The 7 Biggest Trends from Fall/Winter 2021 Runways

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Comfort is key — well, sort of. As designers, and society as a whole, look to a post-pandemic world, there seems to be a subtle dichotomy at play: how do we adapt our year-long obsession with loungewear to a functional and fashionable wardrobe? This season, designers had varying answers to that looming question. Some emphasized neutrality and comfort — Proenza Schouler, Gabriela Hearst, Fendi — while others looked to a dressed-up future — Versace, Louis Vuitton, Coperni. Think the roaring ’20s, but modern.

Also at play this season was a strong urge for travel. Whether it was Miu Miu’s ski lodge or Balmain’s luxe Parisian airport, our wardrobes will certainly be prepared for jet-set once lockdowns are lifted. And with brands continuing to experiment with innovative platforms, due to COVID-19 restrictions, there was no shortage of sartorial brilliance.

Below, CR rounds up the most noteworthy Fall/Winter 2021 trends.

Puffer Silhouettes

Yes, puffers are still in. Playing with themes of comfort and tangibility, brands combine aesthetically interesting and practical silhouettes that feel like a much-needed hug. Miu Miu‘s après-ski sets effortlessly merge functionality and quirkiness, while Thom Browne‘s sculptural gowns continue the designer’s exploration of outerwear.

Neutral Knits

Neutrals are always a must for Fall — and this season was no different. Gabriela Hearst —who debuted as creative director at Chloé this season — featured a variety of muted knitwear for her eponymous label. Taking a more sexed-up approach were brands such as Fendi and Givenchy who played with body-conscious and flexible silhouettes.

Coordinated Colors

Playing off the pandemic boom of loungewear, matching sets and coordinating looks made a striking appearance this season. Though some brands took a muted, calmer approach to the trend, the majority of houses played with vibrant hues à la ’80s power-dressing.

Layered Tulle

Tulle regulars like Molly Goddard and Simone Rocha continued their bond with textile, offering a much-appreciated escape from the banalities of the everyday wardrobe. Also experimenting with tulle silhouettes were Dior and Louis Vuitton, the latter of which whimsically combined aspects of street and evening wear for exaggerated silhouettes.

Mismatched Prints

This season’s patterns take your Grandma’s printed couch to a whole new level. At Prada, under the co-creative direction of Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons, the brand unveiled a series of quirky prints — most notably knit bodysuits that will be perfect for Fall layering. Also experimenting with pattern were Loewe and Versace, the latter of which unveiled a new monogram.

Cutout Silhouettes

With designers searching for comfortable ways to shape the body, cutout silhouettes have become a major hit the past few seasons. Continuing the trend this season were London label Rokh who explored deconstructed tailoring and Vivienne Westwood who toyed with themes of sensuality. Look for cutouts this Fall as a stylistic notion that shapes the body while keeping comfort in mind.

Utilitarian Bags

As travel becomes feasible in the coming months, accessible and purposeful luggage are set to be a wardrobe necessity. While playing with consumer archetypes like the chic Parisian at Courrèges and the downtown New Yorker at Coach, brands offered a sense of purpose mixed with a travel-focused future that seems not far off.

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