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Designers Are All About Blue Jeans for Pre-Fall 2021

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Blue jeans are emerging as part of the post-pandemic aesthetic for luxury brands.

A roll call of covetable Parisian labels mixed classic denim into their Pre-Fall 2021 collections, in both classic and statement-making ways.

Balmain’s collection was designed with Gen Z in mind, hence the nostalgic school-girl chic style (think pleated tennis sets, and white sock/loafer combination) and heaps of optimistic pastel colors. As the collection was revealed in a store front in Paris with a live photo shoot, Balmain creative director Olivier Rousteing told Vogue that he tried to “go back to when there was more happiness in fashion.”

The result was a women’s collection that melded the brand’s signature sharp shoulder jackets with light-wash straight-fit jeans and reimagined the skirt suit as a denim-and-pink-tweed concoction. For men, Balmain took a similar approach, pairing a slouchy boot-cut jean with a sliced hem with a V-neck tennis sweater. Denim overalls and a jean jacket with exaggerated shoulders were among the bolder looks.

Chanel leaned into the trend for audience-less fashion shows in the utmost Chanel way by presenting its collection in an empty French castle with just one lone attendee, actress and Chanel muse Kristen Stewart. Though critics point out that Chanel creative director Virginie Viard is still finding her footing in Karl Lagerfeld’s former role, she does seem to have a fondness for denim.

Following a cruise collection dense with denim, Viard mixed printed denim with Goth-inspired dresses, an abundance of leggings and checkerboard-print skirts and accessories that mirrored the castle’s ballroom floor for Pre-Fall ’21. The dark denim pieces—a modest long-sleeve dress and a long skirt—featured a tapestry print of yellow, rusty red and purple blooms.

Elements of Italian glam—perhaps inspired by creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri’s childhood—filtered into Dior’s collection. The overall looks, however, smacked of “Emily in Paris” vibes with transparent rain coats, leopard-print sets, logo bucket hats, veiled berets and elevated souvenirs like Paris-themed tees and accessories.

Denim grounded Dior’s collection. A dark denim jumpsuit with racing stripes printed across the chest introduced a utility look that was only emphasized by oversized patch pockets. Meanwhile, a logo chain belt dressed up blue jeans, while a subtle ombre effect introduced a new look for wide-leg jeans.

Veronica Beard experimented with pocket details for Pre-Fall 2021, applying them to light-wash jeans with a tapered leg and two-tone flare jeans. The New York City-based brand also added feminine touches to denim jackets. One mixed denim with tweed for a ladylike look; another jean jacket featured ruffle sleeve and a drawstring waist to create a peplum effect.

Will 2021 mark the comeback of the trucker hat? Italian brand Dsquared2 gave the polarizing chapeau its seal of approval in a country-meets-Y2K collection. The collection, an indulgence of denim, plaid, animal prints and textural layers, may also signal the return of fashion with attitude.

Denim provided the framework for Dsquared2’s nostalgic romp of party-girl fashion that included a gold sequin capelet, ruched black leather mini dresses, and cut-away skirts. Core items included bleached-splashed skinny jeans, wide-leg jeans with raw hems and vintage-looking denim button-down shirts. A multi-hued denim bralette (that could double as a vest) and a pair of cuffed crop jeans with khaki twill panels made fun fashion statements.

Meanwhile, velvet loungewear sets, argyle sweaters and buffalo plaid jackets brought a dose of quarantine reality to Dsquared2’s collection.

The loose jean silhouettes in Etro’s collection echo the stay-at-home sentiment. Vintage washes and laser-printed bohemian florals and paisley motifs brought a strong retro vibe though. While flare jeans with a front crease presented a more polished ’70s look, Etro’s wide-leg jeans veered toward grunge territory with slashed knees.

Destroyed denim was a look that newly minted Givenchy designer Matthew Williams embraced. The ripped, repaired and patchwork jeans were an example of how Williams focused on reinterpreting core wardrobe items such as a cropped varsity jacket, comfy clogs adorned with metal spikes and blazers with inverted collars.

Though Norma Kamali struck color gold by including one of Pantone’s Colors of the Year for 2021, Illuminating, in her collection, the cloudy tie-dye effects were the breakout story. The effect was applied to cropped jeans, denim shorts, jumpsuits and a slew of outerwear staples, from a fitted zip-up jean jacket to a denim anorak-style jacket. The trendy denim pieces were offset by simple white-button down shirts and bodysuits.

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