• Madeline Caris

The Runway Roundup - Trend Report from the SS21 Fashion Shows

The Top 12 Trends You Need to Know Now

Looks from Chanel, Moschino, Burberry, Prada & Louis Vuitton SS21 Shows

Chanel, Moschino, Burberry, Prada, Louis Vuitton. Image credit: Vogue

As the famous saying goes, ‘the show must go on’ - and from New York to Paris, indeed they did in spectacular fashion (excuse the pun!) Even with a worldwide pandemic underway, the industry put their best stiletto-clad foot forward and presented their respective collections for Spring Summer 21. Once again proving that fashion doesn’t stop, it simply evolves.

... fashion doesn’t stop, it simply evolves.

Earlier in the year, there was question as to the future of the industry with many fashion houses deciding to cancel their cruise shows. However, it’s amazing what a couple of months in lockdown will do for creative minds, with brands producing different representations of what was once the simple fashion runway show.

From Moschino’s marionettes and J W Anderson's paper cut-outs to Christian Louboutin’s virtual Loubi World, designers crafted impressive platforms to showcase their respective Spring Summer 2021 collections.

However, between social distancing measures and country lockdowns, fashion weeks and buying trips are not what they once were and buyers will be buying differently this season. And if there is one thing that doesn’t change in fashion, pandemic or not, it is the natural desire for trends.

Read on below to get the complete rundown on the Top 12 major Spring/Summer 21 fashion trends to look out for:

Oversized Volume

Loewe, Balenciaga, JW Anderson. Images credit: Vogue

We've all seen the oversized trend come and go over the past years, but in SS21 it comes back with the volume dialled up to MAX. Wildly exaggerated in overall size and fit. It appears we may be able to venture out of lockdown in clothes just as comfy as the loungewear we've been wearing for the past six months.

It appears we may be able to venture out of lockdown in clothes just as comfy as the loungewear we've been wearing for the past six months.

This trend is not uncommon for The Row, however with over half the looks dominated with oversized suiting it features more heavily this season than ever before. Jonathan Anderson takes it to the extreme at both Loewe and his namesake brand JW Anderson, with billowing sleeves and pant legs. In fact, you'd be hard-pressed to find a look that wasn't oversized in the Loewe collection. In Paris, Louis Vuitton take the oversize fit down a notch presenting commercial pieces in the form of baggy chinos and flowing duster coats.

Luxe Loungewear

Miu Miu, Balenciaga, Prada. Images credit: Vogue

For this next trend, designers took inspiration from either: a) what they were wearing at home during lockdown, or b) knowledge of the fact that we would all be going through trackpant-withdrawals once back out in public

Regardless of the inspiration, elevated loungewear could be seen in many a show. Miu Miu styled their tracksuit pants with feminine floral or pastel tops whereas Balenciaga styled their drawstring pants with a metallic embellished cami. In the very first Raf Simons x Miucca Prada collection, a hoodie featured amongst the logo-clad pieces. The trend even features in Balenciaga footwear with fluffy slippers giving all the WFH-feels.

80's Silhouettes

Chanel, Balmain, Louis Vuitton. Images credit: Vogue

Following on from the last cruise shows, the 80's continues to make a huge comeback as evidenced by signature silhouettes from the decade making appearances in many collections.

Between the boxy blazers spotted at Louis Vuitton, the shoulder pads over at Balmain and the strong presence of power suits over at Chanel the 80's are definitely one of the major trends this season as evidenced from the trends below that branches of this iconic decade.

All of the Lights, All of the Neon Lights

Balmain, Chanel, Valentino. Images credit: Vogue

The influence of the 80's doesn't stop at only the silhouettes, but also the colour palettes of which designers had no hesitation in splashing all throughout this season's collections.

Chanel fused bright neon in not only colour but also prints into its collection featured all throughout from ready-to-wear to accessories. Queen of Sustainability Stella McCartney, Christopher John Rogers and Valentino all went down the "more-is-more" route and presented head-to-toe full neon outfits in both suiting and flowing dresses.

