Fashion week presentations around the world are continuing to change, from online debuts to in-person shows. For Paris Fashion Week, we’re seeing Spring/Summer 2021 collections presented in both ways—on screen and on the stage once again. Here, we’re sharing details from Kenzo, Rick Owens, Isabel Marant, and Patou.
Emerging from a time of hurt and confusion, Kenzo’s Spring/Summer 2021 collections for men and women answered questions like, “How do we move on?” and, “Where do we go from here?” Debuting in a lush Parisian garden setting with distanced seating covered by giant umbrellas, the new looks explored the dichotomies which have come to light through the onset of the pandemic—like high and low, delicate and bold, joy and melancholy, stillness and movement. The season’s prints took house archival florals, redeveloping patterns like Kenzo’s poppies and hortensias with a digital crying effect, imagined in muted colors like mint, lavender, rose red, and blue.
Beekeeper uniforms informed silhouettes with thoughts of the fragile, distance relationship needed for protection—seen in a series of head coverings attached to wide-brimmed hats or extending down from hoods. Generous cuts of fabric appeared throughout, both in loose fits and and extra material that floated away from the body. Looks were accompanied by an inventive take on a flip-flop sandal, featuring thick straps and a cushy dual-layered sole that revealed rubber inserts that reminded us of the cells of bubble wrap.
Smoke and a soundtrack of Donna Summers’s I Feel Love remixed by Jeff Judd set the scene for Rick Owens’s Spring/Summer 2021 womenswear livestream show, which took place in the white stone plaza in front of Venice’s iconic Lido Casino. Titled “Phlegethon” in reference to the river running to the center of hell in Dante’s Divine Comedy, the season followed on the previous collection’s ideas of defiance, brought to life in futuristic looks that embraced cinched waists and exaggerated details. The recent necessity of masks was no problem for Owens, who included his own variations of face coverings to match each look.
Leather, sheer, and structural details were mainstay elements of the collection, seen applied to pieces like micro-shorts, sleeveless blazers with sculptural shoulders, and thigh-high boots with zippers and thick platforms. Tones like red, pink, and neon green added a daring note to a predominately black and white palette. Standout looks included a cotton poplin tunic dress paired with red leather gloves, white sunglasses, and pink boots; a pair of black sequined micro-shorts with exposed pocket flaps worn with a blazer and tall black boots; and an enlarged fishnet dress in black and neon green with a boxy-shouldered overlay.
Returning to the runway for an in-person presentation, Isabel Marant’s Spring/Summer 2021 men’s and womenswear collections embodied the burning desire to dance, rebel, and escape. 1980s influences shone through in silhouettes that reminded us of an homage to the decade’s icons like Kim Wilde and Debbie Harry, in details voluminous ruffles, puffed sleeves, asymmetry, lamé, and all-over denim. Energetic hues of blue, fuchsia, and red accompanied shimmering metallics and lively prints like an abstracted floral and a graffiti heart pattern signed by the Los Angeles-based artist Amber Goldhammer.
A youthful, lighthearted spirit emerged from women’s styles like mini-skirts and high cropped shorts, overall jumper dresses, paper bag trousers with suspenders, and bolero jackets with structured shoulders. Menswear imbued the same attitude in pieces like loose-fitting shirts worn over low-slung tank tops, fitted leather pants with zipper details, and high-top sneakers with Velcro straps. Highlight looks included the pink denim dress layered over a shoulder-padded tee styled with wine colored cowboy boots, a sweater in pewter with silver lamé trousers and sandals, and a black leather studded look with high-low shoulders and balloon sleeves.
French fashion house Patou debuted its “Act 2” Spring/Summer 2021 collection with a behind-the-scenes style video narrated by Viviane Blassel. Models floated around a sunny room in designs that updated idyllic styles of dress with ballooned proportions and playful details. While influences from fashion of the past were intermingled and reimagined to offer truly original silhouettes, decades like the 1930s, 1960s, and styles from as early as the 1600s came to mind when we saw the collection’s long hems, structured ruffles, and statement sleeves.
Imagined in a sweet but sophisticated palette of black, white, beige, gold, and pink, the designs entranced us with elements like hoops of feathers lining hems, giant satin bows adorning ruffled necks, capelets draped over shoulders, and fluffy tiers of puffed fabric. Typical trousers and blouse pairings took on new volumes, including a series of pants in silk brocade with feathers falling just below the knees, worn with pieces like trapeze tops and loose painters’ blouses. Dress styles included garments like a long white cotton gown with a pilgrim collar and intricate neck pendant, a satiny dress with giant sleeves and a tie at the neck, and a calf-length A-line look in pink floral with embroidered details and sculptural, belled cuffs. Each design was accompanied with accessories like bellboy caps with ruffled chin straps, woven basket handbags, gold statement earrings, and lace stockings worn with Mary Jane heels.