To think that much of the Italian streets, particularly the metropolis home of Milan Fashion Week, were bare as lockdown orders were put in place in March, feels like an uncomfortable memory. And that just one season ago, a number of runway shows were cancelled for guests as a global health crisis loomed overhead. In just six months and following some of the most turbulent times for the fashion industry in recent history, the designers, media, buyers, celebrities and influencers returned to the cobblestone pathways of the fashion capital for a new sense of normalcy.
For people unable to travel, Milan Fashion Week was like past seasons – I sat in my sweatpants late on a Friday night, tuned into the livestream of BOSS Spring/Summer 2021 cast to the television, while I sipped champagne courtesy of the brand. For other presentations, the unforgiving timezones were not kind for Australian-side residents and instead, I caught up via Instagram stories and Youtube videos the next morning.
As for street style, fashionable guests were instead required to wear a mask, while images also captured the industry subject to important temperature tests. While it was far different to just 12 months, fashion has proven it can prevail under unprecedented circumstances, and in turn, the runway is more clever and more inventive than ever. These were the highlights.
With an outdoor show at the Palazzo del Senato in Milan, BOSS revealed Spring/Summer 2021 with a limited number of guests. The runway show was augmented by a multi-platform global livestream, and a simultaneous live event in China. The collection itself was as expected from BOSS, refined, classic, and a nod to more casual nuances of modern style, while soft blues and greens were peppered throughout a predominately neutral colour palette.
Like past virtual presentations, Tod’s opted for a socially distant approach with A-list guests tuning in via video call. Including Phoebe Tonkin, Olivia Palermo, Cole Sprouse, Tamu Mcpherson, Derek Blasberg and Karen Elson among others, Tod’s Spring/Summer 2021 was revealed via short film that took on a Zoom video call vibe, an apt nod to our current times. Titled ‘The Song’, the men’s collection paired classic Italian accessories the house has become known for, with slouch, worn in silhouettes in a variant of colours.
Emporio Armani Spring/Summer 2021 took form as an interactive platform via the house website. Titled, ‘Building Dialogues’, the edgy collection was presented through a short film and combined diversity, dance, contemporary story telling and experimental camera work. The platform revealed interviews and a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film.
As we return to our roots amid the health crisis, the notion of home has reinvigorated our perception. For Fendi designer Silvia Venturini Fendi, Spring/Summer 2021 is a patchwork of memories. Time spent with family – generations reunited at home in Rome – is a catalyst for quiet introspection: at the window or in the garden, watching the world go by. The looks themselves shown on the runway layered white, black and red colour blocking with hazy abstract patterns. Suiting was elongated for slouchy tailoring and motifs of home were represented through crochet pieces, linen fabrications and Italian design techniques.
As always, Versace delivered yet another high-octane, vibrant collection for Spring/Summer 2021. Drawing from the Medusa motif found amid the most iconic Versace pieces, the luxury house made a deep dive into the sea bed – so to speak. The sub-surface show setting is an opportunity for the Versace community to indulge in a little fantasy and dive headfirst into a dreamscape and ultimate form of fashion escapism. The collection draws inspiration from the natural world and the idea of being in tune with the elements. Men’s looks combined flashy prints and silky fabrics with wide-shouldered blazers and a high fashion take on beachwear.