Denim on Denim

Burberry, Dolce & Gabbana, Balmain. Images credit: Vogue

Another 80's trend that has appeared multiple times since (hello 2001 Britney & Justin in matching denim outfits at the AMA's), denim has taken on multiple forms across the fashion weeks but all complete full looks on their own.

At London fashion week, Burberry presented denim in separates that was styled together to achieve the disheveled elegance that they are well known for. Olivier Rousteing reimagined head-to-toe neon yellow looks into similar denim creations in the latter half of his Balmain show.

But it was the Dolce & Gabbana show in Milan that takes the cake in the denim stakes this season. Known for their signature Sicilian patchwork they've applied this intricate craftsmanship technique to denim, across multiple categories of ready-to-wear as well as leathergoods - D&G takes the Denim on Denim (on Denim) prize for SS21.

Genderless Apparel

Balenciaga, Louis Vuitton, Balenciaga (again). Images credit: Vogue

Fashion's forward-thinkers are advancing into a new space where an item of clothing is no longer specific to a gender.

“My question this season was less about one theme; it was about this zone between femininity and masculinity,” Ghesquière at Louis Vuitton stated in Vogue. He goes on to say, "... I found it inspiring to explore what the items are that represent this wardrobe that is not feminine, not masculine. I wanted to zoom in on that section in between."

"... I found it inspiring to explore what the items are that represent this wardrobe that is not feminine, not masculine."

His exploration resulted in expandable jackets that can be adjusted from a form-fitting feminine way or released for a more generous fit, as well as pants that allowed the user to shape-shift between the areas of feminine and masculine.

Balenciaga also presents in this space completely ignoring gendered categories, the collection offering jeans, huge coats and oversized shirts that are unisex. Gvasalia stating that "... according to who wears it, the silhouette changes, but whoever wears it, it looks good".

Taking the genderless theme to a deeper subject of inclusivity was Anderson at Loewe, who purposely cast the models with "an expanded inclusivity" and throughout the collection you can see items that would have, in seasons past, be styled as feminine now no longer.

Sheer in Summer

Christian Dior, Fendi, Valentino. Images credit: Vogue

What would the warmer months be, if not in attire that flows in the summer breeze?

Thankfully Maria Grazia Chiuri at Christian Dior, designed with "principles of body liberation" in mind, and presented sheer, flowing maxi dresses in variations of soft blues, blush and greens - perfect for spring.

At Fendi, lightweight midi dresses is scattered amongst the collection in tones of sky blue, white, monochrome print, and bold red. Although less fluid in structure, Fendi's point of difference is the highly intricate embroidery of spring flowers that add a fresh spin on this trend.

Image credit: Vogue

Valentino arguably presented the strongest hand in this trend with a fair number of looks that took this trend to many interesting places.

Featured in solid bright bold tones of red and orange, to earthy tones of spring green and browns. Paying homage to history, also applying this trend to a print used in 1972 in a modern ethereal way. Calling upon micro-trend of ruffles, then applying ruffles to flowing maxi dresses - there are layers upon layers seen in this collection.

What is impressive is that this is rewriting Valentino from the couture roots of this established fashion house. Piccioli states "re-signification" of the brand, still be in keeping the brand's DNA but with moves into less structured pieces - modernizing the brand to the changes of today, where one must go with the flow and adapt.

... modernizing the brand to the changes of today, where one must go with the flow and adapt.

All That Glitters

Burberry, Balmain, Valentino. Images credit: Vogue

Then there are those of us on the opposite end of the fashion spectrum, who cannot wait to peel off the garments of quarantine aka. loungewear, and step out in all levels of glamour and brilliance. And what splendid options we will have for this season to do so!

At Paris Fashion Week, Balmain's press release announced the use of almost 2 million Swarovski crystals throughout the collection. From jumpsuits to slip dresses to 2-piece separates, there is something for everyone to stand out and shine in.

Similarly, Valentino featured a stunning shimmering, flowy, fringe number in a rich glossy chocolate sparkle that you can vividly imagine yourself spinning around and around in (as you delight in being out of the house!)

