Designers behind the Spring/Summer 2021 (SS21) fashion shows are holding a mirror up to a society that is evolving, reflecting the new priorities borne out of lockdown

More than a year into the pandemic, the fashion world has learnt to adapt. An obvious change can be seen in the ways of presentation — virtual runway shows are the new norm — but in the clothes themselves, the collections that designers have put together in isolation, are indicative of a different society moulded by different priorities, interests and fancies. Working from home has resulted in a huge emphasis on comfort, but not without style: ultra-wide trousers and oversized shirts are top picks. Even street-style sweats can make a statement (think capes and heels, as seen at Brandon Maxwell). Speaking of statement, brands are no longer keeping quiet about fashion’s adverse environmental effects. There are efforts to use recycled materials and deadstock fabrics, led by powerhouses Prada, Coach and Alexander McQueen. And how do we explain Renaissanceesque designs like corsets and puffy sleeves? Surely, they are inspired by the popularity of period dramas Bridgerton and The Crown. These aside, Spring/Summer staples you know and love — florals, tie dye and pastels — are here to stay.

A BOSS IN THE BERMUDAS

 For business or play, men’s bermuda shorts are a trend ideal for summer. Whether worn with a tucked-in top — like at Ermenegildo Zegna, Feng Chen Wang and Gucci (pictured above) — or with a relaxed vibe as displayed by Tod’s, this wardrobe staple is still very much in fashion.

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NET BENEFIT

SS21 is the season of surprises and one of the most unexpected trends that have caught (pun intended) the eye of many is netting. It serves no practical purpose and exists purely as eye candy. As seen in Hermès, Balenciaga and Dries Van Noten, the layers offer visual interest and a contemporary newness to an otherwise plain outfit.

INVEST IN THE VEST

The sweater vest gained much traction during the Autumn/Winter 2020 season and has not lost its momentum despite the warmer weather. While it is now embraced in various fits — see Etro’s tiny crop vest and Louis Vuitton’s oversized pullover — you will, however, have to employ clever layering to avoid looking like you just ransacked your grandpa’s closet.

LOOSE COMFORT

The boyfriend shirt is back and is definitely a practical way to integrate the comfort of your work-from-home outfit with your everyday wardrobe. Paired with shorts or loose pants, this trend is effortlessly chic. While a few runways featured the classic white boyfriend shirt, others played with colour, and some — like Bally and Claudia Li — incorporated distinct chest pockets.

FASHION FLOSSING

The midriff flossing trend that debuted last summer appears to be here to stay. This time, its influence has extended from flowy skirts to micro crop tops and dresses, as seen on the runways of Kim Shui and Michael Kors. While the trend might be a tad risqué for most (and that’s an understatement), those willing to take the plunge can find stylistic inspiration from Jacquemus and Supriya Lele.