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6 Fall/Winter 20-21 Trends to Know from New York Fashion Week

The usual headliners like Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger may have skipped New York Fashion Week, but the week wasn’t short of impactful fashion trends. Fall/Winter 20-21 collections painted a colorful picture of imaginative silhouettes, unexpected prints, fun trims and glimpses of skin.

Here’s a look at six trends on track to influence women’s fashion.


Big proportions were a big deal at New York Fashion Week. While ready-to-wear ushered in slouchier denim silhouettes, oversized knits and shapeless items like capes and ponchos, evening took a turn toward extravagant ball gown skirts and dramatic trains.

Christian Siriano presented volume in two ways: romantic and sculptural. The collection included gowns with oversized bows, tulle confections embellished with ruffles and pompoms, column dresses with floor-sweeping cape sleeves and elegant puffed-sleeve opera coats. These princess-like frocks contrasted with evening wear bearing strong shoulders and shape-shifting peplums.

Inspired by power, Christian Cowan presented a collection of party frocks with powerful puffed sleeves and giant bows that jutted well beyond the model’s frame. Meanwhile, Area took a literal approach to “wearing your heart on your sleeve,” by creating heart-shaped cocoon dresses in intense metallic fabrics.

Bubble-like dresses, peplum tops with bold stand-up collars and dresses and skirts with ruffled high-low hems flounced down the runway. A color palette of artificial shades of iridescent green and holographic silver electrified the collection.

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And while it could be argued that designers have begun to lazily rely on bright color and prints to attract attention on social media, this new crop of colorful and voluminous fashion has red-carpet status. Look for items like opera gloves, sashes and a flurry of fancy headwear to enhance the regal looks.

Seeing green

There are many ways to read into the flurry of green at New York Fashion Week. A symbol of renewal? A nod to sustainability? An evolution of the slime-like neon hue that has dominated streetwear? No matter the reason, elegant shades of green prevailed and were used with sumptuous fabrics like silk, velvet and leather.

Anna Sui applied her signature bohemian aesthetic to feather-trimmed emerald green jackets.  Ulla Johnson made a strong case for puffed-sleeve green tops.

And while “Greenery” was Pantone’s Color of the Year in 2017, the color lingers. The fresh hue added a youthful look to Brandon Maxwell’s simple wool coats and enhanced the botanical feeling in Carolina Herrera’s floral jacquard dresses and suits.

Cow print

The proliferation of animal-print fashion has reached the farm. While a minor trend, appearing in just a handful of shows, cow print made a memorable impression at New York Fashion Week.

In his ode to classic Americana sportswear, Michael Kors applied cow-printed calf hair to a sleek belted coat and fringe-embellished handbag. Meanwhile, Zadig & Voltaire topped off a utility-inspired set with a furry, cow-printed coat.

A beige and brown color palette keeps the print from veering into costume kitsch.

Cutout details

While one side of fashion is shrouding women in yards of taffeta and jacquard, the other is slicing and dicing minimalist pieces that nod to the ’90s. Tasteful cutouts were the sexiest trend at fashion week, revealing hips, shoulders, chests and abs.

Brandon Maxwell presented what will probably go down as the season’s cool girl-look—Bella Hadid dressed in a sliced cropped tank and full drop-waist skirt. Proenza Schouler and Eckhaus Latta revealed hints of shoulder and midriff. Khaite and Prabal Gurung were among the designers that updated otherwise modest long-sleeve white dresses with side cutouts.

Meanwhile, Dion Lee made a strong case for peekaboo trousers. The brand’s black trousers featured a mesh waistband, and gray balloon pants replaced pockets with peeks at skin. Other styles used belts to emphasize the hip bone.


Fashion’s undying affinity for fringe lives on in F/W 20-21. And in New York, the look was bohemian and all-American.

Fringe played a key role in Palm Angels’ Southwest story for the season. Traditional blue-and-white striped shirting was transformed into fringe dresses, skirts and collar-less button-down shirts. Fringe (and whip-stitching) decorated track suits. Fringe was also prevalent on the brand’s suiting, paint-splattered bottoms and woolen coats.

And Gabriela Hearst’s suede trench was made for strutting. Suede fringe swished from the jacket’s shoulders, seams, pockets and storm flap.


As traditional metallic colors like gold, silver and rose gold become modern neutrals in designers’ palettes, they’ve also receded into the background. That changes for F/W 20-21 with intensely golden garments.

Michael Kors updated the modest cape dress with liquid-like gold fabrics. Iridescent gold fabrics transformed designer Sally LaPointe’s classic camp shirt and pant into an Instagram-ready set. The same fabric was used in a youthful suit with a cropped jacket and pleated trouser.

Meanwhile, Marc Jacobs opted for a more subdued gold for a zany dress silhouette that mimicked the look of gift bows and ribbons.