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Spring/Summer ’21 Accessories Signal the Return of Dress Up

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The joy of dressing is among the everyday activities consumers can look forward to in a post-coronavirus world. And accessories will be the icing on the cake for those who are eager to ditch the laidback fashion habits they’ve formed while social distancing in their homes.

This week, as part of its “Fear into Fuel” webinar series, Fashion Snoops accessories director Hallie Spradlin provided a roadmap to Spring/Summer 2021 seasonal narratives for women’s accessories.

Though the trend forecasting firm has traced elements of these stories for several seasons, they come to a head for S/S ’21 and reflect consumers’ thirst for nature, connectivity, culture and cheer.

Solstice

Northern Europe’s midsummer gatherings, rolling green hills and flower-covered paths are among the idyllic inspirations behind Solstice, Fashion Snoops’ most feminine and enchanting theme for S/S 21.

The softness of the trend speaks to the vulnerability and the need for self-care that many are experiencing, while its whimsical details and crafted fabrics celebrate community, personal connections and social gatherings—a far cry from current Centers for Disease Control guidance to cancel gatherings of more than 10 people.

“The ceremonial act of a dinner party is something that we yearn for these days,” Spradlin said.

This desire to dress up and reconnect is expressed through the story’s color palette, which she described as “blossoming with reinvented spring pastels.” Dreamy colors like soft yellow and pops of blue and purple floral hues added comforting feeling, while peachy hues stand out as new neutrals for the season. The greens in the story, Spradlin added, are energized and places us back in nature.

Delicate crafted materials like knit crochet and fine woven raffia are contrasted with lightweight jacquards for barely-there patterns, lurex knits and leather (and leather alternatives) with a buttery hand feel.

That handmade look is carried into details like twisted rope ties and sculpted ceramic heels or jewelry—ornaments that mimic the place settings of an opulent dinner table, Spradlin said. Fringe embroidery in tonal colors add subtle texture, while ruching and floral appliques capture an “eternal summer mindset.”

Key footwear items include slides with a wooden clog-inspired outsole and flat or kitten heels shoes with ankle wraps. Flat sling-backs sub in for traditional ballet flats, she said. Floral-toe applications and uppers made with lurex and crochet knit enhance the summery story.

Single-loop-top handle bags with sweet daisy prints, woven clutches and basket totes, which can serve as summer carryalls for the beach, picnics or work, lead handbag trends.

Glasses with petal-shaped frame and tinted lenses add a “hazy summer look,” Spradlin said. Bucket hats are updated with lightweight, sheer Swiss-dot fabrics, while rain hats become fashion items—especially styles that are floppy and coordinate with printed outerwear. Hair ribbons also make a twee comeback, but the girly accoutrement can tell a sustainable story, she noted, if made from scrap materials.

Rope belts that are braided or knotted added a crafted look to Solstice, while netted lace gloves adds delicacy and formality. This duality is played out in the theme’s key jewelry items: Mother of Pearl stud earrings, drop earrings with floral motifs and beading, and delicate lariat necklaces with a solitaire gemstone drop.

Dharma

In Dharma, Fashion Snoops keys into consumers’ desire to seek sacred and safe places. Healing is at the core of this story, as well as spiritual teachings and techniques to stay focused and centered.

“We’re looking to nature for guidance and inspiration,” Spradlin said.

Nature’s influence is evident in Dharma’s color palette, with colors like cinnamon, scotch orange, and mushroom being new neutral bases for leather bags and shoes. The colors, she described, are rich, lush and saturated. “The purples are healing in nature… the pops of green and yellow are vibrant,” she said. “It is an overall soothing palette because it delivers the dose of nature that we’re desperately searching for these days.”

This deep mindset is also reflected Dharma’s key materials, Spradlin said, as designers rethink the natural resources that they use for S/S ’21. Eco leathers and silken cellulose live here, as well as textured ostrich, pebbled suede, refined raffia and skin embossing for an elevated feeling.

