Another fashion month has come and gone in a flash. The world is still in COVID-19 mode, but that didn’t stop brands like Givenchy, Fendi, and more from showing out and making headlines.
The operations of Fashion Month Fall 2021 remained up in the air until the 11th hour due to the varying lockdowns and socializing restrictions in place in New York, the U.K., and Europe. The British Fashion Council was the first to reveal its plans, announcing that London Fashion Week would be a digital-only event. The other cities followed suit for the most part, with brands and major fashion houses like Versace, Proenza Schouler, and Moschino opting to film runway shows, short films, or present virtual lookbooks. The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) also decided to expand the traditional New York Fashion Week lineup, renaming it the “American Collections Calendar” and including all American designers showing their Fall 2021 collection outside of the city’s official four-day schedule.
Gucci, Marc Jacobs, and more leading names chose to sit out the scheduled fashion month, leaving an undeniable void in the calendar, but the brands that did participate made sure to pull out all the stops.
Read more about the can’t-miss fashion moments from Fall 2021’s Fashion Month, below.
NYFW Fall 2021: Best Moments
Vice President Kamala Harris' stepdaughter and knitting wunderkind Ella Emhoff made her New York Fashion Week debut while the ink was still drying on her IMG modeling contract. Emhoff, along with Meadow Walker, starred in Proenza Schouler’s Fall 2021 lookbook, wearing three different looks for the occasion.
Pop culture lifestyle brand Pizzaslime also made its official and fittingly irreverent entrée into New York Fashion Week with a trippy animated video. Nick Santiago and Matthew Hwang spoke to NYLON after their presentation, admitting they were just as surprised as everyone else to be taking part in fashion week.
“The fact that we just did an official NYFW show is hilarious to us personally because it is so unexpected and something nobody probably thought was even a possibility for a brand like us (including ourselves),” the Pizzaslime founders told NYLON.
Maisie Wilen presented her first-ever fashion film, adapting her usual going-out designs to a time of uncertain lockdowns and ever-changing social guidelines. Others took inspiration from old pop culture moments, like Anna Sui’s psychedelic nod to the 1968 Jane Birkin film Wonderwall and Collina Strada, who partnered with David Burroughs Mattingly, illustrator of the 1990s children’s book series Animorphs, to create her own fashion-morphs with models Aaron Philip, Ruby Aldridge, and Jeremy O. Harris. Lastly, for nostalgia purposes, Christian Cowan reunited Paris Hilton with a Motorola razr flip phone for his hilarious Fall 2021 fashion film, starring SNL’s Bowen Yang and Chloe Fineman.
Looking toward the future, PH5 introduced its new virtual influencer and the brand’s chief decision scientist, Ama. The goal of the new CGI brand ambassador is to not only communicate the brand’s focus on sustainability, but encourage others to recognize their impact on the environment.
“It's about having something that will hold us accountable to ourselves,” creative director Zoe Champion told Fashionista. “Part of us creating her means that we can't let her down because then we're letting ourselves down. She was born from our dreams and desires to be better.”
This month also marked the debut of the Black in Fashion Council’s showroom during New York Fashion Week. The group teamed up with IMG to present 16 Black-owned brands including House of Aama, Kenneth Nicholson, Theophilio, and more.
Secondhand influenced the runway, as well, especially for Christian Siriano’s Fall 2021 collection. The designer teamed up with ThredUP and upcycled a selection of older runway pieces from the resale platform to include in his fashion show, such as a pink silk gown, a fringe coat, and a mesh frock.
LFW Fall 2021: Best Moments
London Fashion Week presented its digital-only and co-ed shows with a mix of marquee names and emerging brands to watch. Fresh off the announcement of her coveted collaboration with H&M, designer Simone Rocha made waves for her new collection of beloved romantic frocks but with a rebel twist (think ruffled miniskirts with leather moto jackets). Molly Goddard continued with her own signature princesscore dresses for Fall 2021, while tapping into more tailored garments, like traditional tartan kilts from a Scottish factory, and cozy, colorful Fair Isle knits. Meanwhile, Burberry’s Riccardo Tisci presented his first-ever menswear-only presentation, which may have taken a starry beauty tip from Euphoria.
