More than ever, the runway is the percolator for fashion trends. Some are wearable, designed with an acute sense of who the end consumer will be. Others are not, especially during a pandemic.
(We’re looking at you, Miu Miu’s puffer bodysuit.)
With fashion week presentations in New York, London, Milan and Paris taking place, once again, across computer screens, retailers are pressured to hedge their bets on trends that they might have never seen in the flesh. Market intelligence platform Edited, however, has unpacked Fall/Winter 21-22 collections to identify the silhouettes, colors, prints and details with the greatest commercial promise.
From more puff-sleeve romance, to provocative cutouts, here’s a look at the seven breakout F/W 21-22 trends that savvy retailers need to know as they brace for a pandemic rebound.
No fashion category’s fall from relevance during the past 12 months has been as steep as occasion wear. Designers, however, are plotting its comeback with a vengeance.
Fashion that radiates joy is fast approaching, Edited said, noting that F/W 21-22 collections were unseasonably bright with hot pink, red, royal blue and yellow trending.
Animal and psychedelic prints—seen in collections by LaQuan Smith and House of Sunny—added to the party atmosphere, while a roster of luxury stalwarts like Versace, Lanvin and Prada teed up influences from the ’80s. Head-to-toe sequins, big sleeves and mini dresses were par for the course.
Within this theme, party footwear stands a chance to win major gains. Though comfort and sneakers have dominated conversations in the women’s footwear category for years, Edited reported a resurgence of high heels on the virtual catwalks, including platforms, square toes, strappy sandals and Mary Janes.
“Mini bags, chunky rings and statement bangles are easy buy-ins to bring the story to fruition in your assortment,” Edited stated.
A confluence of pandemic trends—from the sweet cottagecore aesthetic and the rise of the nap dress, to Netflix’s instant success with “Bridgerton”—handed designers a pass to delve into decadent Regency-era fashion.
“Bridgerton”-inspired looks were showcased by Erdem, Marni and Simone Rocha, “signaling the continued success of regal looks in the mass market,” Edited stated.
Full skirts, maxi-length dresses and empire-waist frocks are among the commercialized options for this otherwise opulent trend. Another avenue for retailers to take: accessories worthy of royalty. Feminine hair accessories, gloves and other accoutrements embellished with pearls and beading play up the debutante dynamic.
The trend also clears space for pastels, which Edited noted were “unseasonably present on the runway.” Look for powder pink, lavender, baby blue and white to inject a sense of calm and whimsy into fall collections.
Cozy fashion…for fall…groundbreaking. The knits and outerwear in F/W 21-22 collections, however, are the exception from the typical humdrum staples that designers churn out each season. The key is to offer sensation-craving consumers something that they can’t keep their hands off of.
“Texture is a crucial element for this trend, so incorporate fuzzy fabrics and faux fur, the latter of which increased in new season sell outs by 8 percent between Fall 2020 and 2019,” Edited stated.
And with “duvet dressing” showing no signs of slowing down, Edited pointed to unconventional knitwear shapes and puffer coats with sartorial details like shawl collars, as signs that function has not replaced fashion entirely. Max Mara made a strong case for layering chic wool coats, while the creative marriage of Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons at Prada will have everyone clutching their jacket come fall.
A lot has changed in the past year, but one thing that remained the same is fashion’s lust for the ’70s. The retro leather jackets and flare jeans that trended last fall are evolving into a more bohemian aesthetic centered on paisley prints, tie-dye and fringe.
“The ’70s stood out as one of the most commercial trends to invest in, drawing parallels with the shift in politics and protest culture we see today,” Edited stated.
Rooted in classic earth tones, the nostalgic theme serves as a “[palate] cleanser” to the season’s bolder partywear, Edited noted. Platform footwear, cowboy boots, snake prints and head scarves add a dash of the decade’s rock ‘n’ roll glamour.
Has a year of remote learning sparked a yearning for classic back-to-school styling? All signs on the catwalk point to a resounding “yes.” From pleated skirts and cardigans, to a trove of blazers, nods to prep-school chic were rampant in collections by Dior, DSquared2, Alice & Olivia and more.
The trend has good bones, too. Checks, Edited reported, account for 10 percent of patterned apparel sell-outs in the past three months. The market-ready pattern is ideal for sets, suiting and outerwear, and it pairs with other trending patterns like checkerboard, argyle and diamonds to make a strong merchandising story.
“Complete the look by taking note from designers like Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini, with letterman jackets and berets, or Elizabetta Franchi, which channeled the rich horse girl aesthetic with jodhpurs and knee-high boots,” Edited stated.
Cutouts, a trend that cropped up in Spring/Summer ’21 collections, are poised to carry through into the colder months. Jonathan Simkhai’s cozy midi dresses with daring cutouts and MSGM’s knit bra tops styled with shackets are examples of how designers are merging comfort and sex appeal.
Other elements ditch practicality. The sheer fabrics, corsets and risqué slits seen in collections by David Koma, Versace and Givenchy are natural bedfellows to the season’s partywear theme.
Bra tops and sequins aside, don’t cancel loungewear just yet. “While occasionwear took center stage, designers continued to include aspects of loungewear in their collections, with comfort now embedded in designs and people’s way of life,” Edited stated.
Designers are fine-tuning how they approach relaxed and casual fashion. Edited pointed to stirrup leggings as a directional bottom for trend-oriented brands, while slouchy jeans and trousers show versatility for life after the pandemic.