Before loungewear and comfort dominated 2020 fashion conversations, designers revealed their visions for denim with Fall/Winter 20-21 collections filled with artisan details, bohemian regalia and touches of fantasy.
Though at the time of their debut, qualities like upcycled patchwork, loose fits and hybrid designs were perceived as passing trends, they are elements that may now resonate even more strongly with the pandemic consumer.
Here’s a look at seven influential designer denim collections for this fall.
Arts & crafts
Denim was one piece of Antonio Marras’ F/W 20-21 collection that mimicked the look and feel of vintage fabrics. Patchwork constructions and contrast stitching added a handmade feel to men’s dark jeans. Re-worked jean jackets featured insets of plaid and paisley-like florals. The pockets of a button-down denim shirt were removed and its shirttails were tacked up to reveal floral lining. And yellow-tinted jeans were embellished with a dizzying array of embroidered lines with loose threads.
For F/W 20-21, Gucci continued to live in a hybrid retro world that was equal parts ’70s hippie and ’90s grunge. Leather trench coats and floral print dresses were styled over wide-leg jeans, while ruffled lace shirts and smocked baby-doll tunics were paired with oversized ripped jeans. The denim pieces signal a step away from the maximalism aesthetic Gucci has fueled during the past few years.
Nearly half of E. Tautz & Sons’ F/W 20-21 collection was made with upcycled materials from U.K.-based recycling company ASTCO. The collection offered a mix of wearable classics. Wide-leg, pleated denim trousers had a drapey look with unseasonably bright and light casts. Denim patchwork made with a variety of washes decorated long-sleeve tops, as well as the pockets and cuffs of jean jackets. A boxy denim jacket with a plaid wool collar and a sporty denim anorak added variety to the lineup for men.
Denim remained an essential part of Martine Rose’s nostalgic designs. Wide-leg jeans with cargo pockets, jeans with pronounced seaming details and laser-printed denim were core to the collection. Stripes decorated denim button-down shirts and jackets, and jeans smacked of ’70s swagger. Robe-like leather coats, oversized check jackets and suiting woven with the names of London neighborhoods stayed true to Rose’s fondness for eccentricity.
A flurry of color and references from decades past came together in Marques’Almeida’s F/W 20-21 collection. Overdyed acid-wash denim in shades of electric green and purple from the ’80s mashed with ’90s-inspired rave silhouettes updated with the brand’s contemporary eye for deconstruction. Key items included cargo jeans with skewed pocket placement, a slouchy utility shirt and an oversized denim straightjacket.
True to Etro’s nomadic philosophy, the brand told a F/W 20-21 story dense with rich earth tones, statement belts and layering. A denim vest and jeans were adorned with matching floral appliques and trimmed with brown suede fringe along the hems and seams. Another jean was decorated with metallic sequins, fringe and patchwork made from silken fabrics. The pieces came together in a collection emphasizing modern bohemian luxury, with items like silk neckerchiefs and velvet coats.
God save the jean
Marie Antoinette would have worn embellished denim if Moschino creative director Jeremy Scott had his way. Inspired by the French Revolution, Scott brought the 1780s into the modern day with a Fall/Winter 20-21 collection loaded with gold bullion embroidery, corsetry and denim frock coats. While pannier mini-dresses are unlikely to go mainstream in this era of comfort and gender equality, the novelty of Scott’s vision was a gentle reminder of what’s missing in the denim sector: a sense of surprise.