Mes chéries, it’s been a long four years since I shared with you my fashion inspiration of the moment! I believe the last time we chatted about my favorite collection was summer of 2017 when I was obsessed with Fendi’s SS17 show. Ahh, simpler times. This year, yours truly has been glued to quite a few shows, playing them on repeat, browsing the collections online.
This season, there were three collections that spoke to me each for different reasons. Usually, I am very drawn to one collection and one collection only; I tend to hyper-focus on something when I like it. This season, there seems to be a smorgasbord of trends going on. I felt like some designers incorporated a lot of color and busy prints or patchwork whereas others kept it neutral or classic. Personally, I don’t mind the lack of direction in trends. When the whole industry is only focusing on a few trends, they get exhausted very quickly.
Given the wide range of visions designers went with, here we are my top three SS21 collections and two honorable mentions (at the end).
3. Dolce&Gabbana Spring Summer 2021
*heavy sigh* Before we start, I need to say the following…
Just because D&G is on my list does NOT mean I condone or excuse either Dolce or Gabbana for their bigotry, ignorance, and outright bratty attitude. It pains me how much I love this D&G collection because… well. It’s f*cking D&G. Both Dolce and Gabbana do not have the best reputation in the industry. They’ve been under fire for cyber-bullying, racism, and homophobic comments. They’ve apologized on some fronts but hid behind cowardly scapegoats for other actions they didn’t want to take responsibility for. To make matters worse, they insulted one of my favorite celebrities and my entire heritage all in a matter of 6 months in 2018. They have banned WWD, The W, Vogue Italia, and Vanity Fair from their shows simply because they critiqued them. At the time of all the scandal, they were also the only Italian brand not in the Italian fashion organization Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiano (The National Chamber for Italian Fashion) and didn’t appear on the Milan Fashion Week schedule. As of today, they do.
In 2020, the brand gained the beloved Lucio Di Rosa on the team. As the head of worldwide celebrities relations, he was able to leverage his Rolodex of celebrity connections to elevate the brand after its 2018 disaster. Since stylists and celebrities have a good relationship with Lucio, it is possible that he is why the brand is now back on the red carpets and on our Instagram feeds. D&G dressed Lana Condor for the 2019 Oscars and received a shoutout in Crazy Rich Asians. As this article points out, “If there’s a lesson to be learned [here], it’s that consumer outrage and hashtags may temporarily hurt a brand’s image on social media, but those can still be counteracted by advertising spending and personal relationships with celebrities and editors.”
Enough about that. Let’s talk about the ready-to-wear collection that “pays tribute to Fatto a Mano through the colors and patchworks that recall Sicily, the island that has always been a source of inspiration.”
This collection is an ode to their Spring 1993 collection (which you can review here on Vogue’s website) and not for the faint-hearted. It is loud, chaotic, yet beautifully put together. There is both a lot and very little originality in fashion. While there are creative derivatives of past creations, it is very hard to do something totally new. It is why I always say fashion fades but style stays: what is trendy will come and go but your signature style will forever stay with you. These clothes may sit on the outside but they express who you are on the inside. As someone with many facets, I appreciate that patchwork designs can show them all.
Growing up, I loved everything patchwork from the quilted duvet cover to my jeans. As a kid, I loved how beautiful controversy looked: with patchwork, the prints juxtaposing each other often clash. Many people find it displeasing or jarring to look at. But to me, it always made sense. You can attribute it to my Aries energy or go philosophical and say it’s because patchwork promotes diverse units coming together as one 🌚. Jokes aside, the beauty in patchwork is the detail. If you zoom in on every piece of fabric that stitches together the item of clothing, you’ll notice how many elements are in one square or strip of fabric. It’s incredible how a bunch of intricate pieces can come together to create one look.
This is the one show where I am not particularly in love with any specific look but rather the collection as a whole unit. It is easy to generate a lot of noise, but it is extremely difficult to create a noise that albeit loud is enjoyable. A blazer of random jacquard fabric doesn’t seem to make sense, but because the designer placed the fabrics in a specific order, it does. A bunch of brown colored squares all over a skirt shouldn’t look fashionable, but because the designer arranged them into a specific pattern, it does. The combination of fabrics of different aesthetics should clash, but because the designer sewed them together in a certain direction, it doesn’t. However, I will say that patchwork denim and use of pins can stay in the 2000s. Not a fan.
