From left: Molly Goddard, Proenza Schouler, Paco Rabanne, Dior

Big, bright, bold and beautiful, these are the trends ushering in the next season. From supersized shoulders and skirts to optimistic silhouettes, shades and stripes, this is how to dress up for the new normal.

Related article: Review Of Dior Spring Summer 2021 Collection

Shoulder The World 

Fashion has always turned to a bold shoulder as visual shorthand for a display of strength. With the prevailing mood in the face of a pandemic being one of helplessness, designers once again turned to this tried-and-tested trope. At Rick Owens, models stomped out like warriors in giant shoulders and tiny shorts. Matthew Williams’s razor-sharp silhouette at Givenchy was tinged with futuristic survivalism while the pronounced sleeves at Alexander McQueen read both romantic and powerful. 

Related article: Review of Balenciaga Spring Summer 2021 Pre-Collection

Bubble Pop

The bubble skirt is one of those things that pop up every few decades—its previous glory days occurred in the ‘50s, ‘80s and the 2000s—each time signifying an exuberance in relation or defiance to its time in 2021, In 2021, the comeback of this excessive silhouette marks a glorious return to dressing up and a pointed rejection of the sweatpants life that has defined the past year. Jonathan Anderson’s versions at both Loewe and his eponymous brand are particularly delightful.

Related article: Review of Loewe Spring Summer 2021 Collection

Face Off

With face coverings the accessory du jour of this new normal, is it any surprise that designers sent veiled faces down the (virtual) runways for spring/summer 2021? Some such as Marine Serre, Kei Ninomiya and Balenciaga’s Demna Gvasalia, have always veered towards the dystopian in their vision, but a concealed visage can evoke other images too; the women at Paco Rabanne looked like medieval warriors while Kenzo paid tribute to the beekeeper.

Related article: Review of Marine Serre Spring/Summer 2021 Collection

Earn Your Stripes 

Graphic, impactful and unfussy—these are the qualities that led most designers this season to make their print of choice big, colourful stripes that lend an instant visual pop that works both IRL and on screen. They were worn head to toe in varying hues at Dior, picked out in sequins at Gucci, cut sleek and sensual at Gabriela Hearst and given a sporty, youthful zest at Miu Miu. 

Related article: Interview With Designer Gabriela Hearst

Spark Joy

After a year spent mostly indoors and in uncertainty, the world needs optimism more than ever and thankfully, fashion came through on that front. This season, designers across the board went wild with uplifting colours, flamboyant silhouettes, and materials that brought out fashion’s most playful side. From Dries Van Noten’s pleated rainbow ruffles to Marni’s pastel tulles, fashion proved that a dose of frivolity is the best antidote to doom and gloom.

Related article: Review of Kenzo Spring Summer 2021 Collection

Suit Yourself

We might have been rid of the corset for over a century, but it took WFH life for us to fully embrace comfort when it comes to the clothes we put on our bodies. On the other hand, there’s only so long one can live in loungewear. Designers have smartly adapted and reconciled the two with a new take on suiting—soft and slouchy, but still sophisticated. Many variants came in neutral tones or soft shades of pastel. Stella McCartney’s nipped jackets and roomy trousers, especially, hit the sweet spot between ease and elegance.