As the world tries to return to normal, the ever-resilient fashion industry is having an awakening. And we are here for it.
When typically discussing the trends of the fall/winter collections, words like “layering,” “cashmere” and “plaid” are on heavy rotation. This season looks a little different. Yes, chic blacks, tailored coats and thicker fabrics are still heavy hitters. But designers are also thinking outside the proverbial box of tweed and creating pieces in bright colors and airy fabrics that signify the hopeful times ahead.
For instance, cheerier patterns normally cataloged for spring are the new fall standouts. The runway at Acne Studios resembles an edgy garden party that mixes dreamy dresses and soft knitwear with ragged hems and oversized cardigans. And Adam Lippes, who recently opened his first brick-and-mortar store in New York, worked with his favorite florist to create silky fabrics covered in delicate poppies, which symbolize hope.
Suits are another standout. Donning showstopping prints from head to pointed toe is an invitation to be bold. A roomy suit of large plaid in kissable shades of pink makes a statement on the Zimmermann runway. And Tory Burch presents a suit in Japanese florals with a trio of eye-catching buttons. When describing her collection, Burch says, “These are timeless pieces that are grounded in the reality of how women want to dress.”
When it comes to menswear, skip the print and go for monochromatic. For understated, turn to Brunello Cucinelli, a name synonymous with world-class knitwear. The brand’s modern take on the “Canadian tuxedo” looks sleek under a streamlined puffer. Brioni, whose sumptuous fabrics are always a standout, takes a more colorful route with a matted dusty pink suit.
Even though suits are back and better than ever, oversized sportswear is a gender-crossing trend that’s here to stay. At Lacoste, designer Louise Trotter chooses to blur the lines between home, work and play with different proportions, unexpected textiles and one very large cartoon crocodile. Monse’s Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia serve up a collection that includes frayed sweaters and cool leather leggings with adjustable laces.
And since most of us have spent over a year and a half in sneakers, designers are taking pity on our arches without compromising on style. Sisters-in-law Veronica Swanson Beard and Veronica Miele Beard of Veronica Beard are giving us a comfy studded clog that’s flattering in shape. Meanwhile, Tod’s Creative Director Walter Chiapponi expertly complements pencil and A-line waists with a thick-heeled loafer in shades of canary yellow, cherry red and baby blue.
One of the surprising layers of the season is one that we thought disappeared after Chandler Bing left our small screens. That’s right: Vests are back and better than ever. Longchamp’s lambskin vests with diamond quilting are reminiscent of the work by French interior and furniture designer Pierre Paulin. Israeli-born, New York–based Nili Lotan brings a bit of ’70s to a handful of shearling and leather vests, which she layers over romantic blouses and denim in all fits and rises.
Now, emerging trends are to be expected. But seasonal staples such as white knitwear should never be overlooked. For fall, Gabriela Hearst has luxe pieces in various shades of cream, including a knitted set dotted with crocheted floral appliqués. “As I was studying St. Hildegard of Bingen for the collection, I noticed my 12-year-old daughter’s flowers in her art book,” Hearst recalls. “I was so impressed by the beauty of them and the fact that she was finding inspiration in nature. So her flowers became our prints.”
Green is one color that always goes well with white. If you prefer a shade of lime or a hint of olive, then Max Mara and Dorothee Schumacher have you covered. Celebrating its 70th anniversary, Max Mara has unveiled a long line of wearable looks, like this sweater/skirt combination enveloped with cozy camel. And German designer Dorothee Schumacher brings varying punches of green with a slouchy coat, tapered sweats, knee-high boots and a quilted bag.
Inspired by the idea of reinvention, Schumacher adds in her show notes (aptly titled “New Day, New Way”): “The world has shifted. This story is all about change. It’s about a new interpretation. About courage and future thinking. It’s about the beauty of staying curious about what’s to come. In your mind and in your heart. Because every new day offers the opportunity for a new way.” With designers like these spouting such poetic, optimistic messages about what’s to come, there is hope on the horizon, which will carry these artists — and our wardrobes — all the way to the spring collections.