Part of me wishes they didn’t use the same patterns on the clothes and on the runway. It makes it very difficult for the untrained eye to see the beautiful clothes in all their glory. However, having this busy patchwork pattern all over is an artistic statement in itself which I, a lover of chaotic energy, appreciate nonetheless. Mes chéries, patchwork is back… and so is D&G.
If you enjoy patterns but found this too loud, check out Etro and Alessandro Enriquez SS21 collections below!
2. Dior Cruise 2021
I am obsessed with the Cruise 2021 collection. The entire collection is Maria Grazia Chiuri’s ode to the lush landscapes of southern Italy. If you haven’t glanced through what is available for purchase, I highly recommend you click that link above (I do not receive any commission for any of these links in this post by the way).
Aside from the vast range of style of clothes, this collection sports a wide range of what I believe are going to be iconic Dior prints. From the Mille Fleurs to Coeur En Fleurs to Zodiac print, there is nothing I don’t like about them. What’s incredible about these prints is they look different on every item. The Mille Fleurs print looks a little different on smaller items like book tote or shoes than it does on a larger surface area. For example, the scarf brings out all the tiny details and different colors in this print whereas the dress makes the print look more black and white than it is.
The full show is embedded below. Since their Cruise collection paid tribute to the beauty, history, and tradition of Puglia, you may be distracted by the performers surrounding the runway. If you can, try to pay attention to both the clothes and the whole performance. If you need it broken down for you, I included two of their promotional videos underneath.
It is incredible how Maria Grazia Chiuri can make new prints from seasonal inspiration that are innovative yet keep the integrity of the brand. Often, we see designers exhaust stylistic flares because they cannot stray from the brand’s classic image. The ones who do risk making a piece that isn’t recognizable or easily tied to the brand’s image. You can argue that the Versace SS21 line falls into this category (see honorable mentions section). Yet every single pattern and fabric in this collection is new but screams Dior. I firmly believe this is what will keep all the book totes and accessories from this collection trendy for a long time. Florals never go out of style, especially when they’re designed thoughtfully.
After a long debate, I decided I will purchase the Mille Fleurs scarf for myself. I will pass on the patchwork denim though. Not sure who at Dior took notes from Dolce&Gabbana but please… no…
1. Dior Haute Couture 2021
As you can tell, Dior stole my heart this season coming in as number two and one. The SS21 couture collection is unparalleled. I simply have no words.
…Okay I lied. I have a lot of words.
If you love artistic cinematography and couture, you will thoroughly enjoy this show. If you love tarot cards and history, you will thoroughly enjoy this performance twice as much. The Dior site (linked above) takes you through the history of Dior’s infatuation with tarot and superstition as well as the behind the scenes of creating this line. You can explore the collection by hitting the grid view, but I urge you to see the clothes as a “costume” and in their cinematic glory in the video.
Tarot cards are often tied to the realm of fortune-telling and magic. However, they were not originally created for psychic use right away but rather beautiful pieces of art that can be used to explore the unknown while reflecting deep inside yourself. Only in the late 18th century were these decks mainly used for fortune-telling. Since Dior was superstitious himself, he was filled with magic and dreams. Maria Grazia Chiuri immediately felt a connection with the images of the original Visconti-Sforza tarot deck commissioned by the noble Milan family in the mid-15th century. Given we are living in uncertain times, Maria Grazia Chiuri wished to explore “the mysterious and pluralistic beauty of the tarot in a series of dresses featuring virtuoso constructions” which culminated into the spring-summer haute couture collection. This manifests proof that couture, not ready-to-wear fashion, remains the territory of creative experimentation when it comes to the art of fashion.
The show is about 12 minutes (not including credits) and tells a tale of one’s journey to find herself through all her different energies and sides. If you know anything about the significance of each major arcana card, you’ll see the significance of role each card played in the story line (The High Priestess with the key to the journey, The Fool as a guide, Death leading her to rebirth as one). Not all the major arcana are part of the storyline, so be sure to stay until the end to see them all.
