Here’s what shaped fashion in 2021


Congratulations, my darlings! We created it! While 2021 may have been marred by utter existential precariousness – and, to be honest, 2022 looks like it will be too – in the face of all challenges, fashion has flourished. Even when we were all confined to four walls, brands big and small seized the opportunity to innovate online – and when physical fashion weeks finally returned, they did so with a bang. Of course, that’s not all that happened. of the metaverse. Here, we break down some of the key conversation topics that have shaped the industry this year.

Fashion enters its era of entertainment

There is no doubt that some of the real blockbuster moments of 2021 arose out of the collision of the worlds of fashion and entertainment – “fashtainment,” as it has been unofficially dubbed. Of course, the two have always mingled and educated each other, but over the past twelve months this relationship has been supercharged, taking forms few people could have anticipated a few years ago. Granted, that makes sense – after nearly two years of staring at our screens, fashion houses have had to go further to capture our dramatically reduced attention span. They now need to produce viral glasses, not just dazzling clothes. Over the past year or so, we’ve seen strategies ranging from feature films by Oscar-winning directors to the Maison Margiela at Celine’s higher-octane, higher-budget runway show. Where we saw some of the most groundbreaking proposals was during September’s SS22 broadcasts. In New York City, Telfar – which previously presented shows in the form of concerts and surreal fashion films – announced the launch of Telfar TV, a two-channel QVC-style shopping and content platform, while at Paris, Balmain threw an entire festival, producing a studded mannequin show for a barking crowd of superfans. Not to be outdone, last month Gucci paid homage to Hollywood glamor, romance and excess by hosting its centennial show, Love Parade, on the neighborhood’s all-star Walk of Fame – and appealing to Jared Leto, Macaulay Culkin and Phoebe Bridgers. If this year’s fashion game has a winner in particular, it has to be Balenciaga. For its presentation in the summer of 2022, the French house has taken over one of the largest theaters in Paris to stage a breathtaking meta-show between the red carpet and the runway. Once everyone was seated, the lights went out and perhaps turned on the most awesome and irreverent fashion-pop culture crossovers we’ve ever seen: Balenciaga x The Simpsons. Even months after seeing the motley Central American team from Springfield for the first time parading the Paris podium – and Demna and Anna Wintour’s canary yellow makeovers to boot – we still can’t erase the cheerful smiles from our faces.

Photo by Samir Hussein / WireImage. Image via Getty

The return of the red carpet

Balenciaga’s summer 2022 show contains a clue to another of this year’s most significant phenomena: the return of the red carpet. It’s here that the house released another of its most memorable moments, dressing faceless Kim Kardashian West and Rihanna (bespoke and couture, respectively) for an otherwise marred Met Gala with disappointing looks. Other houses to earn big on the Red carpet include Schiaparelli – Daniel Roseberry essentially deserved a Golden Lion for the chic surreal look Bella Hadid pulled off at Cannes – Gucci, who dressed Lady Gaga for the London premiere of (no awards here) Gucci House, and Versace, who sent Lil Nas X to the Met Gala in a three-look ensemble, and apparently put Dua Lipa in a chainmail dress to last a lifetime. However, it wasn’t just about the big houses – some of the highlight came from the courtesy of young designers, with Michaela Coel’s appearance at the Bafta TV Awards in Maximilian being one of them.


The return of the track

The only comeback we were more excited about this year was, of course, the long-awaited return from the track. After nearly a year and a half of almost non-existent live audiences, September saw the thrilling return of an (almost) full schedule of shows in fashion capitals around the world. While physical activations were already taking place in cities like Shanghai, Tokyo and Seoul, this joy has finally spread to Copenhagen, New York, London, Milan, Paris and beyond. Admittedly, it wasn’t quite as usual – at many shows, the mask-wearing and double-vaccination warrants were a real-world reminder beyond the fashion week fantasy. It hardly calmed the party spirit – my god, wasn’t it good to see the traveling fashion circus hit the road again.


