Fashion News

Top-Down Dressing

By Kristen Bateman

Multicolour Puff-Sleeve Printed Plissé Top and green midi pleated skirt from Trésor de La Mer VERSACE Spring Summer 2021 collection.

Multicolour Puff-Sleeve Printed Plissé Top and green midi pleated skirt from Trésor de La Mer VERSACE Spring Summer 2021 collection.

In a world where Zoom meetings rule and Instagram is the new runway, it’s no surprise that we’re turning our attention upwards. Top-down dressing—emphasized shoulders, supersize top proportions and eccentric collars—is not only the norm, but the look to aspire to in a digitally dominated world.

A look from the Gucci Spring Summer 2021 collection.

A look from the Gucci Spring Summer 2021 collection.

“Zoom isn’t the only thing that impacts this way of dressing; social media and the front camera also add to the mix,” explains trend forecaster Marie-Michèle Larivée. “Social media and the filter effect add an extra layer of show. The colors and extravaganza are highly impactful and visually pleasing on-screen.”

A look from the Gucci Spring Summer 2021 collection.

A look from the Gucci Spring Summer 2021 collection.

Alexander McQueen black buffalo leather biker jacket with puff tulle sleeves, boat neckline and chest zip pockets.

Alexander McQueen black buffalo leather biker jacket with puff tulle sleeves, boat neckline and chest zip pockets.

Gucci, for instance, sent models down the catwalk in structured collars, vintage-looking ascots, printed bow neckties and flower corsages neatly pinned on the neckline for Spring. Likewise, Alexander McQueen indulged in leg-of-mutton sleeves attached to swingy trench coats, big rounded shoulders on denim jackets and extreme, gossamer-thin puffed sleeves on leather moto jackets. And who could forget Balmain’s celebration of vivid colors and bold shapes, in the form of striking angular shoulder pads on everything from neon blazers and draped dresses to modern versions of the power suit?

A look from the Alexander McQueen Spring Summer 2021 collection.

A look from the Alexander McQueen Spring Summer 2021 collection.

“Adding volume and emphasis on top increases the perception of presence and standing,” says Larivée. “We can recall the wide shoulders, extravaganza and power dressing of the ‘80s.”

A look from the Trésor de La Mer VERSACE Spring Summer 2021 collection.

A look from the Trésor de La Mer VERSACE Spring Summer 2021 collection.

Indeed, it seems that a number of designers turned to their house archives for inspiration this season. When Donatella Versace was designing her Spring 2021 collection for Versace, she looked at the theme of life after lockdown. Seashell motifs from Gianni Versace’s Spring ’92 ‘Trésor de la Mer’ collection appeared in the form of bejeweled brooches on lapels, along with jewel-encrusted bodices and neon knitted bras layered over oceanic printed tops.

A look from the Gucci Spring Summer 2021 collection.

A look from the Gucci Spring Summer 2021 collection.

And, at Saint Laurent, Creative Director Anthony Vaccarello also looked to the archives for the oversized flower choker necklaces, marabou-trimmed necklines, ties, wide collars and neck ruffs with which he paired jersey bike shorts, loose kaftans and turtlenecks.

Images courtesy of Alexander McQueen, Versace, Gucci.



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