Despite being virtual affairs, there were a lot of jaw-dropping moments at the recent autumn/winter 2021-22 ready-to-wear shows, and we’re already missing all the action. Here are the highlights that helped make the shows so memorable.
We were treated to some stellar fashion during the recent autumn/winter 2021-22 ready-to-wear shows, proving how adversity can be turned into creative growth. Some of our favourite shows included Givenchy’s, where Matthew M Williams used a tension of extremes to explore personal meaning in difficult circumstances. From pieces with faux fur and real shearling, oversized outerwear and short, taut crops to expansive, voluminous, draperies and embroideries, strong shoulders and sleeves and sculpted, fine knitwear, it was a masterful collection.
Givenchy FW21 Men's & Women's RTW Collection
The “constant tension between two worlds,” as Williams described it, continued in the collection’s accessories, where hoods, caps, gauntlets and gloves offer some drama as well as armour. The signature motif of metal hardware as unisex decoration continued, featuring most significantly in the monogrammed chains and locks of the “4G” bag.
Additionally, the transformation of the “Marshmallow” sole was the foundation for a multiplicity of shoes in the collection, utilised for both sexes. At once monumental, playful, light and comfortable, footwear grounded as well as elevated the silhouettes.
Gabriela Hearst’s first collection for Chloé was informed and inspired by sustainability and a commitment to the greater good. The collection, showcased on the 100th anniversary of the birth of house founder Gaby Aghion, is considered four times more sustainable compared to last year.
As well as trench coats and tailored jackets that tie at the side to dresses in leather and wool gauze, there was a strong knitwear category defined by ultra-soft, recycled cashmeres and multi-colour stripes that naturally nod to Hearst’s Uruguayan background. And through fringed and striped dresses and the ‘puffcho,’ an innovative poncho integrated with a puffer, a relaxed yet urbane spirit was in the air.
In addition, emblematic Chloé codes were reimagined, including scalloped detailing, which appeared as top-stitching on georgette blouses, in petals of leather or denim patchwork, as a quilting technique and along the cuffs of knitwear. Broderie anglaise was transformed from classic to contemporary as knitwear, and leather edge.
The season’s motif, a colourful marbling effect, was conceived from an artisanal technique using natural ingredients, and a complex intarsia butterfly on sweaters and scarves was used as a way to communicate mass extinction throughout the insect world.
For the new season the “Edith” bag has been re-issued staying true to its original design, coming in recycled cashmere or with recycled jacquard, and offered as a mini version, tote or a doctor’s bag. Plus, 50 vintage “Edith” bags have been repurposed with leftover materials from the collection.
Other new styles included the “Juana” bag in scalloped quilting and patchwork leather, as well as handknitted leather totes embellished with a recycled wooden C knitted into the handle. Meanwhile, footwear focused on comfort while interpreting classic shapes with character.
As well as the “Edith” below-the-knee boot, there were leather Chelsea boots on a crepe sole with scallop edge trim that feature recycled cashmere; a new loafer family in different heights, and over-the-knee knitted boots and booties that are integrated with a sock for a complete, trompe l’oeil look. A collaboration with Moonboots incorporated Chloé material and recycled cashmere, transforming the exaggerated winter shape into something playful.
The shows also demonstrated how the world’s top designers are confidently adding other creative skills to their CVs as they nail the art of virtual shows. We saw Miu Miu’s epically captured "Miu Miu Mountain Club," which took models on an escapade in Cortina d'Ampezzo in the heart of the Dolomoties Alps for Miuccia Prada’s “Brave Heart” show. The film showed how collective strength and a community of spirit can draw together diverse groups of women.
Plus, there was the first ever drive-in runway at Paris Fashion Week courtesy of Coperni. The spectacle saw 70x participants depart from their homes in 35x electric cars, navigating the streets of the City of Light before arriving in the great hall of Bercy’s Accord Arena. In their collection, French designers Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant explore the complexity and the mystery of night-time as we know it, sometimes pitch-black, sometimes dotted with stars, and sometimes illuminated by the moon.
Of course supermodels also helped make the shows anything but boring, particularly Versace’s, which saw Gigi Hadid making a catwalk comeback, as a redhead no less, after becoming a mum for the first time.
As well as sister Bella, the extravaganza that featured the launch of a new monogram was chock-full with talents like curve model Precious Lee, Irina Shayk, Adut Akech, Anok Yai and Aylah Peterson strutting down a vertical maze.