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Minimalism Evolves, Color Blocking Holds On for Another Season

Rivet’s 2021 winter issue has dropped! This in-depth issue examines the steps the global denim industry is taking to minimize its impact on the environment, from implementing zero waste production and design processes to establishing greenhouse gas emissions goals aligned with the Paris Agreement.

Are pandemic-driven trends already on the decline? Fall/Winter 21-22 collections are sending mixed signals.

Despite a call for a more season-less approach to fashion, recent data by Tagwalk, a platform that assigns key words to individual looks each fashion season, points to a slowdown in two major stories that sprang up during Fall/Winter 2020 and Spring/Summer ’21 fashion weeks.

Though the number of looks tagged “minimal” just six months ago was 48.4 percent higher than the year prior, the pared-back look failed to maintain momentum for F/W 21-22. “Minimal” was among the keywords with the biggest decrease, Tagwalk reported, declining 33 percent versus F/W ’20.

Meanwhile, the number of looks tagged “bourgeois,” a tag frequently used to describe the effortless cool-girl aesthetic synonymous with French labels like Celine and Chloe, dropped 51 percent compared to last fall.

Their decline, however, may be an indicator that designers are finding a middle ground between the two trends for F/W 21-22, and that fashion watchers are interpreting the trends differently this season.

Tagwalk reported that the number of looks tagged “masculine/feminine” increased 64 percent compared to F/W ’20. Key pieces from the “bourgeois” trend—like cardigans and pleated skirts—live here, as well as fuss-free suiting, coordinates and trench coats that would otherwise be described as “minimal.”

Other trends are more straightforward.

Color continues to be an impactful way for brands to inject joy into their collections. The number of F/W 21-22 looks tagged “color block” increased 58 percent compared to last fall. Bold colors, in general, dominated collections with key looks being Chanel’s cherry red set, Versace’s hot pink mini dress and matching tights and JW Anderson’ playful grass green bubble dress.

Recent data by fashion search engine Tagwalk shows how minimalism is evolving into a play on masculine and feminine fashion.
Versace WWD

Similarly, the number of garments with horizontal stripes climbed 82 percent versus F/W ’20. Brands like Andrea Pompilip and Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini opted for rugby-inspired stripes—a theme that carried into the growing preppy trend. Balmain’s navy, red and white stripes tapped into the jet-set crowd, while Emanuel Ungaro and Ayni used horizontal stripes to enhance their knits’ cozy factor.

Houndstooth, on the other hand, is on the downturn. Though there were a number of black-and-white looks, Tagwalk documented 46 percent fewer houndstooth looks on the runway—perhaps overtaken by the uptick in lozenge patterns seen in collections by Christian Dior, Valentino, Batsheva and more.