Zen details like natural polished stones with healing properties, ring hardware, braiding and peeks of pattern as linings added personality to accessories.

Key footwear styles include the slip-on mule with a curved upper and thong sandals with a square toe. A slight heel and contrasting footbeds add a fashion element to the summer basic, while the return of lace-up sandals introduces a safari or utility aesthetic to the trend story.

This focus on function is carried into handbags, like the box bag with a textured finish and metal hinge hardware and the hobo bag made with slouchy leather alternatives, Spradlin said. Belt bags feature multiple pouches. Woven bucket hats made with refined raffia and alternative weave techniques and baseball caps with a scarf tie back add a vacation vibe.

And with apparel silhouettes loose and fluid for S/S ’21, Spradlin said belts will take on a greater importance. Knotted belts, obi styles with a smooth finish and wide belts with ruched details are a canvas for the story’s unique material palette.

Venture

Though the lack of travel may feel like the world is closed off, interest in other cultures is growing. Fashion Snoops’ story, Venture, captures this desire to discover new places and communities and as a result, creates a “globally ambiguous aesthetic.”

The eclectic trend, Spradlin said, speaks to the “boundary-free lives we lead and the merging of cultures and knowledge.”

This mixture of influences results in unexpected pops of colors. Bright orange and pink hues radiate energy, while yellow feels invigorating. The theme’s core neutral—brown-black—looks elevated with sandy neutrals and rich blue lapis hues, she said. Venture’s color palette comes to life on materials like croc-embossed surfaces, satin skin jacquards, textured canvas and vegetable tanned leathers.

Woven leathers and faux deer hide add a luxury element to the story, and handcrafted details like carved wood heels, macramé and refined fringe and accessories decorated with mismatched stones takes on an artisan vibe.

Key footwear styles, Spradlin said, include sling-back sandals with wooden block heels, T-strap sandals and heeled mules with padded leather uppers. Handbags include saddle bags, statement clutches with “handwoven bodies” and bucket bags with cutouts that reveal a contrasting pouch.

Oversized square frames with tinted lenses and printed silk headscarves add a touch of the ’70s glamour. Panama hats made with woven raffia are updated with jacquard ribbon for pattern. The belt bag is refreshed with multiple pouches, Spradlin said.

Jewelry feels like it’s been collected from around the world, like hand-painted carved statement earrings, stacked bracelets and oversized charm bracelets with thick chains.

Symposia

Fashion Snoops’ last theme is an escape from reality. Gluttonous, indulgent yet optimistic, Symposia is filled with fun elements—old and new. The trend, Spradlin said, allows consumers to feel joy.

Symposia’s color palette is an instant mood enhancer with shades like bright pink, blue, red and almost neon shades of yellow and green adding a playful jolt to accessories. The colors are enhanced by materials with glossy finishes like satin and patents. Other key materials, she said, include metallic thread linens, silk brocades and lace.

The trend’s decadence is carried into details like feather trim, ruching, sequins, quilting, studs and baroque hardware.

Key footwear items include colorful ballet flats with a low heel and tonal bow details, mules with a sequin-covered heels and the sling-back heel. Done up with a ruched satin upper, bold colorway and decorated with toe baubles—the silhouette, Spradlin said, is poised to become the season’s ‘It’ party shoe.

Handbag shapes like half-moon bags and wristlet pouches are jazzed up with glossy croc, fringe trim and ornate hardware. The mini bag also lives here, she noted, purely for fun.

The fanciful story calls for other playful accessories like embellished cat-eye glasses and novelty readers with colorful frames. The felted bowler hat decorated with a floral corsage acts as the new sun hat, while scrunchies return in silk baroque prints and bright colors. The headscarf gets an upgrade, too, with sequin embroidery. Everyday items like crew socks are upgraded with feather trim, lurex or sequins, Spradlin added.

For jewelry, the theme means statement studs with beading and charms, oversized cocktail rings with colorful enamel bands and multi-color chain link necklaces.

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