It's time for another fashion review for the spring/summer 2021 season. And this time around, the typically womenswear schedule is hosting a smattering of menswear collections. We won't be able to experience all the fashion action in real life, but that's not stopping us from analysing each collection and breaking down our favourite looks and accessories.
For the third day of a more physical Milan Fashion Week, BOSS made an excellent case for a trend that we'll be looking forward to next season. Tod's on the other hand, played up its more casual side under Walter Chiapponi. And Versace took to the oceans and reworked an iconic print for a marine-themed collection.
Hugo Boss' chief brand officer, Ingo Wilts, revealed a more casual spring/summer 2021 offering for BOSS; in fact, it's most casual that we've seen by the more tailored and grown-up offshoot. The collection was shown in Milan's Palazzo del Senato—the site of the first ever BOSS womenswear runway show two decades ago—to a rather select audience, with seating noticeably more distant than the typically cramped arrangements (we hope this could perhaps be the new standard for all shows beyond COVID-19).
Taking on a mostly monochromatic approach, the spring/summer 2021 collection was a minimal affair energised by the inclusion of London-based artist William Farr's mixed-medium floral treatments, as well as vivid eyelet details. The visual extent of the entire collection was best captured during the finale's paired-up walk across the plaza, where the different shades of blues, whites, greens and pinks came together harmoniously.
Look and feel: BOSS was on to something. Post-pandemic—or at least after a year of social seclusion and mounting uncertainty—not much else would be more comforting than clothes that are familiar, easy to wear, but also imbued with a sense of joyous freedom. Spring/summer 2021 is quickly looking to be heading into a world of 'Monochromatica' and BOSS' effective proposal of head-to-toe tonal dressing was a strong contender for the journey ahead. The clothes were unrestrictive and polished—younger in attitude but with a knowing confidence.
Favourite looks: Look 52 was the only all-pink menswear number and was in all manner of ways, striking. Don't let the boldness of the look—a satiny bomber worn over a medium-gauge knit jumper, and matched with crisp drawstring trousers—scare you. The brave could take it on as styled but for most of us, it's an easy look to break up and separate as statement pieces. We also can never resist the allure of an oversized shirt tucked into high-waisted trousers as in look 62, what more when said shirt comes in a non-traditional summery print. And lastly, look 7's rule-breaking pairing of a shawl-collared double-breasted with what looked to be swimshorts; because why not?
Favourite accessories: There's something about small crossbody bags that still tickle our fancy. And BOSS' iterations (as seen on looks 50 and 61) came equipped with sturdy hardware that added a slight edge to them. That same treatment was applied to the collection's array of sandals that we could see ourselves substituting our sneakers for on some balmy days.
It was a rather playful approach for Tod's spring/summer 2021 digital presentation. In a short video that mimics our reality of Zoom calls and meetings, the 'show' is looked on by a host of Tod's celebrity friends—including Cole Sprouse, Olivia Palermo and Liu Haoran—as the shared screen gets transferred from one room to another, each with a group of models wearing the house's spring/summer 2021 collection. It's a noticeably more colourful palette as compared to the grounded offerings of seasons past. And as if to replicate the finale bow of a physical runway show, the video ends with creative director Walter Chiapponi lounging at the foot of a flight of stairs as Okay Kaya's 'Mother Nature's Bitch' plays on.
Look and feel: In his third collection for Tod's, it seemed as though Chiapponi has a solidified direction to where he's intending to take the fashion house aesthetically. We've seen a purposeful casualisation of the ready-to-wear since his debut in autumn/winter 2020, and that is set to continue for spring/summer 2021 as well. The staid suiting that were a sore point in most Tod's collections pre-Chiapponi (Tod's is not a tailoring house by any means, and its tailoring never really took off) were replaced with more relaxed pieces that reflected a more current state of fashion. Soft suedes were shaped into vibrant, lightweight outerwear, while the collection's more tailored moments made use of fresh doses of pastel brights.
Favourite looks: The monochromatic (it's clearly a trend, folks) look 14 was done in all grey but hardly boring, owed to the masterful textural combination of linen, knit and leather. Look 27's colour-blocked fit was especially appealing thanks to that rich green suede parka, fitted with an adjustable drawstring waist. And for those who are more sartorially inclined to tailoring, the salmon suit in look 9 would make for a great lightweight suiting option for the season.
Favourite accessories: Here's where it got a bit more interesting seeing how Tod's is known for its footwear. We're staying clear of the sneakers and going instead for the collection's updated icons. Fringes were central to the collection's footwear and came in the form of tasselled loafers (look 14) as well as fringed vamp variations (look 32). But our top picks go to the fringed chukkas as seen in look 22 in suede and look 36's leather version—not the usual clean-cut silhouettes that Tod's is known for but we're all in for the slightly offbeat craftsmanship.
Donatella Versace recreated an underwater scene for Versace's spring/summer 2021 collection. The narrative revolved around the Medusa's (the fashion house's longtime insignia) banishment to the fictional underwater utopia dubbed 'Versacepolis', where she reigned over a population of confident men and women. We assume that they've been part of the ocean for so long that they've adapted to and embraced the vast expanse of nature that surrounded them. What came forth from the depths of the ocean floor were a series of looks that at times, Donatella took to the theme quite literally. There were wetsuit tops, glittery embellishments that resembled starfishes, and beach-going, tourist-looking models in bucket hats and swimming trunks. But of course, they were sexed up with midriff-baring and figure-hugging tropes—undeniably Versace.
Look and feel: As speculated, the spring/summer 2021 collection made full use of Versace's iconic Trésor de la Mer motif. They were apparent in a majority of the looks and in as many iterations as possible—mashed in between black-and-white stripes, printed all over on linen shirt-and-berms coordinates, on frame-worthy silk shirts, and more. Donatella envisioned the collection as a sort of escape from reality, and with that in mind, the collection was full on colour and prints. And when they were not (the collection started off with a swathe of black looks), a print or colour interrupted the monotony. It was Versace through and through; just decorated with marine life.
Favourite looks: While the signature silk printed shirts were on display, it was look 34's printed coordinates that caught our eyes. The print was magnified to accommodate the plissé fabric it was set on, so that the pleating wouldn't disrupt the overall look of the print. It's a testament to the house's craftsmanship, especially when plissé isn't a technique that's used extensively at Versace; we did wish we were able to see more of the technique utilised throughout the menswear collection. We're also leaning towards the lavender suiting in look 63 that was matched with an orange tank and a blue silk shirt (also lined in lavender). It's a beautifully precise combination of colours that's pleasing even with the chaos of the printed shirt.
Favourite accessories: They might be rather expected, given the theme, but Versace does prints exceptionally well. And its series of bucket hats for spring/summer 2021 are ones to look forward too. It helps that they're adorned with such an iconic print too. For a throwback to the noughties, Versace's more streamlined iteration of the puka shell necklace (they're done in black and white in looks 2, 6 and 7) may be an accessory that you'd want to get on—a perfect layering piece with thinner chain necklaces.