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New York Fashion Week: FW21 Made More Relevant

New York Fashion Week: FW21 Made More Relevant
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Images courtesy of Vogue Runway

New York Fashion Week FW21 looked entirely different than it did one year ago. Almost entirely digital in its presentation, with key brands like Michael Kors and Tory Burch notably absent, it was both a shadow of its former self as well as a look ahead at its promising future. Without the marquee names, it gave smaller brands an opportunity to grab some much-deserved attention.

On the whole, we would note that more than ever, designers focused on what the customer wants: the wearable mixed with that certain something that sets it apart.

So in this spirit of renewed creativity and hope for the future of fashion, let's talk about some of the key trends we spotted at NYFW.

Heavy Duty Knits

Khaite Monse Ulla Johnson Aknvas From left to right: Khaite, Monse, Ulla Johnson, Aknvas

Knitwear is an integral part of any collection for the cooler seasons, and from the looks of the digital runways, it was almost as if designers were inspired by recent attempts at outdoor dining during winter. (If you've lived it, you know what we mean.) Expect chunky knits that nod to traditional fisherman styles, with a couture touch.

Monochrome Separates

Proenza Schouler Adeam Tanya Taylor Rosetta Getty Private Policy From left to right: Proenza Schouler, Adeam, Tanya Taylor, Rosetta Getty, Private Policy

The good news is we'll be putting on real clothes come this fall/winter season. (At least that's the plan.) However, you could sense designers' practical sides showing, with many showcasing monochromatic separates with versatility at their core. Look for knitwear, wool, and cashmere to feature prominently in materials for these types of separates.


Theophilio Jonathan Simkhai Anna Sui Gabriela Hearst Imitation of Christ Khaite From left to right: Theophilio, Jonathan Simkhai, Anna Sui, Gabriela Hearst, Imitation of Christ, Khaite

What's dark, romantic, and a welcome change from some of winter's heavier materials? Lace. It featured as both an accent and transitional material in collections from Khaite and Gabriela Hearst, amongst others.


Jonathan Simkhai 3.1 Phillip Lim Sandy Liang Zimmermann Christian Cowan Kim Shui From left to right: Jonathan Simkhai, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Sandy Liang, Zimmermann, Christian Cowan, Kim Shui

Cutouts are likely to continue their relevance into the fall and winter seasons. From knitwear to dresses, there are few places designers haven't tried to place that strategic cutout. In the case of 3.1 Phillip Lim, cutouts are the print itself, allowing the skin underneath to become part of the visual effect.

Fur Collars

Khaite Sandy Liang Proenza Schouler Zimmermann From left to right: Khaite, Sandy Liang, Proenza Schouler, Zimmermann

As fur has fallen out of favor amongst consumers who prefer more environmentally responsible choices, its appearance has become less frequent on runways. When it does appear, it's usually more deliberate and accentuating in its application. Case in point? The fur collar which literally popped up in several collections including Zimmermann, Proenza Schouler, and Sandy Liang. The overall effect is luxe and statement-making.

The New "Nap Dress"

Batsheva cinq a sept Tanya Taylor R13 From left to right: Batsheva, Cinq a Sept, Tanya Taylor, R13

We think the nap dress, driven to peak success during the pandemic, isn't going anywhere. Instead we expect these easy-going styles of dresses to continue to be popular. From the FW21 presentations we gather that these will come in flouncy, baby-dollish, and floral varieties.

Neckline Accents

3.1 Phillip Lim Adam Lippes Cinq a Sept Arias 3.1 Phillip Lim Ulla Johnson From left to right: 3.1 Phillip Lim, Adam Lippes, Cinq a Sept, Arias, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Ulla Johnson

This fall, the neckline is in focus. Specifically, designer made neckties - either the thin ribboned style favored by Cinq a Sept or the oversized pussy bow blouse from Adam Lippes. Extra credit, for delivering both warmth and cool factor, goes to 3.1 Phillip Lim via the chunky dickie.

Slip-On Shoes

coach proenza schouler coach proenza schoulerFrom left to right: Coach, Proenza Schouler, Coach, Proenza Schouler

We've talked about how house shoes - a fashion trend borne out of the pandemic - that also outlives it. We saw evidence of that via Coach and Proenza Schouler who highlighted easy-on slides, sandals (paired with socks and tights, of course), and mules.

Interested in other Fashion Month coverage? Check out our coverage of the FW21 Scandi shows, and don't forget to check back here next week for the top trends from London Fashion Week!

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