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FW21 Milan Womenswear Trends

Credits: CHB, Budapest Select, Fendi, Emilio Pucci

Undressing And Getting Dressed

The Milan FW21 fashion week has shown that homewear will continue to influence design surpassing the end of lockdowns. Comfort has become instinctual and turned into a core value for consumers now. However, the trend Out of Bed is presenting a more elegant take on comfort. The concept goes beyond sweaters and sweatpants, which have provided ease and consolation during the residual times of the pandemic. 

Now, elevated loungewear styles are continuing to offer a sense of security, while depicting the current urge to go-out again. The softness and laid-back femininity of this trend also answers to paradox concerns of wanting to dress-up without showing-off. A nod to boudoir inspired elements is contrasting resurfacing interests in dressing-up and going out with a desire to undress, linked to a strongly seductive sensation. The craze for the intimate has been heightened through the lack of touch and social-life during the pandemic, which is now demanding to be fulfilled again. As a result, sleepwear and lingerie inspired pieces, such as sets, pyjamas, fluid  dresses, robe-coats and quilted overthrows have conquered the runways. For this trend, the fabrics of choice were slinky silks and satins, luminous velvets, luxurious interior-themed brocades or other quilted or plushy textiles and super-soft knit qualities. The indulgence of the materials and the versatile character of this story allows smooth transitions from sophisticated day to alluring night-time looks. Milan seems ready to jump out of bed back into nightlife as soon as the doors reopen.

Community As The Healer

A trend-narrative surrounding eclectic vagabonds and new cultural nomads emerged on Milan’s FW21 runways. This trend draws inspiration from deeply connected and purposeful consumer sentiments regarding heritage and the wish of moving towards a unified melting-pot culture. This macro-sentiment manifests an important shift within society, which pushes inclusivity, acceptance and social sustainability to the top of the agenda. Alongside, the prospect of a digital-nomad life, new mindful concepts for traveling and the continuously growing immersion into nature accelerate this taste for diverse cultures and its accompanying revival of folkloric styles.

With new nomadic lifestyles in mind, Milanese Designers have been embracing ancient tradition and the artisan and craft linked to it. Their collections captured a feeling of bohemian rediscovery and contemporary wilderness. This Eclectic Culture trend translated into crafty and jacquard knit pieces, blanket-style jackets, comfortable dresses and sets. A wide-array of accessories includes large belts, woven bags, headwear etc. On the runways, heritage trims and traditional hardware were key details to bring the eclectic travel story to life. A predominance of fringes, embroideries and jewelry in the new folk spirit swept over the Milan shows. Overall, the visual interplay of nature, community, craft and culture in the designs underlines the indubitable connection of the four. This slightly spiritual mix has shown to have healing properties during the pandemic and will continue to be an an anchor moving forward. The theme is about the journey and the escape to new destinations – within ourselves and on the planet.

Credits: Alanui, Missoni, Etro, Antonio Marras

Credits: Andrea Pompilio, CHB, Ports 1961, Anteprima

Back To The Headquarters

In Milan, designers are looking towards designing for a life post-pandemic. Infused by a strong drive to take back the world, people are ready to establish a new normal life again. Gradually restoring normality, the idea of returning back to the office and to commuting on the daily moves back into perspective. Subsequently, Easy Office has surfaced on the FW21 runways. Within this narrative, designers have proposed garments that help to ease the transition from comfort-driven home-office styles back into smart and powerful wardrobes, needed to conquer meeting-rooms. Their answer to make this shift as smooth as possible is a variety of elevated basics.

The quest of redefining the workday wardrobe triggered an increase in rather minimal hybrid pieces that fuse the universes of smart business-attire with the non-negotiable comfort of casual wear. Incorporating a distinctly trans-seasonal character and functionality-driven properties, key products on the runways were smartened-up sets, both casual and crisp tailoring, suit combinations with skirts, soft volume tops and multipurpose (knit-)-dresses. Overall, aesthetic nods towards empowered-femininity and a futuristic uniformity unify those new working styles. Soft utility details are bringing a contemporary edge to the designs, while  unexpected drapes or cut-outs add a more elegant touch . The color-harmonies enhance the mild and modern look by channeling a muted palette, ranging from clean and monochromatic black to white and incorporating washed-pastels to add a more luminous and optimistic twist. Finally, to achieve change you need to feel empowered and those sleek, yet soft designs enable you to do so.

