This is what formed style in 2021

Congratulations, my dears! We made it! Whereas 2021 might have been marred by whole existential precarity — and, to be sincere, 2022 appears to be like like it will likely be, too — within the face of all of the challenges, style has thrived. Even once we had been all confined inside 4 partitions, manufacturers massive and small seized the chance to innovate on-line — and when bodily style weeks ultimately did return, they did so with a bang. In fact, that’s not all that occurred — this was additionally a 12 months by which style proved its multimedia potential, ripping up the previous rulebook relating to how issues needs to be completed and breaching newground within the worlds of leisure, social media, and even the daring horizons of the metaverse. Right here, we unpack among the key dialog matters that formed the business this 12 months.

Vogue enters its leisure period

There’s no contesting that a few of 2021’s actual blockbuster moments have arisen from the collision of the worlds of style and leisure – ‘fashtainment’, because it’s unofficially been christened. In fact, the 2 have at all times commingled and knowledgeable one another, however over the previous twelve months, that relationship was turbocharged, taking over types that few might ever have anticipated a few years in the past. Granted, it makes good sense — after shut to 2 years spent watching our screens, style homes have needed to go to new lengths to seize our dramatically shortened consideration spans. They now want to supply viral spectacles, not simply dazzling garments. Over the previous 12 months, we’ve seen methods starting from full-length function movies by Oscar-winning administrators à la Maison Margiela to Celine’s excessive octane, higher-budget filmed runway present. The place we noticed among the most ground-breaking proposals, although, was over the course of September’s SS22 reveals. In New York, Telfar – who’s beforehand offered reveals as live shows and surreal style movies – introduced the launch of Telfar TV, a two-channel QVC-style buying and content material platform, whereas in Paris, Balmain staged a whole pageant, producing a supermodel studded spectacle for a baying crowd of superfans. Not one to be outdone, final month noticed Gucci pay tribute to the glamour, romance and extra of Hollywood by staging its centenary present, Love Parade, on the district’s star-paved Stroll of Fame – and casting Jared Leto, Macaulay Culkin and Phoebe Bridgers. If this 12 months’s fashtainment recreation has one winner specifically, although, it needs to be Balenciaga. For its Summer time 2022 presentation, the French home took over considered one of Paris’ largest theatres to stage a mind-bogglingly meta red-carpet-meets-runway present. As soon as all had been seated, the lights went down and on got here maybe essentially the most spectacular, irreverent fashion-pop tradition crossovers we’ve ever seen: Balenciaga x The Simpsons. Even months after first seeing Springfield’s middle-American motley crew plonked on the Paris catwalk – and Demna and Anna Wintour’s canary yellow makeovers as well – we nonetheless can’t wipe the gleeful grins off our faces.

Photograph by Samir Hussein/WireImage. Picture by way of Getty

The return of the pink carpet

Balenciaga’s Summer time 2022 present holds a clue to a different of this 12 months’s most important phenomena – the pink carpet’s return. It was right here that the home put out one other of its most memorable moments, dressing a faceless Kim Kardashian West and Rihanna (in customized and couture respectively) for a Met Gala in any other case marred by underwhelming appears to be like. Different homes to win massive on the tapis rouge embody Schiaparelli – Daniel Roseberry mainly deserved a Golden Lion for the surreally stylish look Bella Hadid pulled at Cannes – Gucci, who dressed Girl Gaga for the London premiere of (no prizes right here) Home of Gucci, and Versace, who despatched Lil Nas X to the Met Gala in a three-look ensemble, and have seemingly set Dua Lipa with chainmail gown to final a lifetime. It wasn’t all in regards to the massive homes, although – among the most impactful moments got here courtesy of youthful designers, Michaela Coel’s look on the Bafta TV Awards in Maximilian being considered one of them.


The return of the runway

The one comeback we had been extra excited for this 12 months was, after all, the long-awaited return of the runway. After near a 12 months and a half of subsequent to no bodily reveals stay audiences, September noticed the rapturous return of a (near) full calendar’s value of present’s in style capitals around the globe. Whereas bodily activations had been already going down in cities like Shanghai, Tokyo and Seoul, that pleasure lastly unfold to Copenhagen, New York, London, Milan, Paris and past. Granted, it wasn’t fairly enterprise as ordinary – at many reveals, mask-wearing and double-vaccination mandates had been a reminder of the true world past the style week fantasy. That hardly quelled the celebratory spirit – my god, wasn’t it good to see style’s travelling circus get again on the highway once more.


