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Paris fashion week: 5 trends for AW21

By Barbara Russ

Mar 15, 2021


Just as the days are getting longer and brighter, designers are showing their collections for the next fall/winter 2021/22 season. Because of the ongoing pandemic, Paris Fashion Week took place virtually, with fashion houses presenting their creations mostly in videos.

In terms of setting, designers were looking for the extraordinary in the everyday. One of the few shows with an audience was that of Coperni, who let their guests watch from their own cars. It took place in the parking lot of Accor Stadium in Paris and the guests contributed the lighting themselves as they lit the runway with their headlights. Balmain literally took to the runway - or rather the hangar of Air France at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport. And Isabel Marant presented her collection in front of the futuristic architecture of an ageing parking garage in a suburb of Paris.

Necessity is the mother of invention, as evidenced not only by the choice of venues, but also in finding inspiration when it comes to trends. When trade shows and face-to-face conversations fail to materialize, designers look for inspiration in the known. Therefore, some trends were recycled and re-packaged for 2021, some simply evolved.

Photos: Balmain, Coperni, Chanel – AW21 via Catwalkpictures (From left to right)

1. Belly buttons and hips

It was only a matter of time. The early 2000s trend had been announcing itself for a while and now it's back in full force. This becomes pronounced in one of the most obvious aspects of the early noughties: The waist slides down and belly buttons make a comeback. Pants sit lower, though not quite as low as in the noughties, and the hips come back into focus.

At Balmain, the pants themselves sat at waist level, but the hips were visually emphasized by heavy gold chains.

At Coperni, the models showed navels, and the pants sat slightly above the hip bones. Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant combined glam and workwear influences with sportswear and rhinestone bling of the noughties.

Virginie Viard also went on to free the midriff at Chanel, partially veiled by mesh fabrics, and emphasized the waist with belly chain belts, some of which also slipped down to the hips. Quite a bold and trendy collection for Chanel, it rejuvenated the target audience without losing sight of the classic customer.

Photos: Balmain, Isabel Marant, Marine Serre – AW21 via Catwalkpictures (From left to right)

2. 70s

The seventies were everywhere to be seen in the form of leather coats, flared pants or Studio 54 glam. Black leather coats and blazers were seen in almost every collection. In patchwork, they were present at Marine Serre and Chloé. At Altuzarra, a leather ensemble consisting of pants and overshirt in oxblood set the tone. At Courrèges, leather made an appearance in a wide variety of ways.

At Balmain, Olivier Rousteing revived a 70s pattern from the house's archives: the PB pattern adorned the collection in several all-over looks. Versace also introduced a logo pattern called La Greca, which adorned the looks in various colors. Browns and khaki tones, sweaters, and flared collar shapes also invoked the seventies.

Photos: Chloe, Loewe, Cecilie Bahnsen – AW21 via Catwalkpictures (From left to right)

3. Quilting

Gabriela Hearst showed quilted coats in her first collection for Chloé, the materials were upcycled from old collections in collaboration with the Sheltersuit Foundation, combining the social with the beautiful. The quilting trend is already in full swing and blanket-like coats remain on trend. Jonathan Anderson at Loewe also went for quilting, taking a bit of the cocooning of the home outside on the streets. At Cecilie Bahnsen, quilted and padded dresses in pastel shades make an appearance and Miu Miu showed a complete collection in quilted pieces, from ski suits to bodysuits.

Photos: Koché, Dior, Versace – AW21 via Catwalkpictures (From left to right)

4. Headscarves

Versace didn't show its collection in the official Paris Fashion Week frame, but at the same time, on March 5th. One of the most striking accessories of this show were the headscarves worn by the models, both male and female. Models also wore silk scarves on their heads at Dior and Koché, but under baseball caps at the latter.

Black, white and shocking pink

Rokh, Valentin Yudashkin, Masha Ma, and Givenchy (almost) completely eschewed other colors, going for black, white or a mix of both. For many other designers, black served as the base note that made the other colors, like pink or neons, shine even brighter. Even though neither black, nor white, represent a trend in the actual sense, it stands for a central question: In a crisis year, as a designer, do you go for classic, timeless tones, or joyful, optimistic ones? Designers found very different answers to that question.

Shocking Pink is forever linked to Elsa Schiaparelli, who named a perfume after this hue, differing from the timeless elegance of Coco Chanel. Daniel Roseberry showed a strong collection for the house that surely its creator would have loved. He channeled Madonna's Blonde Ambition as well as Grace Jones' most iconic looks, and literally topped it all off with his surreal gold jewelry.

The color also showed up at Lanvin in the form of a men's suit and cocktail dresses. In a quasi-remake of the 2004 music video for "Rich Girl" by Gwen Stefani, a group of friends celebrated decadence in a Paris hotel. In addition to the noughties, rapper Eve herself also made a guest appearance.

At Isabel Marant, the collar, flaps, and arm inserts of a sweater stood out in pink, as did embroidery and a blouse in the color. Pink also made a guest appearance at Chanel, Balmain, and Miu Miu.

Photos: Givenchy, Schiaparelli, Masha Ma – AW21 via Catwalkpictures (From left to right)

Titelbild: Loewe HW21 via Catwalkpictures