You can read more about the significance of each tarot card on Harper’s BazaarHarper’s Bazaar.
Now that you’ve watched it, let’s talk. The Fool look is probably my favorite one. From the puffy elements to the designs on the fabric, this dress tugs at the inner child in me. It is youthful yet sophisticated, old-fashioned top yet modern on the bottom. There are quite a few things you can dare me to do for this dress. I also loved the dark dress for The Star and the hand painted Mille Fleurs dress on Temperance (right photo) as well as the very wearable Hanged Man outfit. It’s incredible how you can take this couture collection both to the “streets” and to the screen with just a change in accessories and makeup.
I may not have studied fashion in school, but I have a feeling this collection is one and will remain as of the most iconic couture collections in fashion history. The combination of artistry, history, and fashion married with the common human journey of self-exploration is *chef’s kiss*. Kudos to the entire creative team behind this production. You have my heart, for whatever that’s worth.
Versace Spring Summer 2021 Collection
I usually enjoy the extravagant prints of Versace from afar. Even though I love prints, the gaudiness of gold can be a bit much for me. The most I enjoy is their baroque pleated skirts (especially their 2019 Technicolor pattern as seen in Emily In Paris). This season’s line did not blow me away. Even though I’m fascinated with the ocean, I’m not in love with their interpretation of the sea or the overuse of starfish. I don’t hate it or anything, it’s just not very me. The one thing that drew me into this collection is their use of colors from pastels to vibrant hues.
See the entire collection here: https://www.vogue.com/fashion-shows/spring-2021-ready-to-wear/versace#gallery-collection
Donatella Versace brought Miami to the runway with micro pleats, ruffles, simple silhouettes, and bouncy hemlines that jellyfish would envy. This collection picks the perfect orange, yellow, and green for the spring and summer time. The three shades used are definitely loud but not in an “in your face” type of way. They make a statement without raising their voice. Furthermore, many pieces have a pastel base color supporting the colorful starfish print. Versace also incorporated black into many looks. This allows the bright hues and pastel blues, pinks, and purples to anchor themselves in a look and not drown out the model or overpower each other.
Overall, I appreciate how fun this collection is. Since orange has always been my summer color, I’m happily looking forward to seeing more of it on the store racks and in the streets this year.
Zimmermann Spring 2021 Collection
Zimmermann, although still very expensive, is a tiny bit more accessible to the commoner fashionista (like me) than any of the other brands listed in this post. If you follow Lydia Elise Millen, you definitely are familiar with their beautiful dresses. They’re known for their classy take on combining ethereal and old-fashioned elements with modern silhouettes. Seeing that the brand is more wearable on a day-to-day basis, you can expect similar things from them each season whereas other high fashion houses are pressured to generate the next big trends. However, stability in a brand’s style is also a good thing! Zimmermann plays with a few trends like patchwork and ruffles while keeping the integrity of their style.
With this collection, it boils down to two things: elegance and wearability. This is their Ready-to-Wear collection. While there are a few stand out looks to me, they don’t stand out because they’re unique or anything wild. They stand out because they are elegant and in a way, timeless. Despite the puffy sleeves, the dresses don’t look ridiculous off the runway. I personally know that I can wear the looks at 1:04, 1:34, and 2:12 out and about in the city without anyone thinking you’re crazy. At most, people will just wonder if you’re a fashion blogger. In terms of timeless outfits, the all white outfit will never go out of style. Whether you’re pairing high waisted shorts with a trench or trousers and a blazer, it is an elegant look that will never retire.
In times like these, it’s nice to know what to expect. I can always count on Zimmermann to deliver something feminine and everlasting.
That’s all for now, mes chéries! I need to take a break from the internet before all my targeted ads become Dior items I cannot afford. I hope you enjoyed this post and the shows as much as I did! Stay safe out there. Wash your hands, social distance, and wear a damn mask! As someone who has just visited the fourth ring of hell with this virus, I cannot stress how much you need to protect others and yourselves by taking these precautions!
Until next time, bisou bisou…