Vogue enters the metaverse

For all the enjoyment to be present in seeing style step offline, 2021 was additionally the 12 months by which it turned clear that business’s digital behavior is right here to remain. Virtually as quickly as we’d found out what an NFT even was (properly, we kind of know), it felt like style gamers had been already dropping them left, proper and centre. Hell, even JW Anderson’s viral Harry Kinds cardigan was offered as one final week! Regardless of early reservations round style’s digital future, longtime pioneers within the area like The Fabricant charged forth to create collectible digital couture. Elsewhere, the London-based Institute of Digital Vogue created a ‘wearable’ garment for the world’s first pink carpet expertise on the Vogue Awards again in November, the place the first-ever prize for metaverse design was awarded to CSapphire. Vogue’s love affair with gaming carried on sturdy, with probably the most notable moments being Louis Vuitton’s very personal recreation, launched to have fun what would have been the two hundredth birthday of its namesake founder. Hidden inside it had been 30 NFTs co-designed with Beeple – the digital artist who triggered the entire craze within the first place, when a piece of his offered at Christie’s for $69 million. Time to sub out these sun shades for VR goggles, it appears!

TikTok takes over

The metaverse wasn’t this 12 months’s solely tech-y subject of dialog. One other cyber wave that swept the business this 12 months was TikTok. Whereas the platform’s position in shaping style conversations harks again to 2020, this 12 months noticed its pulling energy exponentially enhance. Not solely has it spawned tendencies which have taken maintain on the runway – absorb Celine Males’s SS21 and Ludovic de Saint Sernin SS21 and AW21 odes to the platform’s poppy e-boys as circumstances in level – however TikTok has additionally established itself as an influential determine on a few of style’s most prestigious levels. At London Vogue Week SS22, for instance, the platform hosted the venue for the BFC’s NEWGEN recipients – which it additionally sponsored this 12 months. It was additionally the first associate of this 12 months’s Vogue Awards, inviting a few of its best-loved content material creators to host stay from the pink carpet.

Looks from Supriya Lele, Eckhaus Latta and Miu Miu SS22

Photos courtesy of Supriya Lele, Eckhaus Latta and Miu Miu


After a 12 months of langouring in loungewear, 2021 was once we all collectively determined to shake off our sweatpants and at last present some SKIN! That seething sensuality spilled over onto the runways, with the SS22 reveals mainly amounting to a refrain urging us to don our greatest barely-there appears to be like. At Eckhaus Latta, we noticed slinky riffs on the bi-coastal model’s trademark experimental knits, whereas in London, KNWLS, Supriya Lele and Nensi Dojaka flew the flag for an empowered hyper-femme sexiness, showcasing bodycon drapes, physique flaunting cut-outs and spidery constructions. In Milan, the short-shorts in Prada’s menswear present ushered in thigh man summer time, whereas the miniskirts with wispy tails and leather-based jackets styled over naked chests of the womenswear present made for a deliciously extreme spin on the season’s steamiest development. It was in Paris, although, that issues actually obtained sizzling underneath the collar, with everybody from Rick Owens to Ottolinger to Courrèges taking the chance to specific their libertine values. Oh, and Miu Miu! Who might overlook Miu Miu, with its ‘Free Britney’ parade of abs, slashed faculty uniforms and cable knit sweaters, and extra abs. You although this sizzling lady summer time was one thing? Nicely, wait until you see what’s in retailer for 2022!


Photos courtesy of Gucci and Balenciaga

Collaborations value celebrating

Because the previous saying goes, two minds are higher than one. If you would like proof of that, then look no additional than the windfall of collaborations that this 12 months introduced our approach. Or quite, ‘mutual hackings’, if ‘Gucciaga’ is what you’re speaking about. Again in April, Gucci broke the web when, as a part of its Aria assortment, it offered a choice of Balenciaga’s most instantly silhouettes, reimagined in inimitably Gucci finishes – the Metropolis Bag obtained a GG canvas makeover, Demna’s iconic sq. shoulder gown was reimagined in glittery turquoise, and a Balenciaga brand chain got here with a Gucci Monogram changing the ‘G’. The favour was later returned when, in its Spring 2021 assortment, Clones, Demna hacked the Florentine home proper again, sending Jackie luggage, silk scarves and caps in a BB Gucci-lookalike canvas down his runway. This was simply considered one of a sequence of cross-pollinations that rewrote style’s rulebook this 12 months, one other being Fendace, a shock assortment that noticed Kim Jones current his tackle Versace, with Donatella doing likewise for Fendi. Add to that Gucci’s The North Face hyperlink up, Supreme and Tiffany & Co.’s immediately sold-out drop and the Palace x Harrods collab, and that needs to be sufficient to persuade you that teamwork actually does make the dream work.

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