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This week, designers are showing haute couture Spring/Summer 2021 collections virtually for patrons to view from around the world. Below, we're sharing details from Fendi, Viktor & Rolf, Schiaparelli, and Charles de Vilmorin.
Fendi’s Creative Director Kim Jones looked to the literary Bloomsbury Group, inspired by his youth spent in England and Virginia Woolf’s Orlando. A voiceover began the virtual presentation, where lights raised to reveal a maze of glass walls in interlocking F shapes, encompassing a curated selection of rare books and ephemera, along with installations of flora reminiscent of life-sized terrariums. One by one, models glided through the reflective space, each taking their place inside the next enclosure, wearing the new designs like mannequins in a window. Imagined in a shimmering palette of frosty hues like blue, gray, pearl, and champagne, the collection embodied ideas of decadence in all fronts—sleeves were long and floaty, gowns featured sweeping trains, suiting was paired with long, trailing capes, garments were completed using lush fabrications, and each design was styled with a pair of chandelier earrings that fell below the collar bone. Looks we’re still thinking about include a sheer pearl-covered gown with a high neck and worn with tall white boots, a sparkling embroidered suit worn by Cara Delevingne that featured a cropped jacket and a sheer blouse, and a gown with an iridescent overlay and keyhole neckline seen on Bella Hadid.
A “Couture Rave” from Viktor & Rolf posed a fantastical selection of gowns and garments, imagined in honor of parties of the past and parties yet to come. The house debuted its designs virtually at a retired munitions factory outside of Amsterdam, where art collective RAAAF’s installation Still Life set the scene for the Spring/Summer 2021 collection. Simultaneously lighthearted and edgy, the designs offered a youthful twist on traditional couture, infusing subtly punky elements into a selection of traditionally effeminate silhouettes and details, like full ballgown skirts, puffed sleeves, and an abundance of flowers and bows. The house continued its upcycling journey, incorporating archival materials from past collections, including vintage lace, sweatshirts, and parts taken from their own previous collections. We’re anticipating the day we, once again, have somewhere to wear looks like a two-piece sequined bra and briefs set worn under an open ruffled skirt and capelet; a giant crinoline skirt paired with a beaded top, matching headpiece, and a single mesh glove; and a midi dress with full sleeves comprised of an amalgamation of elements like mixed fabrics, ribbons, flowers, and lace, styled with two-toned blue combat boots.
A deconstruction of couture was Schiaparelli’s focus for its Spring/Summer 2021 designs, incorporating the house’s codes into garments that made the wearer aware of the body. Couture traditions like fairytale silk gowns were set aside, replaced with an element of macabre that still managed to celebrate Elsa Schiaparelli’s intention of clothes made for showing off. Inventive materializations like overdyed silk faille, hand taffeta, silk-velvet bonded with neoprene, and silk jersey invoked a slight element of surprise, seen on equally intriguing silhouettes, like suiting with plunging necklines, skirts with enormous bows, corset-inspired blouses, and bodices padded or chiseled to suggest outlines of the bodies they were covering. The designs were set apart through statement details like padlocks hanging from pocket closures, giant ruffled headpieces, detailed beading, and enormous billows and folds of fabric. The accessories were a highlight of the season, including items like a pair of leather boots with a chunky sole and a gold imprint of the wearer’s toes; a beaded bag with a nose protruding from the front, and giant earrings with golden molar teeth.
Charles de Vilmorin took an experimental approach for its debut collection within the official haute couture schedule. Introduced through a film by Studio L’Étiquette, it was an ode to freedom in all its forms, composed of a selection of unique looks incorporating related symbolism like lovers’ faces, flowers, and butterflies. Garments were treated as a blank canvas for the designer, executed through surreal silhouettes imagined in bold primary colors with hand-painted detailing. Unforgettable looks include a long, zippered skirt reminiscent of a winter coat, worn with a barely-there top comprised of tassels and pieces of raw fabric; a gown with a sculptural silhouette featuring hand-painted imagery reminiscent of a storybook, styled with large hairbows and a fully painted face; and a mini dress in swirling green satin, which featured large sleeves, a padded bust, and a pair of painted stockings.