• Home
  • News
  • Fashion
  • Fashion Month: What to expect from the SS21 season

Fashion Month: What to expect from the SS21 season

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


Scroll down to read more


With less than a week to go for the spring/summer 2021 season to kick off in New York, FashionUnited is running through all the different formats, the schedules, and who is missing, from what many people are describing as the “lost season” due to Covid-19.

Over the past few months, fashion editors and buyers have become accustomed to digital offerings, whether cinematic fashion films, live-streamed catwalks and presentations with no audience, or creative exhibitions and digital lookbooks.

Well it seems all of the major fashion weeks, in New York, London, Milan and Paris will be embracing the hybrid format from Copenhagen Fashion Week in August, mixing physical showcases, with social-distancing measures, alongside digital presentations, films and talks.

NYFW: September 13 to 17

New York Fashion Week has been given the green light, however, it will look very different with a number of high-profile designers skipping this season, including Marc Jacobs, Ralph Lauren, Pyer Moss, Michael Kors, Oscar de la Renta, Proenza Schouler, Telfar, Brandon Maxwell, The Row, Vaquera, Christopher John Rogers, Batsheva, and Prabal Gurung.

The CFDA explained in a statement that the Covid-19 pandemic has had “an unprecedented impact on American fashion, slowing down the supply chain and temporarily shutting down many business operations and brick-and-mortar retail”.

Adding that for spring/summer 2021 it was allowing brands the “flexibility to show their collections in a variety of formats and at a time that works for them,” with the launch of its Runway360 digital platform, which is a tool that will be used not just for fashion week but to complimenting physical events and shows in the future.

Saying all that, there is a schedule, kicking off with Jason Wu, who is hosting a live fashion show with models on the rooftop of Spring Studios and Harlem’s Fashion Row’s virtual fashion experience, and concludes with Tom Ford. There are also a number of returning designers including Alabama Chanin, Alice + Olivia, Anna Sui, Badgley Mischka, Bibhu Mohapatra, Carolina Herrera, Chromat, Claudia Li, Dennis Basso, Eckhaus Latta, Jonathan Simkhai, Marchesa and Marchesa Notte, Marina Moscone, Naeem Khan, Nicole Miller, Rebecca Minkoff, Veronica Beard, and Zero + Maria Cornejo.

In addition, CFDA announced that ten new names have been added to the schedule: Aknvas, Anne Klein, Colleen Allen, Dur Doux, Duncan, Frederick Anderson, Frère, Imitation of Christ, Oak and Acorn, Venicew, Wiederhoeft, and Wolk Morais.

New York Men’s Day (NYMD) will also return to the official NYFW schedule and showcase 10 menswear designers including CFDA members David Hart and Timo Weiland.

There will be some restrictions in place to ensure that NYFW is in “strict compliance” with New York State health and safety guidelines, meaning that all outdoor events will be capped at 50 guests, while indoor events will be at 50 percent capacity with no spectators.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has upended the global fashion industry and hit New York particularly hard,” said Steven Kolb, chief executive officer of the CFDA in a statement. “Fashion week is a critical time when brands are able to connect with press, retailers and consumers, and I’m proud of how quickly the CFDA pivoted to support the needs of the industry by creating Runway360.”

Kolb added: “In the face of unprecedented challenges and uncertainty within our industry, the American fashion community has once again come together to support each other and prove its resilience.”

LFW: September 17 to 22

The British Fashion Council has announced that 80 designers including 40 womenswear, 15 menswear, 20 menswear and womenswear and 5 accessories brands, will be featured as part of the official London Fashion Week schedule. The majority, of which, are doing digital activations only, with designers including Vivienne Westwood, Matty Bovan and Edward Crutchley opting for digital film presentations, while Raeburn and Nabil El-Nayal are taking part in the British Fashion Council’s conversation series.

However, 30 designers and brands, including Victoria Beckham, Eudon Choi, Molly Goddard, Bora Aksu, Mark Fast, Osman, and Pronounce, are doing a catwalk, salon show or presentation. While others such as Christopher Kane, Erdem, Roksanda, Simone Rocha, Temperley London, Halpern, Emilia Wickstead, and Edeline Lee are to hold appointments, and Bethany Williams is to hold an exhibition.

London Fashion Week will kick off with Burberry’s livestreamed show, which the brand has confirmed will be an immersive experience that pays homage to the “purity and simplicity” of the British outdoors with the aim of exploring a new space for its community to “reconnect with nature and each other”.

