color), and for Olivier Rousteing’s Balmain, the Weeknd’s “Blinding Lights” set the tune and the tone of his fluorescent show.
Opening with a strut of micro-skirted, nipped-waisted, pagoda power-shouldered models in lime and neon pink, it was a celebration not only of color, but of the body itself. If Rousteing and Donatella Versace have anything to say about it, skin, too, will be in.
In Milan, Pierpaolo Piccioli might very well have had Dorothy’s first glimpse of Oz in mind for the high-octane floral prints that glimmered across Valentino’s grey brick road at Milan’s Fonderia Macchi in the form of hoodies, button downs and floor-length silk dresses that took flight in the open air. In fact, the blooming pattern was borrowed from Valentino’s own archives, namely a singular sweeping dress most famously donned by Anjelica Huston in 1972, which Piccioli revived for the “radical romanticism” he’s prescribing for our reconnection to the outside world.
For those looking for a less jarring transition from Our Daily Sweats, there will be plenty of hospitable and none the less head-turning salves. At Chanel, Virginie Viard’s art imitated life, specifically those of young starlets whose every errand demands not just the lenses of paparazzi but the necessity to dress for them. Your coziest cardigan, she suggested, can serve double duty as a laissez-faire dress for the briefest and chicest of jaunts, especially in a charming shade of bubblegum.
While Balenciaga’s chromatic collection included one especially inviting fire engine red robe coat drawn with Demna Gvasalia’s coolly oversized lines, it was perhaps Dolce & Gabbana, returning from the fringes of an isolation of their own making, that brought Spring’s most uplifting range.
Its sinuous bustiers and deftly-cut blazers were pieced together with patchwork honoring all of the varying cultures of Sicily, the birthplace of Domenico Dolce. Floral, polka-dotted and entirely madcap, each confectionary piece telegraphed one unmissable message: we’re that much more beautiful when we’re united.
Photographer: Carly Klein
Stylist: Mariela Ortega
Stylist Assistant: Sofia Daguano
To view more looks from the season, click here.