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Fierce leopard coats, luxe laces, and sultry blush tones are just some of the trends that we can expect to see during the third official fashion week, which will be set in an exclusively virtual world later this year.

The fall 2021 collections will be the product of designers working in exceedingly unusual circumstances and catering to an audience whose lives are forever changed. For fall 2021, the groups fell in line with the times by embracing that new outdoor après-ski life, prepping for a new-wave Roaring ’20s, finding stability in LBDs, and keeping comfort key in elevated knitwear. See what’s in store for next season in 8 trend stories.

Rich shimmer

FW 2021 fashion week collections incorporate a surprising amount of shimmer. Designers Loewe, Dolce & Gabbana, Carolina Herrera, Isabel Marant, Prada and Valentino bring the kind of 1920s-meets-1980s opulence into their collections by layering sequins on top of each other. We’re not talking about cheeky club dresses; these are long trousers, high necks, jackets, and voluminous dresses. Not to catch the fleeting attention, but to make you feel the light shine inside. The way you dress changes the way you feel about yourself. It’s a time of change for everybody, and to achieve change, you need to feel empowered to do so.

Unbalanced colour play

Collections bring dramatic saturated shades, which quietly but solidly evolve with the season. The colour play is extraordinary and unexpectable, remarkable and slightly unbalanced, a little like life itself. Mustard meets lemon at Jil Sander, bubblegum pink and marigold at Miu Miu, rust and lavender at Patou: complementary and secondary hues of the colour wheel all mixed up and disarranged.  All the better to make you look twice.

Tailored ensembles

Designers aren’t going halfway with their tailoring this year: smart and classic pieces, button-downs are layered under vests, over turtlenecks, under jackets, under long coats, over trousers and sometimes belted and finished with a tie. These ensembles are paired not with pumps or sneakers but loafers and boyish shoes. Tory Burch, The Row, Prada, and Peter Do lead the charge for ladies who like to layer their loose tailoring and then layer it a little bit more.

Cosy

If any lesson was learned from the year 2020, it’s that when given the option, people will choose comfort—every time. The past year fashion was all about being comfortable, and we are continuing down this path for fall 2021.

Designers let you never have to button a button again and outfit them in luxe knitwear in the form of skirts, maxi dresses, and two-piece sets. Cosy need not mean lacking polish in the deft hands of Gabriela Hearst, Altuzarra, and Proenza Schouler, all of which are offering cashmere and wool in body-aware silhouettes that are endlessly flattering and suitable for an evening in or out. 

Après-ski

Keep après-ski in check with Fair Isle knits that beg for a weekend in Aspen or Gstaad. These cosy knits create a visual effect, both cropped or oversized, in classic shades or bright pinks and reds. However you wear it, according to Miu Miu, Chanel, Balenciaga, and Junya Watanabe, next season is all about that cosy ski-in/ski-out sweater life.

Roaring ’20s

Those who share the idea of a new roaring ’20s on the horizon will enjoy the perfect outfits for the occasion. Flapper dresses abound in classically executed silks and lace from Khaite and Kwaidan Editions. More modern iterations can be found at Kim Jones’s new Fendi and Gabriela Hearst’s new Chloé. Layered under long coats at Miu Miu and Paco Rabanne, with a grunge-tinged ’90s take at Coach, these night-inspired dresses are made for the nightlife.

Puff

This season the puffer coat is only gaining momentum. In bold, brash colours like deep purple at Marni or red leopard at Dolce & Gabbana, these are not the classic black puffers you’ve been sporting the last year. They’re high fashion down pieces designed to make an entrance. You can find neutral and extra-long versions at Rick Owens or on a Victoriana gown at Thom Browne. What is clear is you’ll have your pick and stay extra warm all season long.

Crop it

The new silhouette of the fall that attracts attention is the cropped jackets and tops. These elegant, midriff-baring looks are far from the mini tees of your youth. A sophisticated and chic fuchsia pantsuit at Chanel, menswear looks with a twist from Peter Do or a completely feminine two-piece set at Emilia Wickstead. These short options are for posh girls only.

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