Fashion East, the longtime designer incubator program that has brought us Rocha, Kim Jones, JW Anderson, and Mowalola, welcomed two new designers this season, including HRH, an accessories label that’s bound to be big for its puffy mini bags and scrunchies.
MFW Fall 2021: Best Moments
At Milan Fashion Week, it was a mix of runway debuts and comebacks. Hailey Bieber made her fashion month return for Moschino’s Fall 2021 show, which was inspired by the all-female 1939 film The Women. Designer Jeremy Scott included a slew of celebrity names and muses to his model cast, including Maye Musk, Dita Von Teese, Joan Smalls, Lily Aldridge, Karen Elson, Amber Valletta, Carolyn Murphy, Miranda Kerr, Precious Lee, and more. Five months after giving birth to her first child, Gigi Hadid went back to her modeling roots (and with a whole new hair color), as she opened and closed the Versace Fall 2021 runway show.
As for debuts, Rina Lipa (yes, in relation to her older sister Dua) made a surprise appearance opening the GCDS show. The elder Lipa, who’s been spotted in a few pieces from the Italian brand, including a crochet Care Bear bikini, showed her support on Instagram with a video and caption saying, "SHE DID WHAT SHE HAD TO DO!!" On the designer front, Kim Jones presented his debut women’s ready-to-wear collection for Fendi, following a supermodel-studded runway show during Couture Week in Paris.
It also seems like a new fashion week tradition is underway at Prada, as co-creative directors Raf Simons and Miuccia Prada hosted their third post-show conversation after presenting their latest fashion film. The two designers chatted with collaborators DJ Richie Hawtin, Rem Koolhaas, and Lee Daniels, as well as Derek Blasberg, Marc Jacobs, and Hunter Schafer.
But perhaps the best conversations are the intimate ones that you can eavesdrop on. Marni’s creative director Francesco Risso presented his Fall 2021 collection via Zoom, which took place all day inside his apartment in Milan. From breakfast to an evening dinner, his artist friends, including Mykki Blanco, Zsela, and more, wore Risso’s latest designs for an all-day, FOMO-inducing hangout.
PFW Fall 2021: Best Moments
Fresh off her surprise high-fashion gig with Proenza Schouler earlier this year, Meadow Walker, the 22-year-old daughter of late actor Paul Walker, nabbed an exclusive fashion month debut opening Givenchy’s Fall 2021 runway show. It was also designer Matthew Williams’ first time presenting a full ready-to-wear collection for the French fashion house. Another debut came from Chloé and newly hired creative director Gabriela Hearst, who showcased her vision for the luxury brand while staying true to her sustainable design roots.
Another sustainability-minded designer, Marine Serre presented in Paris with a series of documentaries inspired by the past year spent in quarantine, as well as a book and explainer videos on the collection's regenerated fabrics, which all live on a brand new website called “Core.” We hope to stock up on more of Serre’s signature moon-printed garments, along with buzzy Berlin label Ottolinger’s newest collection, which includes a pair of chunky sunglasses that could rival the latest ring style craze.
One sartorial moment seemed to be a running theme during Paris Fashion Week: skiwear. Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn hit the slopes while modeling Thom Browne’s Fall 2021 collection in an Alice in Wonderland-inspired fashion film, while Virginie Viard over at Chanel mixed ski clothes with ‘70s-era Parisian nightlife and an homage to the late Karl Lagerfeld muse Stella Tennant. But no one took the wintery fashion inspiration more seriously than Miu Miu, as its Fall 2021 fashion film showcased models traipsing Italy’s Dolomites Alps in crocheted balaclavas and furry snow boots. Even knitwear enthusiast (and fan of the brand) Ella Emhoff gave her stamp of approval on social media, posting to Instagram stories a photo of the collection. Perhaps we’ll see her on the Miu Miu runway next season?