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What Fashion Week Looked Like In 2001

As This Year’s Spring/Summer Season Gets Underway, Here’s How It Looked Twenty Years Ago

Most of us think back to the fashion trends of the early 2000s and are reminded of low-rise jeans, velour tracksuits (a famous favourite of the definitive 00s it-girl, Paris Hilton) and crop-tops of every colour and fabric imaginable, with brands such as Von Dutch, Juicy, Paul Frank and Jane Norman ruling the high-street – but did the Fashion Week runways of 2001 tell a different story?

As the world’s most iconic brands unveil their couture collections for the Spring/Summer 2021 season, DDW revisits the styles that were at the forefront of designer fashion just a year into the 21st century. 

Here are just some of the incredible looks showcased by top designers at Fashion Week events around the world back in 2001!

Milan Fashion Week 2001

Gucci

They may have recently released a ready-to-wear collection full of vibrant colours, bold prints and pieces inspired by the shapes and styles of the 1960s & 70s, but Gucci’s 2001 collection was all about modern silhouettes and monochromatics, with rare accents of bright blue and purple featured in some pieces. The most noticeable thing about this particular collection is just how ahead of the curve it was – the majority of pieces from Gucci’s runway in 2001 would not look out of place at Fashion Week twenty years later. Cutting edge then, timeless now.

Prada

If there’s one trademark of Prada that they have always carried off incredibly well, it’s smart tailoring. Their most recent collection at the time of writing – Fall 2020 – featured an incredibly bold range of pieces, all taking classic tailoring and giving it a refreshingly abstract update. Twenty years ago, however, their style was visibly more understated, with their Spring/Summer line of 2001 focused mainly on smart, classic looks that would be perfectly at home in the wardrobe of any fashion-forward city professional.

Paris Fashion Week 2001

Stella McCartney

This was Stella McCartney’s first official collection and it’s clear that it made quite the impact at the time. Loud, unapologetic and a complete contrast from the runway looks of many fellow designers, this collection is a million miles from the chic and elegant pieces released by Stella McCartney today. However, even with such experimental styles, Stella McCartney left a considerable impression on the audiences of 2001 – if you’re going to announce your arrival into the designer fashion industry, this is the way to do it. 

Valentino

Valentino founder Valentino Garavani was famously friends with iconic actress Audrey Hepburn, who was regularly photographed wearing some of his most spectacular designs – perhaps that’s why Valentino’s characteristically elegant 2001 collection seemed somewhat inspired by Hepburn’s signature style. Featuring a range of chic pieces, many incorporating classic tailoring styles and cascading chiffon scarves, shawls and sleeves, this collection was truly the height of sophistication – something that Valentino, as a brand, has always done beautifully.

Christian Dior

Put together under the direction of legendary designer John Galliano during his tenure at Dior, the brand’s 2001 collection perfectly captures the essence of 21st-century teenage rebellion, putting an even bolder spin on the already-audacious youth fashion of the era. Featuring a kaleidoscope of patterns and colours, clashing styles, heavy layers and striking accessories, this collection was Dior’s attempt to pay tribute to the ever-growing power, confidence and influence of youth culture – and it certainly succeeded. 

Chanel

Chanel’s 2001 collection was characteristically timeless, yet appeared quite heavily inspired by time itself. Featuring styles popularised throughout various decades in fashion history – most noticeably the 1930s, 1960s and 1980s – recreated and given an unmistakable touch of Chanel Je nais se quois, the pieces from Chanel’s outing at Paris Fashion Week are just as attractive in 2021 as they were when they were first showcased at the turn of the century. Magnificently put together by Karl Lagerfeld, this collection is certainly one of Chanel’s most memorable. 

Jeremy Scott

Just four years after its founding, Jeremy Scott put on a show that perfectly characterised his brand – vibrant, eccentric and unashamedly kitsch. The finale of his 2001 showcase at Paris Fashion Week was inspired by the swimwear stage of old-school beauty pageants, with models dressed in bright, mermaid-inspired bodysuits and styled with the bold hair and makeup looks of 1980s pop starlets. With this particular runway line-up, Jeremy Scott captured the very essence of what fashion was in 2001 – lively, head-turning and, above all else, fun.

New York Fashion Week 2001

Betsey Johnson

Betsey Johnson’s brilliantly outrageous collection for New York Fashion Week in 2001 certainly got everybody talking. The vibrant, barely-there pieces of the collection, including rhinestone bikinis, sheer babydoll dresses and bright pink halter-neck bodysuits, left little to the imagination of the audience and were certainly a world away from the far more muted, sophisticated pieces showcased by many other designers during the event. Johnson also made waves by swapping out the classic supermodels of the era in favour of having her collection modelled by real Playboy bunnies in a move which, arguably, only added to the sense of fun and eccentricity that she was looking to create. 

Calvin Klein

Satin and pastels were two fashion staples of this era in style and Calvin Klein used these trends to brilliant effect in his Spring/Summer 2001 collection. Featuring a range of almost-futuristic pieces, many of which were indicative of the ‘athleisure’ trends that have been popularised in recent years, this collection was incredibly modern and effortlessly cool – two descriptives which, to this day, summarise the Calvin Klein brand rather accurately.

SEE ALSO: Milan Fashion Week | A Triumph