When announced in June, Burberry said in a statement: “Now more than ever, we have to reimagine, to change. We’ve always been drawn to Nature and today we look to the purity and simplicity of the outdoors – where our founder Thomas Burberry laid our foundations – redefining our fashion landscape through new forms of expression.”

Closing London Fashion Week will be physical appointments at Erdem and a fashion film by Richard Quinn on the digital schedule.

One thing the industry is wondering when it comes to London’s offering, where are all the emerging talent? London has become known over the years as a hotbed for introducing the industry to new fashion talents, through FashionScout, FashionEast and NewGen, with no official British Fashion Council hub and show space, where does new talent go to shine?

There is hope for the graduating ‘Class of 2020’ as Graduate Fashion Foundation has confirmed that it will hold a six-day activation to showcase the best work from each of the foundation’s member universities. The exhibition will run throughout London Fashion Week from September 17 - 22 and will include a four-day public view, followed by an industry private view on the final two days giving the new graduates the opportunity to begin conversations and establish connections with potential recruiters, buyers, stylists and media.

Image: courtesy of Molly Goddard by Ben Broomfield

MFW: September 22 to 28

Milan Fashion Week is being billed as a “phygital fashion week”, with its provisional schedule featuring a blend of 28 physical shows with 24 digital ones.

Brands including Fendi, Versace, Dolce ad Gabbana, Salvatore Ferragamo, Max Mara and Marni, have stated that they will present physically, while brands such as No. 21, Sunnei, Drome and MSGM, Missoni, and DSquared2 and are opting for digital showcases.

Italian fashion house Giorgio Armani has confirmed that for its upcoming fashion shows for Emporio Armani and Giorgio Armani it will do so, without guests. The Giorgio Armani spring/summer 2021 show will be a catwalk event that will be broadcast on prime time TV in Italy, while Emporio Armani will present a special video featuring models as well as young actors, singers, dancers and figures from industries connected to the brand’s community wearing the collection.

One of the highlights of Milan Fashion Week is expected to be the eagerly anticipated debut show of Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons as co-creative directors at Prada on September 24. While on September 27, new talent will be in the spotlight with the Milano Moda Graduate show staging collections from students from Italy’s top fashion schools.

Notable absences from the schedule include Gucci, which announced in May that it would be planning just two yearly “off calendar” presentations, alongside Jil Sander, Bottega Veneta and Moschino.

Image: courtesy of Armani

PFW: September 28 to October 6

In Paris, the French Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode, has confirmed that 88 brands will showcase on the official schedule, with 25 set to stage presentations, including British brand Wales Bonner, with the remainder to be split between physical and digital events, however, which brands are to hold physical showcases has not been indicated on the provisional schedule.

The schedule kicks off with Japanese brand Mame Kurogouchi and closes with Louis Vuitton, and includes Chanel, Dior, Balmain, Chloe, Balenciaga, Givenchy, Stella McCartney, Lanvin, Loewe, Thom Browne, Giambattista Valli, Elie Saab, Acne Studios, Kenzo, Mugler and Nina Ricci.

There are a number of notable absences from the schedule, with Valentino choosing Milan Fashion Week, while Kering brands Alexander McQueen and Saint Laurent opting out for spring/summer 2021, as has Céline, Off-White, Lemaire, Rochas, and Comme des Garçons, who has announced it will unveil its collections during mini-shows or presentations in Tokyo between October 19 and 23.

The schedule does also have 10 new labels joining the line-up for the first time, including British designer and 2016 LVMH Prize winner Wales Bonner, French labels Ami, Ester Manas, Mossi, and Vejas, US brands Enfants Riches Deprimés, Gabriela Hearst, and S.R Studio LA.CA, as well as Danish brand Cecilie Bahnsen and Georgian label Situationist.

One brand that has confirmed a physical catwalk show is Ami founded by Alexandre Mattiussi, which stated that it will host a co-ed show featuring looks from its men’s and women’s collections.

Commenting on his decision to take to the catwalk, Mattiussi, said in a statement: “The runway is a dynamic and immersive experience, that we share with our partners, customers and audience through anticipation, raw emotions and interaction. The creative energy it generates is essential for my team and myself.

“Presenting during the Paris Women’s Fashion Week comes from my desire to privilege a physical show rather than a digital one this season, as nothing carries the emotion like a show in public. I truly feel that, in this period more than ever, we are in need of human connection.”

Image: Ami autumn/winter 2020 photographed by Paolo Roversi

Main image: Carmen González for FashionUnited

Fashion Week
London Fashion Week
Milan Fashion Week
New York Fashion Week
Paris Fashion Week