Following a trying year, self-imposed hibernations have heightened our need for self expression. The sartorial solution? It’s time to officially retire your sweats and embrace the delight of getting dressed up again. Get ready for a re-emergence of over-the-top looks featuring sequins, feathers and mesmerizing metallics. “After a year of pent-up creativity and such a challenging time, both designers and brands are excited to bring an explosion of beauty and joy into the world,” says stylist Micaela Erlanger, who works with stars like Lupita Nyong’o and Meryl Streep. “People are going to want to go all out when getting dressed.”
From New York to Paris, the Fall 2021 runways were packed with pumped-up ensembles that exude fantasy and fun. Design duo Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons were inspired by the idea of change and transformation as evidenced by Prada’s exuberant collection that perfectly fused elegance and practicality. Eye-catching coats reigned supreme: Tailored jackets covered in colorful sequins; reversible wraps—paillettes on one side, faux-fur on the other; plus toppers in electric hues.
Alessandro Michele celebrated Gucci’s 100th anniversary with a 15-minute film showcasing a whopping 94 looks. Models rocked exaggerated threads accented with voluminous feathers, lingerie lace and crystal-adorned logos. Velvet power suits, embroidered dresses and embellished outerwear were paired with avant-garde add-ons like bedazzled minaudières, high-shine body chains and leather harnesses.
At Valentino, Pierpaolo Piccioli, opted for mostly daywear separates that were equally as dazzling as any glamorous frock. Oversized sequined sweaters and fringe-flecked knits were paired with flirty mini skirts, while golden blazers worn over matching metallic vests were both sensible and captivating.
On the other end of the spectrum, Dolce & Gabbana capitalized on color with a kaleidoscopic assortment brimming with high-tech materials in a rainbow of striking hues. Space-age silhouettes in silvers, gold and fluorescent shades were dominant standouts, along with pearl dresses and gem- encrusted bustiers.
The catwalks were chock full of inspiring outfits, many incorporating pieces you may already have in your closet. To wit, Dsquared2 paired a Fair Isle sweater with a sequin midi skirt, Rosetta Getty showed a metallic slip dress atop a black turtleneck and Stella McCartney put a glittering top over flared trousers.
If you’re still unsure about integrating high- wattage looks, Erlanger advises to consider your personal style. “I plan to go maximalist, but you don’t have to go head-to-toe disco.” Whether you go all out or just add a new glimmering accessory, one thing is clear: In a post-pandemic world, the future of fashion looks bright.