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While fashion week as we know it may forever be changed, brands are still finding ways to introduce their latest seasonal collections—whether in person or online. Here, we’re sharing what’s new from Rodarte, Claudia Li, Maxhosa, and Gareth Pugh.
Rodarte’s Spring/Summer 2021 collection left us longing for a magical time and place. Captured on mountainous terrain, the collection featured a suite of garments in spirited floral tones like blue, pink, and yellow, which acknowledged both the past and present in its silhouettes, prints, and accessories. We saw bell-bottomed pants; high necklines with frills, ties, and bows; dropped waistlines that ended in pleated skirts; and sets fashioned after sophisticated pajamas. The season’s prints included several flowery iterations, like one with dainty pinstripes, tiny polka dots, and variations that reminded us of vintage handkerchiefs. A few favorite looks were the blue gingham skirt suit that evoked the 1950s; a printed jumpsuit with lacy sleeves and legs ending in jogger-like cuffs; and a V-neck dress with puffed sleeves patterned with roses. Each look was styled with heeled sandals and sheer socks, lace gloves, and statement ribbon-and-floral headpieces.
Claudia Li’s Spring/Summer 2021 “Till We Meet Again…” collection was inspired by the designer’s own wedding last year in Hawaii, paired with the desire of fantasy in today’s isolated reality. The colors of the islands and their flora have been reimagined into bright floral jacquards, iridescent lamés, and all-over sequined fabrications. The designs included classic dress silhouettes and elevated streetwear pieces, updated with a contemporary, whimsical flair—like a take on a utility suit in shimmery silver; an A-line dress in neon floral with a matching raincoat; and a sequined blouse paired with a skirt, which split up the side to reveal layers of purple tulle. The collection was modeled by the sculpture artist Kennedy Yanko, who sported a minty green buzz cut—well in tune with the season’s color palette.
The South African designer Laduma Ngxokolo’s label Maxhosa Africa debuted its Spring/Summer 2021 collection with a presentation during New York Fashion Week. Inspired by hopefulness, the collection title “INGUMANGALISO IMISEBENZI KA THIXO”—named for a song written by the designer’s late grandfather and renowned musician Mike Ngxokolo—translates to “God’s Work is Miraculous.” Hues and prints based on the country’s traditional Xhosa symbols, patterns, and beadwork are a mainstay of the brand, reimagined for the season in a series of ready-to-wear styles for men and women. Knitwear, everyday styles, and slightly more formal suits and dresses included highlights like a fitted wrap coat in a red geometric diamond print with a branded hem detail; a semi-sheer striped knitted dress with a polo collar, styled with blue tights and strappy heels; and a double-breasted suit in a diamond-and-striped pattern, worn with a bucket hat and tasseled, beaded choker necklace.
For London Fashion Week, Gareth Pugh introduced a multi-disciplinary arts project entitled “The Reconstruction”—a visual concept album that falls at a crossroads between fashion, film, and music. Surrounding the designer’s first collection since reclaiming his trademark in March 2020, the project is comprised of thirteen looks that are individually inspired by a different piece of music, including songs like Spell by Patti Smith and One Night Only by Sylvester. The fashion initiative highlights a cast of performers, activists, and creatives like Sakeema Crook, IAMDDB, and Matthew Ball, who were captured by Nick Knight wearing the striking avant-garde looks in a series of virtual settings created by Jon Emmony. The project is accompanied by a feature-length YouTube documentary, and will donate all collection proceeds to the U.K.-based organization Refuge to aid their work against domestic violence.