Fashion Weeks

#CATWALK - April in Paris

Paris Fashion Week S/S 2021 Collections
Reading time 16 minutes


Alongside the ecru and black tweed suits, the jeans are in fluorescent colours, fluid dresses and t-shirts printed with the letters of CHANEL like neon-lights, pale pink capri pants, long dresses printed with little flowers in black and white, or in an ultra-fine tweed, outfits embroidered with sequins, bermuda short suits and layers of asymmetry... Joyful, colourful, and very vibrant.


One of Maria Grazia Chiuri’s essentials, the men’s shirt, is reinvented. By turns, it becomes a tunic or a dress, echoing Dior’s emblematic shirtdress, paired with wide, striped trousers or shorts. It is also worn under ample coats in heathered fabrics. Patchworks of scarves with paisley and floral motifs, embellished with pieces of lace for a romantic collage effect, accessorize a series of dresses and trousers, opening up infinite horizons for the imagination. Each body in a continuous alchemy of techniques and materials: silk chiffon for long dresses in shades of light, matte blue, deep ocher and pale orange; chiffon embellished with beaded embroidery. The waist is accentuated with smocking, or dropped, to oscillate freely with the idea of beauty and complexity simultaneously marked by tradition and by the current context that permeates this collection.


To showcase the new looks Vauthier teamed up with legendary fashion photographers Inez & Vinoodh. The collection is filled with elegant gowns in pleated lamé, vivid animal prints, satin and Swarovski adornments. Highlights include a metallic pink playsuit, sand-coloured balloon pants and a matching ’70s inspired safari wrap top. A dangerously low cut black sequined spangled dress acts as the definition of a party dress and a full-on silver lamé ruffled mini dress is confidently worn with disheveled, French-girl hair and barely there makeup. Of course, a disco collection couldn’t be complete without a pair of hot pants set off by thigh high diamond trimmed boots which Vauthier gladly provides. Alexandre Vauthier is the king of cool-girl glamour.


Maybe you have no regard for seasons when it comes to dressy looks, cocktail and evening dresses. And you simply want to feel smart, elegant and attractive. This collection plays with geometric lines, triangles, circles, straight lines, pleats, tailored in soft materials that follow the body in its movement. The palette comes in black and white, then blossoms in green, yellow, coral, purple and red. This is a Couture inspired collection with pieces at a softer price, chill and easy to wear with a youthful attitude mixing structure and fluidity.


This collection, with its abundance of knitwear, offers many comfortable looks for day which can effortlessly transition to evening. Overall, the spirit is crossgenerational and cross cultural, as the men’s and women’s mix of strong silhouettes, vivid fluorescent tones, and distinct treatments of their sustainable denim recall both a ‘70s Saint Germain and a ‘90s Brooklyn. We have to salute the incredible work of the artisans, who have embroidered almost two million dazzling Swarovski crystals (many of them upcycled) into the stunning embellishments.


Known for bringing the traditions and exquisite fabrics of haute couture to her modern Danish sensibility, Cecilie Bahnsen sends her women on a journey inspired by nature, unity and hope. A new fabric discovery this season is the sequin embroidery made in Switzerland. The unique machine embroidery is airy, light and the beautiful 3D texture moves and flickers in the wind. In the studio, Bahnsen and her team have created floral embroidered organza overlays. The simple silhouettes contrast the beautiful hand-stitched detailing and the shimmering flower beads seem to dance in the light as the fabric moves. The light organza overlays are worn over the dresses, tailoring and sculptural outerwear making them a key to this season’s styling of the collection.


Hedi Slimane took Celine’s Spring/Summer 2021 catwalk to the Stade Louis II of Monaco where he elevated luxe sportswear to the next level reimagining the style with a sense of streamlined youthfulness. The collection titled “Portrait of a Generation” was marked by a of contrast of relaxed activewear staples and clean polished looks. Celine-branded baseball caps topped off tailored tweed blazers while Wellington boots were paired with denim skirts and chic shoulder-dangling Ava bags, the looks created a seamless blend of aesthetics for casual, but put together looks. Slimane’s youth-centric approach combined Gen Z-esq athleisure comfort with a nostalgic high-fashion style for looks synonymous with the milieu of the current generation, yet Slimane proves – comfort doesn’t need to be sacrificed for glamour.


