Fashion can bring joy and lightness even during the darkest seasons.
That’s the uplifting message Swarovski expressed in its Fall/Winter 20-21 forecast for fashion, jewelry, accessories and home. This week in New York City, Ralph Weinberger, who leads trend intelligence at Swarovski, shared how inclusivity, happiness and kindness are inspiring the crystal manufacturer to explore new colorways and directions for the season.
“Consumers want to manage their own emotions,” Weinberger said. “And we have to look into what the key messages are, from an emotional side, that people want to convey in the upcoming season.” And the emotions, he added, are simple and human.
Structure and order, desire and love, comfort, and freedom inspire each of Swarovski’s four trend stories. Here, Weinberger describes what these emotions mean for fashion and how crystal can be used to enhance them.
Strong tailoring and sartorial style influenced by the 1940s inspires Swarovski’s most elegant and structured trend group for the season. Slim silhouettes and longer lengths are poised to return, as well as traditional and rich fabrics like tweed and cashmere. Crystal, Weinberger added, can be used to accentuate the lines of tailored jackets, dresses and trousers, or burrow in pleats for subtle hints of shimmer.
Wide brim hats worn on a slant cut a sharp look, as well as vegan and recycled leathers that mimic the texture of crocodile and snake. The trend also emphasizes dramatic cold weather accessories, like opera-length gloves—notably worn under garments—and decorative belts worn over coats to “accentuate the female shape.”
Here, Weinberger said colors are based on neutrals, like brown, gray and black, accented with a dash of vibrant red.
The trend also calls for statement jewelry, including neckwear elements, watches that match other pieces of jewelry and snake motifs. “One of the key symbols coming up is going to be the snake because it is something that is relating to power and femininity,” Weinberger said. “And it [also relates] to sophistication, which fits nicely into this trend direction.”
Quirky, feminine style guided Swarovski’s most romantic trend grouping of candy colored crystals. Bold blue, red, lotus pink and orange are among the unseasonably cheery colorways.
“We have a little bit of a lighter attitude right now,” Weinberger said about the direction. “And the fun aspects do not need to be related just to a very young style, but it can also be very sophisticated.” The colors, he added, create an uplifting effect.
This spirited mood is carried into fashion through bows, tonal color blocking and exaggerated sleeves. “We also see robes and the capes are going to have a big comeback,” Weinberger said, explaining how items from our home life will work in the outside world. Pearl embellishments, he noted, complement the drape and luster of velvet and silk.
Accessories will also take cues from the boudoir, with silk and velvet slippers being a footwear trend to watch, while jewelry will be built into garments, such as buttons adorned with crystal charms.
The desire to be comfortable will likely never fall out of fashion, but consumers are ready for an upgrade from athleisure.
For Fall/Winter 20-21, Weinberger explained how Swarovski expects to see a movement toward classic pieces like tweed coats layered with colorful tech-inspired synthetic elements. Or synthetic fabrics done up in a traditional check print or embellished with elegant crystal buttons. This hybridization, he said, gives fashion a “sophisticated edge.”
Beanies, detachable hoods and knitted accessories like footwear deliver comfort and function. And jewelry will become heartier to balance bold silhouettes. Chain elements, ear studs updated with larger proportions and stacked watches add a fresh attitude.
“We simply tired of typical casual wear, we want to have a new thing,” Weinberger said.
The mix of sport and sportswear is reflected in the color palette. Tech colors like cobalt blue, red and silver tones are combined with neutrals like beige and brown tones.
With so much of our day-to-day life ruled by algorithms, Weinberger said consumers yearn for freedom and a sense of surprise. “Nature gives us this freedom because we cannot control nature,” he said.
In fashion, Weinberger said this feeling translates into wild pieces adorned with extra-long fringe or ostrich feathers. Experimental silhouettes and fabrics keep consumers guessing, including dresses made with sturdy yet delicate-looking lace. The trend also has some historical references, like high collars with ruffle treatments.
Color plays a key role in capturing the feeling of the natural elements. Mystic violet, graphite, dark metals and metals with a patina effect are among the hues on Swarovki’s color palette.
For jewelry, the trend calls for hammered gold metal, cuffs that mimic the natural curves of the ear and waterfall effects for earrings.