The World’s Top Designers Have Unveiled Their Latest Collections
In times of trouble, the world needs art – and fashion remains one of the most expressive art forms that we have to enjoy.
While the ready-to-wear collections unveiled by fashion houses each year are an indication of the styles and trends that we’ll see around us over the following twelve months, the world’s top designers do not truly come into their own until the long-awaited release of their couture collections for each season – and for many designers, the moment to unveil their pieces for Spring 2021 has finally arrived.
Here are the highlights of Spring 2021’s couture reveals so far.
While plenty of Chanel’s latest collection features the fashion house’s much-loved trademarks – sharp tailoring, mixing of the masculine and feminine and, of course, tweed – creative director Virginie Viard wanted to the brand’s latest collection to be mostly reminiscent of springtime romance, specifically one which culminates in a beautiful, bohemian wedding.
The vision that Virginie set out to create is at its clearest in some of the magnificent dresses created for the line, which seem to blur the boundary between ‘soft’ and ‘dramatic’, somehow presenting as both simultaneously.
One of the wonderful things about this collection is just how successfully the vision of the bohemian family wedding comes across. You can almost instantly discern which of the line-up is there to represent each member of the party, from the beautiful bride and right down to – as Viard herself put it – ‘the 15-year-old girl dressing up for the first time’.
Varied, lovingly-crafted and unmistakably Chanel, this collection is a triumph.
Valentino’s latest couture collection is an eclectic one, placing a futuristic twist on classic silhouettes and mixing bold, vibrant colours and metallic accents with subtle earth tones. Perhaps this coming together of the old and new within the way that the pieces look is why lead designer Pierpaolo Piccioli has named this latest collection ‘Temporal’.
The aim of the collection in taking inspiration from such a vast range of periods – both eras of the past and eras yet to come – is to create something which is, ultimately, timeless. Pierpaolo believes that achieving a timeless look throughout each collection is, at the heart, what couture is all about.
“To me, the essence of couture is the ritual, the process, the care, the humanity,” he explained, “That’s what makes couture timeless, special.”
It’s clear from even just a brief look at the collection that Piccioli has truly brought this idea to life with each piece within the ‘Temporal’ collection.
Dior’s incredible Spring 2021 collection takes its inspiration from the spiritual world, incorporating elements of tarot, mysticality and the occult in a collection, which allowed creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri to put a magnificent twist on the silhouettes and styles of the 17th and 18th century.
The decision to use elements of spirituality and tarot came, she says, from the difficult reality that we have spent the last year adjusting to, and how spirituality has given many a place to turn for comfort.
“When you are in a difficult moment, something that is magical can help us to think better,” she told Vogue.
The iconography of tarot is heavily present within the collection’s colours, styles and prints, with one magnificent piece – a floor-length overcoat – using elements of the zodiac, too. Many of the collection’s gowns seem to have been created with a particular icon of the major arcana of tarot in mind – The High Priestess.
Perhaps the most classical of the collections released in 2021 so far, Dior’s Spring couture collection is one of beauty and mysticality – it’s difficult to imagine that any single one of the pieces in the collection would not look right at home in one of the world’s grandest art galleries.
A long-time celebrated menswear designer, there were huge expectations on the shoulders of Kim Jones to deliver an outstanding first couture collection for Fendi this week. It’s safe to say that Jones delivered on these expectations in spectacular fashion.
In a bold move, Jones decided to make real-life wearability the central aim of his Fendi debut. Explaining his decision to Anders Christian Madsen, he said, “I have friends that just buy couture clothes – they don’t buy big ball gowns. They buy real clothes, things that fit their bodies.”
Jones said that he observed ‘the reality of what women around me are wearing’ as a part of the design process, and this observation is clear throughout. Despite the time and care that has gone into each piece in the collection, it appears effortlessly beautiful. There are vintage elements, though they couldn’t be further from looking outdated, as well as unusual tailoring and silhouettes, which sit perfectly on the right side of appearing too abstract to be worn by real women.
Jones’ debut appears to have been received brilliantly, with the aim of his collection beautifully realised. This is a spectacular first collection – and one which sets a precedent for Kim Jones to enjoy an incredibly successful tenure at Fendi.
Schiaparelli’s Spring 2021 collection, put together by Daniel Roseberry, was already much-anticipated, but the excitement surrounding this collection soared even further after Lady Gaga chose to wear a jacket, skirt and brooch by Roseberry to appear at Joe Biden’s inauguration.
“For a house like Schiaparelli, dressing Gaga for the inauguration speaks to capturing the moment,” Roseberry explained to Vogue, “That’s what I’m trying to do… to nail the zeitgeist.”
It makes perfect sense, then, that the Spring 2021 collection by Schiaparelli should be observed less as a couture clothing line and more as an art collection. Perhaps the boldest line unveiled in 2021 so far, Roseberry’s newest collection features everything from corsets with defined, six-pack abs (as worn previously by Kim Kardashian) to a dress featuring an upper-half held onto to the model solely by her earrings. Many other aspects of the line appear to be designed mainly to provoke a visceral reaction from observers.
In this and previous collections, Roseberry looks to redefine the meaning of ‘couture’ in itself.
“I started thinking,” he said, “Is there something about couture that’s sort of misogynistic, that demands or expects that a woman wants to look hyper-feminine and dainty and Bridgerton adjacent?”
The central aim of Schiaparelli’s Spring 2021 line is to call our perception of femininity into question, and it certainly seems to have succeeded so far.