Bold, optimistic, colourful, light, pure, fun, sculpted, easy, kinetic, frank, joyous, vivid, warm and stark, jubilant, powerful. Pure lines that span many attitudes of dress from the sublimation of couture to utility in workwear. From constructed balloon sleeves to a simple patch pocket chino. Many looks for women and men have shorts as a foundation. The lines between traditions of garment structure for men and women are blurred. High waisted skirts and pants. Vivid one-piece bathing suits for women for the first-ever time. Light caftans for the beach. From the power of the monochromatic to the whispering nuanced hues of pastels on floating organza, colours are: orange, pink, metallic gold and silver with psychedelic sunbursts.


From Hubert de Givenchy’s swathes of looped drapery, lighter than air transparencies, linear necklines and ‘Jour’ open backs, to the McQueen horn, reborn; both the classical and radical contrasts of Givenchy are embraced and shown to have always been part of the house’s history in the collection. Ultimately, it is a feeling of elegance, playfulness and pragmatism that is key to Matthew M Williams’ vision for the house.


Classical light celadon blue and blush pinks dresses and pantsuits are made edgy with abstract embroidered translucent tulle with beaded accents. A clean white jumpsuit is embellished with ruffled feathers adding volume, texture and excitement. Full sequin salmon jumpsuit and black pantsuit catch the light and glisten with smarts and determination. A vibrant grass green kaftan moves carefree with a seductive thigh-high slit. Large floral prints bloom onto chiffon, organza and tulle. A modest mini-jacquard knee-length skirt and high collared blouse move in contrast to cheerful ruffled bursts of lemon yellow and bougainville fuchsia. There is a piece for every personality, a line for every figure and a colour for every disposition.


The AMI SS21 collection reflects the quintessential laidback atmosphere of a summer in Paris. It celebrates the brand’s effortless elegance and lifts the spirits by acknowledging a desire for freshness and positivity. A thoughtful and balanced wardrobe, in which rational and utilitarian elements are paired with spontaneity and exuberant touches. Both womenswear and menswear feature a palette of serene and subtle colors like natural ecru, warm beige, pistachio and lilac interacting with rich and fresher tones like emerald green and purple.


Essential silhouettes in the best fabrics—the perfect wide-legged pants in tropical-weight cool wool; a trench coat in a tissue-thin black suede; a slinky, easy evening dress in a high twist wool crepe; playful intarsia twinsets in drapey rayon. These shapes are also a canvas for the new, extensive vocabulary of accessories, including an oversized series of Zodiac necklaces, surrealist-inflected finger and toe jewelry, and exaggerated earrings and face pieces that recall some of Elsa Schiaparelli’s favorite icons: the padlock, the lobster, and the elephant head.


Kenzo has always been about fun, celebration and optimism. These cravings were pure fuel in the creative process. “We wanted to put that raw, daring and curious energy into the clothes and into everything related to the collection.” Almost like an optimistic version of punk. It is time to look at things differently and from new perspectives. Time to pull everything apart and put it back together again in a surprising, free and innovative yet meaningful way.


Christelle Kocher staged her show in the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, the park she has spent so much time during lockdown. During these walks, she imagined her Spring/Summer 2021 collection; one full of crafts and embroideries. Just like many fellow designers, Kocher broadened her interest in crafts during quarantine. This interest resulted in hand-painted signature slip dresses. Furthermore she combined sporty influences with lace; printed as well as the real deal.


