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Anticipating Reasons to Celebrate, Designers Revel in Party Wear

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With “fashion month” at a crossroads, with some designers in the four fashion capitals abiding by the traditional calendar and others going off the grid with their own schedule, it may seem that fashion is on a path to splinter into divergent directions.

A new report by trend forecasting firm Heuritech, however, underscores how the shared experience of a pandemic—and the tension between the practicality of season-less design and a yearning to wear finery once again—is leading to four common themes for Fall/Winter 2021-2022 women’s wear.

Amongst the 5,430 F/W 21-22 looks the company analyzed, Heuritech spotted 650 trends, spanning classic stripes and neutrals, to party-oriented looks like mini dresses, velvet and fur. These individual trends, and more, manifest in themes that tap into the demand for nostalgia, androgyny, luxury, and overall, more joyous times ahead.

Here’s a close look at the silhouettes, colors and fabrics Heuritech names as the fashion trends to watch.

Flamboyant Liberation

Though the trove of party looks may currently seem irrelevant as Italy and France deal with another round of lockdowns, designers are pining for more social gatherings this fall.

Designers ditched loungewear in favor of party wear “manifesting in the form of ostentatious materials like sequins, feathers, and velvet, used on micro length dresses and skirts, plunging necklines, and skin-tight silhouettes,” Heuritech described.

And they did so all in the name of optimism, which shone through their color choices. “Yellow was one of the most visible color trends that emerged this fashion week, which may come as a surprise considering that the uplifting color is often associated with the spring and summer seasons,” Heuritech stated, adding that it is considered a “steady” trend for winter.

Bright pink and purple are safe bets as well. Pink was commonly used for mini dresses and outerwear, while purple lends itself to coordinating sets and edgier looks made with sheer fabrics and fur.

Unseasonably short hems were part of the theme’s celebratory mood. The mini skirt and mini dress, Heuritech noted, are set to “dominate the fashion landscape for the foreseeable future.” Though revealing, the prevalence of micro lengths in collections spanning Valentino to Versace speaks to its universal appeal.

Designers experimented with a different kind of sexy with all-in-one catsuits. While stretchy fabrics were a natural choice for the second-skin look, this season also saw the addition of knit and sequin-covered one-pieces. “The catsuit is defined by its form-fitting silhouette, making it an ideal garment to make a bold fashion statement in the post-Covid era,” Heuritech stated.

Sequins, in general, are on track to be a popular trim for F/W 21-22—particularly for more casual looks. Likewise, fringe and feathers added to the theme’s flamboyance. “Fringe also adds a dimension of movement to a look, adding a playful touch to any look,” Heuritech stated.

Old Money Reboot

Using neutral color palettes, luxurious materials and timeless silhouettes, designers are creating a discreet yet opulent aesthetic that draws parallels to the 1920s.

“Although the style of the 1920s is known for being ostentatious and flashy, there was at the same time a desire to be comforted through clothing, which resulted in an embrace of fluid silhouettes like the slip dress rather than constraining garments like the corset,” Heuritech said.

Blazers and cable knits are among the must-have items for this polished look. “Brands are coming up with new, unexpected applications of cable knit, using the knit for skirts, dresses, and even pants,” Heuritech stated.

Using neutral color palettes, luxurious materials and timeless silhouettes, designers are creating a discreet yet opulent aesthetic that draws parallels to the 1920s.
Sandro WWD

Classic Prince of Wales prints and checked prints nod to classic tailoring and bourgeois style, but designers’ unconventional uses of these prints on loungewear and catsuits made them feel fresh. Solid navy and medium brown are safe bets as well, used in monochromatic looks or styled with fellow rich neutrals.

And a theme inspired by the 1920s is not complete without fur, be it faux or upcycled. “We saw a wide range of fur appear in collections throughout fashion month, from long shaggy fur, to colored fur in shades of yellow, red and purple,” Heuritech stated. There was also a notable shift towards short textured fur, which was used as outerwear as well as on the tops of shoes and on accessories.

Lining collars or hemlines with fur trims was another common use of the fabric, as well as fur bags, which smacked of extravagance.

Analog Nostalgia

Designers are romanticizing the pre-digital world with fashion that beckons the return of artisanal elements, soft colors and prints that evoke a pastoral mood. Here, fabrics and textures play a large role in enveloping the wearer in a sense of calm, comfort and sensuality.

Brands like Sandy Liang and Sea elevated fleece fabrications from an outdoor staple into feminine versions of utilitarian sweaters. Quilting’s contemporary makeover as a technique for bodysuits, dresses and pants is proving to be a creative outlet for designers.

And crochet, which is benefiting from a revival spurred by people developing new hobbies during quarantine, will continue to be a “steady” trend fall, thanks in part to designers like Acne Studios and Miu Miu using the technique in modern ways.

Designers are romanticizing the pre-digital world with fashion that beckons a return of artisanal elements, soft colors and prints that evoke a pastoral mood.
Acne Studios WWD

The theme embraces femininity as well. Lace recalls the “savoir faire” required to make delicate and elegant materials, Heuritech stated, while the abundance of tulle on the runway echoes recent data that shows ballet-inspired fashion on the rise. Satin was also featured in several shows, used for dresses, blouses, trousers and blazers, bringing a touch of “effortless luxury.”

Prints like polka dots and ditsy florals bring a nostalgic charm to women’s wear, while pastel pink, light blue and light green—used in billowing silhouettes, quilting and in monochromatic looks—are key to the theme’s calming qualities.

Romantic touches like puffed sleeves and ruffled collars tie together the nostalgic theme. Although collars may appear as a niche trend, Heuritech said it seems like ruffled collars will be making a big comeback for the F/W 21-22 season given the number of designers who decided to include it during fashion month.

Space Age Core

A sleek, spacey aesthetic emerged during fashion month, Heuritech reported. Defined by clean lines, androgynous silhouettes and bold colors, this update to minimalism also embraced utility, graphic prints and shine.

With color playing an outsize role in the futuristic story, Heuritech named orange, turquoise, red and green as colors to watch. The lively colors were used in one of the key prints of the seasons—stripes—and in gradient dyed garments. “Gradient dyes are the latest iteration of the tie-dye trend that dominated 2020, with this subtle dyed effect creating a spacey, atmospheric effect,” Heuritech stated.

Silver, pink and gold metallic fabrics were a natural fit for the space story as well.

The theme for F/W 21-22 steps away from the austere undertone that futuristic fashion stories typically have in order to meet the current demand for comfort. Mohair played to the senses, while ribbed knits brought structure in a soft manner.

A sleek, spacey aesthetic emerged during fashion month, Heuritech reported.
Bacon WWD

Puffer coats continued to be a mainstay, but designers also showed a budding interest in ponchos. Some tapped into the DIY trend with crochet and mismatched knits, while other poncho styles were ethereal, made with translucent materials. This practicality was also evident in the prevalence of shackets and polo shirts in collections.

But not to be labeled humdrum, designers invented “novel ways of integrating hints of exposed skin into garments to create an element of surprise,” Heuritech said.  Cutouts were seen on all types of F/W 21-22 garments. Meanwhile, the balaclava has emerged as one of the biggest accessory trends as of late. “This accessory seems like a natural progression of the face mask, providing the wearer with an extra layer of warmth and comfort, especially during the cold months,” Heuritech stated.