The Fall/Winter 21-22 collections at London, Milan and Paris fashion weeks played into denim’s versatility with trends that ran the gamut from slouchy, relaxed and cuffed, to destroyed, bleached and undone. Designers shaped denim jeans, dresses and jackets into their vision for the season.
Denim, as always, was the foundation for several notable statement pieces. Schiaparelli applied not just any ordinary gold buttons to denim jackets and jeans, but ones that resembled ears, noses and padlocks. Chanel adorned its double-C logos all over its jeans. And denim was just a canvas for Germanier’s multi-color sparkles.
Meanwhile, Vivienne Westwood proved that you can make a sartorial statement with sustainably made garments. The designer applied a print of François Boucher’s painting “Daphnis and Chloe” across jeans and denim jackets. The collection also featured several dark denim jackets, jeans and skirts with red stitching details.
If there was any doubt that Y2K pop-star fashion inspired Blumarine’s collection of shrunken cardigans and butterfly motifs, the brand’s micro skirts, low-rise jeans and flare fits delivered a resounding confirmation. Skirts—decorated with monochromatic rose appliques—hung low on the waist. Jeans were layered with dye effects, printed florals and jeweled belts. An overdyed electric blue jean jacket featured a matching blue fur collar.
Italian outerwear brand Bacon echoed the early Aughts style with holographic silver jeans. House of Sunny applied its popular swirl motifs to jeans. Bold colors and slick textures enlivened MSGM’s collection including jeans boasting crackle effects and bright purple and pink hues. The brand’s slouchy blue jeans featured veiny textures as well.
Alexandre Vauthier presented zip-up dress with an ’80s-style moto jacket silhouette and crystal-embellished jeans.
An authority on cool, Tom Ford showed bleached straight-fit denim with white socks and white loafers—perhaps provoking the next ‘ugly fashion’ trend. Size-inclusive brand Ester Manas similarly styled cuffed raw jeans and a shapely matching jean jacket with white socks and black pumps.
Each Other presented jeans with a bleached ombre effect and unfinished hems. Bleach, paint splatters and a collage of autumnal checks and plaid patchwork decorated Dsquared2’s women’s jeans, while raw denim fabrics brought a sleeker look to its men’s styles.
Raw denim was featured in Dice Kayek’s line as a puff-sleeved trench coat and in Zadig & Voltaire’s men’s line. Erdem added an elegant collar to its dark-rinse jean jacket.
Denim continued to be an area of focus for Christian Dior creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri, who filmed her dark fairy-tale presentation in the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles. An inky blue ankle-skimming denim skirt and belted short-sleeve chore top popped against red checks. Classic straight-fit jeans paired back to an open-work, short-sleeve knit.
Several heritage brands retreated to countryside pursuits for inspiration. Longchamp paired double denim layered under puffer vests and over turtleneck tops. Hermès tapped into its equestrian roots with a dark indigo cropped jacket, high-rise jeans, a wrap skirt and a coat accented with black leather fasteners.
Nods to workwear were evident in Alberta Ferretti’s denim pieces, like work shirts and patch-pocket jeans with an aged wash. Daniel Fletcher captured a utilitarian look with a black jean jacket punctuated with white stitching and metal hardware.
Fabric blocking added visual and textural interest to denim. GCDS, Sea and Red Valentino mixed multi-colored denim to create patterns and contrast on core pieces like jeans, jackets and jumpsuits. Anrealage used the reverse side of the fabric to contrast its dark indigo surface. MM6 Maison Margiela designed jackets and jeans to look like they’re being worn inside-out. Antonio Marras introduced tartans and sequin-covered florals into its denim pieces.
Inspired by Chinese martial arts culture, Marrknull showed a conceptual collection dense with deconstructed denim by suspending models from wires. A full skirt mimicked the styling of a jean jacket, with a collar wrapping around the waist. Jeans featured wavy seams and chain prints. Jean jackets were sewn onto coats.
Deconstructed and distressed denim helped ground Rokh’s lace bustiers and embellished hi-low tops. Along with double-waisted boyfriend jeans, the collection included ripped and distressed jean skirts with fishtail hems. The statement pieces arrive at an opportune time when searches for distressed jeans are on the rise.
Long jean skirts were also a part a Dries Van Noten collection that smacked of Antwerp coolness. The garments were styled with silky camisoles and red rose knits.
Philipp Plein went the nostalgic route with distressed jeans, jackets and skirts adorned with patches of Looney Tunes characters.
Other approaches to deconstruction were subtler. Lourdes and Lutz Huelle both leaned toward jeans with unconventional pocket placements; the latter also opted for drawstring waistbands throughout his entire collection to appease comfort fiends.
There was no shortage of looser fits. Our Legacy, Petar Petrov and A.L.C. each presented loose relaxed and wide-leg jeans that puddled over the tops of shoes. No brand, however, offered a better assortment of at-home denim than Brunello Cucinelli. Pleated, slouchy and/or cuffed, the faded, worn-in washes only enhanced the jeans’ comfy appeal.