For Spring/Summer 2021, Bruno Sialelli rediscovers these emblematic styles of the house – they become personae, heroes and heroines in a new representation of Lanvin for tomorrow. Silhouettes and fabrics are sensual, draped against the body for him and her. Women’s dresses drape gently across the body, sometimes weighted with chain-mail, another archival nod to Jeanne Lanvin’s limitless innovation. Designs again reference Wen goldfish, embroidered or woven in fils-coupe silk-velvet. Gold is a key color: an entire spectrum, from palest blonde, to rose, to ocher and gilded metallics of lamé and leather.


The story of inflated volumes, protruding flaps, outsized hips and dancing knots. Creative director Jonathan Anderson embraces escapism in his own way, putting the pleasure of playing with fashion to the fore. Dramatic silhouettes result from a progressive exploration of the craft of pattern making. Spiraling flaps. Balloon sleeves, balloon skirts. Crinolines. Neckerchief hems. Hoops. Tulle as an encasing outer layer. Giant knots catching and releasing the movement. Curves, folds, flaps. Ballerina hints. Infanta festoons. Roundness that gets bigger and bigger. A sense of elongation. The unremitting sharpness of immaculate tailoring counterbalances such feats of showmanship. The body looks almost lost in the item of clothing. Theatricality in shape suggests theatricality in poses. The wearer is a dramatic persona.


Unapologetically free-spirited, transcendently bold, and wildly enchanting – The scene is set in the late sixties in Saint-Tropez, the era’s playground and the golden-age of Godard’s New Wave Cinema - where women play the lead and leave a long-lasting impression. A storyline as told by on-screen femme fatales, a series of unexpected adventures on the French Riviera – a place where one goes to get away from it all, but also to get noticed. An ode to life – to the beautiful moments we create together.


Sail away, with passion, desire and joyfulness. It is through a short film with a road-movie texture that Leonard Paris has chosen to present the Spring Summer 2021 collection, imagined by Creative Director, Christine Phung. Staged by the ocean, incarnated by two models, Margot and Maren, and professional surfer, Nina Reynal that the latter comes to life. Free, athletic and blissful, the heroines in the film luminously embody today’s modern women, traveling in a Volkswagen retro combi, with pit stops as they please to better experiment the ocean and its promises at daylight, and cherish the warm summer evenings at dusk. Poetic, enthusiastic and colorful, the SS21 Leonard Paris silhouette is unquestionably optimistic.


The evening clothing against sportswear, pragmatism and preciousness, reality versus digital, an event staged to an empty stadium, yet simultaneously observed by many. Clothes draw on the spectacular language of athletic clothing and embellished event clothing: block color, jersey, streamlined shapes, harness against decoration, embellishment, femininity, softness. The twin demands of action and lead to similar aesthetic conclusions. Shapes are simple: blousons, straight pants, wrap skirts moving apart at the thigh. Fabrics are light, hemlines abbreviated, to free the figure inside.


The collection turns its attention to the upper and outer layers of clothing and dressing rituals. It employs more decorative motifs while reiterating the “Less is beautiful” as the central signature of the brand. Nehera woman wants to experiment with the favorite pieces of wardrobe that were not touched for months, to enjoy the tactile pleasure of high-quality fabrics, to step barefooted on the grass, to breathe in, to breathe out. That is why the collection welcomes a broad expression of attitudes, from simple and civil to experimental, expressive styling to creative layering.


The design studio created the perfect wardrobe for our return to a low-key social life with unserious and easy pieces. For its last collections, knitwear has become the label’s primary focus and for this new Summer 2021, knitwear is mixed with printed silk patterns – floral and polka dots motifs. These patterns are also printed on Made in Italy stretch denim jeans, skirts and jackets for a casual but bright look. The general mood is cool, easy to pack, comfortable. Clothes to wear in the street not during special occasions.


This collection was built for a summer we all hope will be worth printing an album to remember, but can’t yet be sure of. Past trip to Havana through a filter flavored more of Tuscany, the Smiths’ regular summer spot for decades. Reworked ditsy floral prints from the designer’s archive were cut into separates worn around roomy dresses and other pieces in shades of terra-cotta, sunflower, and ochre. Short-skirt double-breasted jackets and wide pants made for a flashback silhouette deserving of a revisit.


