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The Prodigal Daugther Returns
Let’s talk about the almost collapse of Queen Fashion’s kingdom.
Which one of us has never had sparkling eyes watching Serena van der Woodsen (Gossip Girl) parading on a fashion week runway? Who has never stumbled upon the fashion tv channel - and actually found it captivating? And don’t tell me those chanel boots in the devil wears Prada didn’t have you drooling. Whether we like it or not, the clothes displayed in our favorite shops are inspired by the most prominent fashion designers’ masterwork. And yet. The sanitary crisis the world has suffered all through last year has disrupted the whole of the fashion system. Let’s talk about the almost collapse of Queen Fashion’s kingdom. For a moment there, we have been left to our own device. The greatest clothing suppliers found themselves buried in mounds of unsold items, while the biggest portion of fashion trendsetters turned to different sources of inspiration than runways. Now that we are able to roam freely in malls’ hallways, it is legitimate to wonder what is left of the Fashion industry - from the runways to our drawers
A no-runway impact on fashion inspiration
Coming out of a global pandemic, we most certainly have hindsight on its impact on our lives. From our jobs to our children’s school, time was stopped and lives were frozen. Some would even say it has been one of the worst times in the history of the fashion industry. Because of a lack of occasions to dress up, last year, people swapped their smart business outfits with cozy loungewear. This casualization phenomenon has widely been conveyed by the craving of cozy and fluffy textures: teddy, knitwear, velvet were the watchwords of the many lockdowns we went through. The fact that society turned completely virtual for almost two years has certainly led to the development of new markets. It is interesting to note how swiftly the fashion industry has taken advantage of the global mask shortage at the beginning of the pandemic. As a response, stylish and colorful masks were designed in masses, bringing to light slogans asuch as ‘Stay safe in style’. Besides, it appeared that people had bought more and more tops as they progressively entered the Zoom era, wearing blouses and shirts over their pajamas during virtual meetings. It is safe to say that fashion didn’t die during this agonizing crisis. Even though fashion shows were not on our agendas, the whole industry digitalized itself. Fashion was supported by social media more than ever, waiting for a renewal as soon as life could resume its course. People were released in an arena of “if’s’’: “if we could go to Coachella, I would wear this top”, “if I could go to prom, I would wear this gown”, “if I were brave enough, I would wear this outfit”. Progressively, we have let our imagination rule our most primitive sense of fashion. While some of us displayed new and affirmed styles as a personality statement, others took advantage of the situation to wear outfits that could have been called out-of-date in other circumstances. For instance, many clothing websites, no longer ruled by trendsetting of runways, were inspired by the styles of Millennials and Generation Z: the 90’s were back on the podium, as well as a new romantic style…
Return to Runways: The renewal of inspiration
Overall, can we truly say that we have been able to make do without runways? The role of fashion shows has shifted for sure. Even if some of us had the chance to attend virtual fashion shows, those have not influenced the industry as strongly as they usually do. Its importance, actually, has been highly questioned. However, we all know the ability of top brands to innovate and impose new trends via the runways. As soon as lockdowns were lifted, people ran to their favorite shops, queuing to get in Zara or H&M, thus revitalizing and boosting the confidence of the fashion market. It might take some time to bounce back and regain the prestige it had before the development of new trends on social media. However, it now seems that runways and social media are working hand in hand for the genesis of a new way of thinking fashion.
Trends,Trendy, the 2021 Way
We want to look good. Beyond that, the fashion scene in 2021 also aims at making people feel genuinely good. Givenchy, for one, has understood our needs. In their Pre-fall 2021 Collection, the Maison Givenchy has showcased the ultimate balance between going-back-to-work looks, and comfortable, reaffirmed styles. The brand has chosen to bet on loose fits for its suits, puff sleeves on jackets and adjusted dresses. The black, white, red and khaki tones reflect the ‘elegant and powerful chic’ motto of this collection and are supported by fierce materials such as patent leather and studded accessories. Polo Ralph Lauren too has adapted its Spring 2021 Ready-to-wear collection to our expectations. After such a long time spent at home, most of us are willing to have a break and go on vacation. The watchwords this summer are purity, simplicity, and romantic minimalism, supported by pastel colors such as baby blue, dusty pink, and pearl grey. Reinventing the American classics that lie at its core, the brand has been able to launch a fresh collection of white, navy blue and pastel blue earlier this year. The textures are airy, blending the idea of coziness with loose fits and matching summer vibes. All evokes the freedom and impulsiveness of travels, with a classy touch. Celine has made the choice to pursue what has been trendy on social media the last few months by restyling the 80’s Parisian style and the bourgeois codes. For its Fall 2021 collection, no skinny jeans or uncomfortable clothes have been reported. It is all about loose trench coats and straight jeans, in khaki and beige tones that give us strong retro-vibes.
What next?
It seems that the pandemic has led to 180° rethinking of the way we dress: we are more aware of the ethical aspect of clothes, on an environmental and social level. People are ready to invest in sustainable clothes, even if the prices are a bigger commitment. While many of us are choosing second-hand fashion, leading brands such as Stella McCartney are digging even deeper to produce more responsible clothes. Being able to follow through a cruelty-free process, reducing the environmental impacts by using renewable resources and still being able to produce runway-worthy collections is proof that fashion is moving forward. Runways have shown in many ways that they can adapt to what people want. The whole crisis has emphasized the fact that people now want to dress glamorously and extravagantly without leaving aside comfort. We want gowns, glitter, heels, and most importantly - pockets in our dresses.

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