Offbeat, Eccentric, & Quirky: Musings On Spring 2021

Dries Van Noten Spring 2021 Ready-to-Wear
Photo by Viviane Sassen

On Friday, Dries Van Noten opened a 16 room 85,000 square foot store in Los Angeles. It’s the former site of the Opening Ceremony. The designer told WWD’s Booth Moore that one reason he chose LA over NY for this ambitious venture is that “it’s more relaxed in LA and not as unforgiving as NY.” I hope Dries does not discover that Los Angelinos are far more relaxed than he believes. Even the wealthiest stars tend to wear rather generic designs.

Bergdorf Goodman
Photo: bergdorfgoodman.com

Here in New York, Bergdorf Goodman reopened for full service after providing appointment only shopping since June 24th. The 7th-floor restaurant BG, and their signature gold “pod” chairs, are now set up right in front of the store on Fifth Avenue. Directly across the street, Louis Vuitton is open, and a few blocks down, L’Avenue restaurant inside Saks Fifth Avenue is serving again. If not precisely bustling, the city is getting noticeably busier.

They are all good signs, but an uptick in COVID-19 cases is coming as the weather turns colder. These grim statistics will continue to dampen the spirits of many women, including some of the most diehard shoppers, from buying new clothes — as long as we remain in a state of such uncertainty.

Erdem Spring 2021 Ready-to-Wear
Photo: vogue.com

The spring 2021 collections, however, provided a welcome respite and are a testament to the designers’ creativity. What resonates now is a nontraditional approach to glamour; the idea of being dressed up and dressed down.

It’s a little offbeat, eccentric, and quirky (put together but not quite) thanks to the use of odd coupling mixes, incongruous pairings, and high contrasts that, on paper, might not seem to work. And that is precisely why they do.

Louis Vuitton Spring 2021 Ready-to-Wear
Photo: vogue.com

It’s the push and pull between the decorative and the austere, masculine and feminine, day and evening, fantasy and reality, streetwear and couture. There’s a nutty charm and an imperfection that I find relevant and modern; crazy mixed-up clothes for a crazy mixed-up world!

Thom Browne Spring 2021 Ready-to-Wear
Photo: vogue.com

Gender-bending, gender-less fashion has been one of the most prominent themes this season, and it is more than just a passing trend. Thom Browne let his imagination run wild with his entirely all-white collection of elongated and exaggerated proportions. Browne proposes menswear as women’s wear, women’s as men’s. He showed the collection on men and women: a mix of models and three Olympians – Race Imboden, Kendall Baisden, and Steele Johnson, to make his point.

Balenciaga Spring 2021 Ready-to-Wear
Photo: vogue.com

Balenciaga’s Demna Gvasalia says that he wanted to create “unisex, uni-size, and uni-everything.” The silhouette changes, but it looks good regardless of who wears it, the designer opines.

Jil Sander spring 2021 Ready-to-Wear
Photo
: Vogue.com

As they say, “God is in the details.” Merely adding a colorful or fanciful shoe, or something in brash gold or silver metallic can be a highly effective way to add a little pizzaz.

Schiaparelli Spring 2021 Ready-to-Wear
Photo: vogue.com

Maybe you want to follow the lead of Daniel Roseberry at Schiaparelli, and pull out all your bold gold jewelry and pile it on?

Prada Spring 2021 Ready-to-Wear
Photo: vogue.com

Sometimes, it just a matter of thinking differently about your clothes. At Rokh, it is wearing the traditional trench in a nontraditional way. At Prada, it is all about the clutch. You don’t need to buy these specific designs to emulate the feeling.

Camilla Nickerson
Photo: thegentlewoman.co.uk

I am reminded of the picture of super stylist Camilla Nickerson who is the epitome of cool. Camilla, who always thinks out of the box, wrapped her coat around the waist, giving it an entirely new look.

Givenchy Spring 2021 Ready-to-Wear
Photo: vogue.com

If you want to look different from everyone else this spring, stay away from maxi dresses, sheer wispy designs, comfortable, oversized clothes, and anything with a freewheeling boho vibe, all of which flooded the runways. Instead, put a little structure in your life, and wear a sharply tailored suit like this one from Givenchy.

The suggestion that suits will disappear because most of us are not going to offices, is ludicrous. If you wear a superbly tailored suit, you will instantly look and feel more pulled together.

FYI, Spring 2021 marks the debut of young American designer Matthew Williams at the design helm of the storied house. I’ve been a huge fan of Williams since he launched Alyx. While I thought some of the pieces at the end of the show looked a bit contrived, in general, it was a good beginning. The suits and outerwear were the stars

Chanel Spring 2021 Ready-to-Wear
Photo: vogue.com

If you want to look chic, forget about what Virginie Viard proposed for Chanel spring 2021. After Viard’s very decent Haute Couture show in July, she returns to her unflattering cuts, poor proportions, tacky colors, scary use of the Chanel logo, and worse.

Inside the Coco Chanel retrospective
Photo: forbes.com

Instead, look at images from “Gabrielle Chanel. Fashion Manifesto” The landmark retrospective opened at the Palais Galliera, the City of Paris Fashion Museum, on October 1st through March 15th. It is the first retrospective dedicated to the designer ever to be held in Paris and illustrates what enduring style is.

Marilyn Kirschner
Marilyn Kirschner

I am a long time fashion editor with 40+ years of experience. As senior market of Harper's Bazaar for 21 years I met and worked with every major fashion designer in the world and covered all of the collections in Paris, London, Milan and New York. I was responsible for overall content, finding and pulling in the best clothes out there, and for formulating ideas and stories.

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