As we settle into the winter season and inch closer and closer toward the one-year mark of lockdown — part 1, at least — we’re grateful for any instances of excitement and beauty these days. The Couture Spring 2021 shows in Paris could not have come at a better time, and while Couture Week certainly looks quite different than in past years, designers still found ways to whisk us away from our current everyday lives — via video, lookbooks and more — to deliver some much-needed joy, extravagance and optimism.
Below are six things from the Spring 2021 Couture shows that made us smile.
Kim Jones’ Couture Debut at Fendi
Kim Jones made a splash at his couture debut for Fendi with a cast of famous faces walking the runway. Demi Moore, Kate and Lila Moss, Christy and James Turlington, Adowa and Kesewa Aboah, Cara Delevingne and Naomi Campbell were among the A-listers to strut down the elaborate runway wearing a mix of ornate and tailored pieces. Dangling earrings designed by Fendi family member and the brand’s jewellery creative director, Delfina Delettrez, hung inches past model’s shoulders.
A Horse, Of Course
There’s a new It model in town. White horses seemed to be trending this week, with both Chanel and Dior inviting equine friends to appear in their presentations. Maybe it’s the impact of Shonda Rhime’s show Bridgerton (we can’t deny some the Regency influence in the opulent fashion) or perhaps it’s a reference to the iconic image of Bianca Jagger at Studio 54 on a majestic white horse in the ’70s (who among us isn’t dreaming of being in a packed nightclub right now, after all?). Either way, the horses stole the show(s) this season.
An Alber Elbaz Comeback
Debuting AZ Factory, Alber Elbaz returns from his fashion hiatus and we couldn’t be more thrilled about it. His new collection focuses on wearability and embraces body positivity with curve-hugging knit dresses in size XXS to XXXXL, and pieces were worn by models of all ages and sizes. The result? Couture that feels fun, inclusive and forward-thinking.
Enchanted Beauty Moments
From the elaborate head pieces at the tarot-inspired Dior show, to the transparent fish skeleton nail extensions (yes, you read that right) at Iris van Herpen by nail artist Eichi Matsunaga, to Pat McGrath’s total commitment to glamour at Valentino courtesy of full faces of gold glitter on some models’ faces (eyelids, lips and all), escapist beauty via enchanted, surreal makeup, hair and nail looks took centre stage at the Couture Spring 2021 shows.
The Merging of Sustainability and Extravagance
Iris van Herpen and Viktor and Rolf incorporated sustainable materials into their collections, embarking on a new definition of quality-wear. Van Herpen worked with Ocean Plastic fabric made from up-cycled marine debris, and Viktor and Rolf repurposed materials from past collections and vintage pieces from their private collections to create this season’s looks. “As if the separate elements that constitute [the outfits] were picked up from a pile haphazardly and put together in haste by a flock of party people who can’t wait to go clubbing, knowing quite well they cannot, as of yet,” wrote the brand on Instagram.
Playing It By Ear
Like the shoulder-dusters seen at Fendi, the Schiaparelli collection made a major statement with larger-than-life earrings. The entirely surreal and sculptural collection showed a variety of enormous earrings that included beaded tassels and thick gold ear-shaped pieces with hoops. One dramatic piece even meshed accessory and garment together, as gold loops below the ears held a cascade of pink fabric making up the model’s gown.