In line with Nina Ricci’s mindset that beauty lies in simplicity, this collection definitely comes back to the essence of the House: Parisian elegance with an added touch of playful irreverence. In these troubled times and more than ever, the Creative Directors felt the urge to come back to the roots of the House: an irrepressible desire for optimism. This Spring-Summer 2021 collection is a message of hope. The silhouette is all about lightness. The color palette is energetic. The vibrant, powdery and neutral tones are enriched by a clear variety of textures: matte versus metallic, punctuated by the romantic freshness of a dove print.


What is truly essential about Ottolinger is to design the clothes that empower all of us, make us feel strong, more selfconfident and ultimately to celebrate the unique beauty of everyone of us. “We want our clothes to underline everyone’s unique strengths, skills and abilities, as well as to discover some powers we didn’t even know we had.”


Each look suggests an association of ideas that are as likely to be counterintuitive as complementary. Amidst the season’s sparkling head-to-toe geometric and flowery assemblages, leopard motifs and lingerie or baby-doll dresses with lace incrustations tempt a more louche, beguiling vision. Bustiers and washed denim recur as wardrobe foundation pieces, often layered with elongated tailored jackets or a relaxed, metal mesh robe. Striped ribbed knits stamped with silver create kinetic curves while metal mesh dresses in gold and silver are newly knotted at the bustline, suggesting a gesture of insouciance. Where molded tops and jewelry plates around the clavicle and navel accentuate the figure outward, exaggerated jewel prints drape and contour the body with trompe l’oeil glitz. Updated for the times, a classic trench is sheathed in clear plastic as a partial barrier.


As always, Rick Owens studies the current state of the world – one that isn’t that great to take a closer look at nowadays – and responds to it. In his show notes, Owens spoke about “grim gaiety”. He referred to the hats French women wore during World War II; they became bigger and more impressive as the war got worse. These hats were a reaction to the German occupiers; it formed a way to tease them. Nowadays, Owens argues, clothes can’t change the world. But, though, they can change the way people think. They are the signifiers of one’s mood or opinion and can say more than a thousand words.


“I wanted the fantasy of touching. I think it’s important to keep that somehow.” Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski expressed her “skin hunger” in a collection that played with the naked and the seductive from different angles—from the sensual to the strict. Coats had built-in scarves that could be rolled up at the front or wrapped tactilely around the neck. Knitted bodies with swimwear-like open backs were informed by the female curves of Hellenic ceramics, a theme echoed in a show constructed like an abstract take on ancient Greek ruins. On each of the digitalized columns, the work of different artists commissioned by Vanhee-Cybulski interpreted her collection in various art forms, which was also compiled in a “scrapbook” sent to editors around the world who couldn’t travel for the show.


The collection explores creative and integrative ways to make garments compact: tying, rolling, folding, stacking, and layering. It goes beyond utility and convenience as it attempts to convey the wonder and joy people feel when they unpack the garments and see their transformation. There is a new take on the relationship between body and clothing made by molding fabrics into a soft shell that envelops the body. By folding and fastening the zippers, the coat and poncho each turn into bags like the ones used to store and carry suits. Or an original knit series that is stretchable like a sponge. And the series that was inspired by the idea of wearing a piece of painting as it integrated the artwork as a whole into clothing.


L’Amour collection was initially inspired by an idea of the people gathering together and celebrating love, but after the lockdown, designer Simon Porte Jacquemus also found the inspiration in his inner world and home. The collection celebrates the strength of love and togetherness, even in times when people have to stay apart. “Not long after my team was separated from each other, we were all in our homes feeling the desire to work, and a new vision of the collection emerged. We became a human chain, every step of the creative process executed with love. In fact, every decision I make concerning JACQUEMUS is motivated first by love and common sense.”

* This overview of Paris Fashion Week S/S 2021 Collections by Tanja Beljanski and Marko Galovic first appeared in the March 2021 issue of L'Officiel Arabia.


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