Earlier at London Fashion Week, Burberry featured crystals on draping dresses, tunics and high-heeled mules - but my favourite applications of this trend has to be Tisci's use of crystals appearing in the cut-outs of a zippered suit pant. Genius, innovative, so much to celebrate!

Genius, innovative, so much to celebrate!

Larger than Life Leathergoods

Valentino, Givenchy, Peter Do. Images credit: Vogue

If this season is anything to go by, if your bag isn't half your body size then is it even a bag?

... if your bag isn't half your body size then is it even a bag?

Oversize has not only taken over in apparel but also accessories with designers from New York Fashion Week to Paris all featuring oversized handbags.

Valentino's offering includes an oversized shoulder bag with not only quilting but also the signature rockstud detailing. Adding a fringe-embellished leather piece, both in a summery burnt-orange shade.

New creative director Matthew Williams debut collection at Givenchy, sees him rework the humble weekender shape to a one-fit for a stay at the Ritz Paris. Crafted in a luxe croc-print, Williams' love of hardware is clearly evident through the use of locks across a majority of the arm candy on show. The weekender even showcased a golden lock the size of the model's hand!

In New York, Peter Do also uses a croc-print application to his immense rich chocolate shoulder bag - a beautiful piece in a shade so perfect that can be played against not only the black outfits in his collection but also the lighter cream pieces.

Woven Bags

Fendi, Maison Margiela, The Row. Images credit: Vogue

Potentially also in lockdown, designers explored craftsmanship that requires time to create as woven pieces can be seen in all shapes and sizes this season. This trend is beautifully timed as there is a textural element to wovens, For those who are tactile buyers you may not be able to touch but you can certainly envisage what these pieces must feel like, invoking a strong sensory imagination.

... you can certainly envisage what these pieces must feel like, invoking a strong sensory imagination.

Fendi's accessories definitely lead the pack with a large number of woven pieces appearing in various forms from straw picnic baskets, to woven clutches and a commercial raffian bag for logo lovers.

At Milan Fashion Week, Piccioli, for Valentino, utilises macramé and crochet in everyday crossbody and hobo shapes.

Not featuring many accessories in their lineup, The Row applies the woven trend to a drawstring bucket bag. This was perfectly complimentary to the cream and neutral tones throughout the collection.

Kitten Heels

Valentino, Miu Miu, Prada. Images credit: Vogue & Prada

Once thought in the 1950's to be for young girls "not ready for high heel stiletto's", the kitten heel today regularly makes the rounds on runway circuits for people of all ages.

Prada often makes a point to pair unconventional elements that would not normally be put together and this season is no exception. Presented at Milan Fashion Week, Prada x Simons introduces us to a satin, pointy-toe kitten heel with a rubber sole. (Never thought you'd see satin and rubber-sole in the same product description did you?) Now you can be ladylike and have a comfortable arch all at the same time - hurray for fashion innovation!

Now you can be ladylike and have a comfortable arch all at the same time - hurray for fashion innovation!

Miuccia Prada echoes similar sentiments at Miu Miu unveiling trainers with a kitten heel in a metallic finish, illustrating modern elegance in a sporty way.

Also going in bright tones, both Valentino & Versace showcased this trend with the former in exploded rockstar stud & t-bar format, and the latter in ribbed leather.

Sky High Boots

Burberry's boot, in keeping with the rest of the show's theme, was more reminiscent of a fisherman's hip wader boot (complete with side handles). When you think about how hard it is to get those things on perhaps handles aren't such a bad idea.

Rick Owens in Venice included The Accessory of 2020: the facemask. Stating that wearing a mask sends the right message of consideration for others but "also works with my clothes", so win-win. Owens introduces zipper detailing to his thigh high boots which is very much in line with his brand's DNA.

2020 LVMH Prize finalist Peter Do's version comes in both the commercial black but also a lighter-toned leather and detailed square toe.


Amongst all the trends, one theme that is shared amongst most of the designers is the idea to change with "our new normal".

Whether that means embracing comfort in elevated forms of loungewear, to taking ideas that never made sense before but perhaps do now (read trainer kitten heels).

Spring Summer 21 is filled with opportunities to reinvent your way of expressing yourself through what you wear, and how you approach these ever changing times.

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