Fashion enters the metaverse

For all the joy one finds in seeing fashion go offline, 2021 was also the year it became clear that the industry’s digital habit is here to stay. Almost as soon as we figured out what an NFT was (well, we sort of know it), it felt like the fashion actors were already dropping them left, right, and center. Hell, even JW Anderson’s viral Harry Styles cardigan was sold as a single last week! Despite initial reservations about the digital future of fashion, longtime pioneers in the field, such as The Manufacturer, have set out to create a virtual couture collection. Elsewhere, the London-based Institute of Digital Fashion created a ‘wearable’ piece of clothing for the world’s first red carpet experience at the Fashion Awards in November, where the first-ever Metaverse design award went to CSapphire. Fashion’s love affair with the game continued, with one of the most significant moments being the Louis Vuitton game, launched to celebrate what would have been the 200th anniversary of its namesake founder. Hidden inside were 30 NFTs co-designed with Beeple – the digital artist who sparked all the buzz in the first place, when one of his works was sold at Christie’s for $ 69 million. It’s time to replace those sunglasses with VR glasses, it seems!

TikTok takes over

The metaverse wasn’t the only topic of technical conversation this year. TikTok is another cyber wave that has swept the industry this year. As the platform’s role in shaping fashion conversations dates back to 2020, this year has seen its pulling power grow exponentially. Not only did this spawn trends that took hold on the track – like the SS21 odes of Celine Men and Ludovic of Saint Sernin SS21 and AW21 to platform poppy e-boys as examples – but TikTok s he is also established as an influential figure on some of the most prestigious stages in fashion. During London Fashion Week SS22, for example, the platform hosted the location of BFC’s NEWGEN recipients – which it also sponsored this year. It was also the main partner of this year’s Fashion Awards, inviting some of its most beloved content creators to host live from the red carpet.

Looks of Supriya Lele, Eckhaus Latta and Miu Miu SS22

Images courtesy of Supriya Lele, Eckhaus Latta and Miu Miu


After a year of hanging out in loungewear, 2021 was when we all collectively decided to throw off our sweatpants and finally show off a little SKIN! This bubbling sensuality has spilled over onto the catwalks, with the SS22 shows essentially amounting to a chorus urging us to don our best looks barely there. At Eckhaus Latta, we’ve seen body-hugging riffs on the bi-coastal brand’s experimental knits, while in London, KNWLS, Supriya Lele and Nensi Dojaka waved the flag for some powerful hyper-feminine sensuality, featuring tight-fitting curtains, cutouts spider-like constructions. In Milan, the short shorts from Prada’s menswear show ushered in the summer for guys on the thighs, while miniskirts with wispy tails and leather jackets styled over bare chests at the womenswear show took off. put a deliciously harsh take on the hottest trend of the season. But it was in Paris that things really got worse, everyone, from Rick Owens to Ottolinger via Courrèges, took the opportunity to express their libertine values. Oh, and Miu Miu! Who could forget Miu Miu, with her ‘Free Britney’ abs parade, cropped school uniforms and cable knit sweaters, and even more abs. Did you think that hot girls’ summer was something? Well, wait and see what awaits you for 2022!


Images courtesy of Gucci and Balenciaga

Collaborations to celebrate

As the old saying goes, two minds are better than one. If you want proof of that, look no further than the bonanza of collaborations this year has brought us. Or rather, ‘mutual hacks’, if ‘Gucciaga’ is what you’re talking about. In April, Gucci broke the internet when, as part of its Aria collection, it presented a selection of Balenciaga’s most immediate silhouettes, reimagined in inimitable Gucci finishes – the City Bag got a makeover in GG canvas, the iconic dress. Demna’s square-shoulder strap has been redesigned in sequined turquoise and a Balenciaga logo chain accompanied by a Gucci monogram replacing the ‘G’. The favor was returned to her later when, in her spring 2021 Clones collection, Demna hacked into the Florentine house right away, sending Jackie bags, silk scarves and caps in a Gucci BB canvas to her catwalk. It was just one of a cross-pollination series that rewrote the rules of fashion this year, another being Fendace, a surprise collection that saw Kim Jones pitch her take on Versace, with Donatella doing the same for Fendi. . Add to that Gucci’s The North Face tie, the instant downfall of Supreme and Tiffany & Co., and the Palace x Harrods collaboration, and that should be enough to convince you that teamwork really makes the dream work.

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