London Fashion Week went digital this season as the majority of designers presented their Spring/Summer 2021 collections virtually or with very limited attendance. For many, digital meant democratized as the accessible nature of virtual showrooms, panel discussions, and podcasts brought the public into a world formerly reserved for industry insiders. Coming on the heels of the launch of Amazon’s new Luxury Stores platform, designers explored different ways to reach their consumers more directly. Roland Mouret skipped fashion week altogether in favor of selling his newest collection on Amazon. The designers who did choose to show were given the freedom to choose which season to show and how they want to present it. Bianca Saunders opted to produce a zine that showcased styles from previous collections and save the presentation of her SS21 collection for a later date. With the help of The British Fashion Council’s new digital platform, social media, and Smartzer, an interactive video tagging platform, designers were able to maximize commerce despite the circumstances.
The collections this season made few direct references to COVID-19 as designers instead focused on the art of dressing. Several designers, including Simone Rocha and Richard Malone, turned the runway into a time machine with opulent designs that referenced eras long past. David Koma and Victoria Beckham shifted the timeline closer to this decade with collections full of retro classics. Flare pants were a standout at Beckham’s show, where models sported 70s-inspired suiting and loose-fitting maxi dresses. Other designers used their quarantine activities as inspiration. Burberry’s Riccardo Tisci has spent the past few months reconnecting with nature and his newest collection is a reflection of just that. Packed with outdoor essentials and references to the sea, Burberry imagines a future of endless exploration. Erdem and Preen by Thornton Bregazzi took the outdoor inspiration a little less literally with collections of puff sleeve maxi dresses, ruffled blouses, and graphic floral prints.
In the midst of an industry-wide reset, London Fashion Week had no choice but to adapt. A digital-first approach this season proved to be an adequate solution for brands looking to reach their end consumer more directly, but resulted in a week that lacked its usual spectacle. As we look into the future, brands will have to determine for themselves what they hope to get out of the industry’s most anticipated event.
Keep reading for a closer look at the apparel trends spotted on the Spring/Summer 2021 runway.
Hot Pink, +10% to LY
From the runways of Roksanda, Huishan Zhang, 16Arlington, and Deborah Lyons, hot pink was everywhere in London. Featured on a range of styles, from sweaters to gowns, this pop of hot pink is the positivity designers and consumers alike are hoping for this spring.
The New Naked
Cutouts, +14% to LY
This season, designers balanced tasteful and risque attire with minimalist cutouts. At Victoria Beckham and David Koma, models sported dresses with cutouts in varying locations. Burberry featured leather trousers with circular cutouts along the front, while Supriya Lele showed trousers with faux-thong cutouts.
Flare Pants, +10% to LY
Designers are taking notes from the 1970s with flare plants emerging as a key item this season. Charlotte Knowles brought the style to life with a psychedelic pattern, while Emilia Wickstead and Victoria Beckham opted for a sophisticated variation more appropriate for the minimalists among us.
Thong Sandals, +5% to LY
The classic beach flip flop has gotten a facelift on the runway. David Koma took a simplistic approach to the trend, fitting for his athleisure-filled collection. Maximilian Davis for Fashion East and Deborah Lyons elevated the look with heels and square toe, while 16Arlington added a wrap detail to update the springtime favorite.
This season marked a return to the classics for designers like David Koma, Victoria Beckham, and Huishan Zhang. Koma brought preppy athleisure looks to the tennis court-turned-runway while Beckham presented her signature style with retro suiting, loose-fitting maxi dresses, and flared trousers. Huishan Zhang’s tweed dresses and knee-high boots confirmed that certain looks never go out of style.
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