A Gloomy Allure

One of the overwhelming trends of the Milan FW21 shows, was the large number of black looks (more than 900). This season, black embraces female empowerment, which has accompanied the pandemic. With female leaders piloting the crisis, a vigorous female gaze is now celebrating self-confidence, sensuality and independence. Paired with a dark romantic twist, the overall mood is resonating a glooming and mysterious energy. The mystified undertone also unleashes anxious emotions related to feelings of uncertainty towards the future. Challenging those emotions and the perception of darkness, the Dark Romance narrative builds strongly on bold romantic silhouettes, hyper-feminine seductive shapes and a touch of masculine-driven pieces. 

New dark heroes and their mystic shadows seemed to be shifting over the runways with alluring powers. The sexiness, incorporated in the color black combined with the play of powers and the mystery of the unknown allude to consumers’ most intimate desires and induces a provocative hue. This zeitgeist translates into a large number of statement full-volume pieces. In Milan, puffy sleeves, volants and drapes in taffeta or tulle express the rebellious nature of  women confidently taking over the world, while appreciating all body shapes and sizes. With similar intentions, tight and body-confident fits, like fluid second-skin garments, dominated the runways as well. Especially sheer or lace dresses were indispensable. Masculine leather jackets and tailoring pieces balanced out the femininity and added to the powerful feel of those darker collections. Milan is getting its women ready for an unknown post-pandemic world.

Credits:  Annakiki, Alberta Ferretti, Valentino, Sportmax

Credits: Moschino, Act No.1, Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini, Marni

Poets And Performers

It is time to shine again. FW 21 is a season that reflects consumers’ boosting energies of positivity and optimism towards the future and the desire to step into a post-pandemic dreamland. In Milan, the emerging trend Theatre Stages radiating a flamboyant and joyful mood. Today, the urge for self-expression, socializing and experiencing culture and creativity is stronger than ever before. With cinemas, museums, theaters, clubs, concert halls etc. being closed for more than a year now, cultural and creative movements are increasingly resurfacing as a source of inspiration. Diverse references to the literature and art world, as well as an eccentric night-life, are now creating an array of fashion-forward arty rebels and theatrical personas.

The need to socialize and self-express, combined with creative freedom are reflected in the omnipresence of maximalist looks on the shows. The key pieces include dresses with unexpected volumes in colorful harmonies that are trimmed with feathers or jewels. A focus on the top still seems relevant. Statement shoulders and collars continue to allow this new intellectual and eccentric counter-culture to grab on-screen attention until their natural habitats reopen. The historic and culture-related references include new trend-pieces, like ballet-inspired body-suits, gala-ready ceremony pieces and a wide array of nostalgic details (corset elements or mutton sleeves). Prints and colors are adding to the statement feel of this trend. They include romantic and abstract art-related graphics in vibrant color combinations and result in grand-gesture effects. Consumers’ needs to unleash their pulsating creative potentials is a given with those new styles.

Let’s Get Loud

For FW 21 the prospect of getting dressed-up and celebrating again is boosting energies and channeling feelings of excitement and joy. This overarching exuberant positivity was a celebrated visually and viscerally during Milan Fashion Week with Striking Brights that were setting highlights on the runways. These refreshing technicolors, almost shockingly vivid, are nodding towards decades that feel infectiously cheerful. Hinting towards the 70s and 80s, the new bolds are keeping a distinct digital edge and setting the tone for change. Especially in large-surface outerwear products and color block combinations, these colors were catching the eye and showing that Milanese woman have no fear to appear. Designers considered the essence of color-therapy and showed how daring to wear flashy combinations brings positivity to life and to the the neighborhood. 

While bold colors not only heighten the release of endorphins, as is demanded by current overly-positive macro-sentiments, these FW color highlights also carry us into the future. Those retro-futuristic artificial colors feel digitally-enhanced and establish a sense of a new emerging cyber-culture living in virtual realities. They answer to the needs of an evermore digital life, by capturing the styles of avatar skins and the need to get dressed for the screen. Materials of choice are technical fabrics with round handles, textured and soft knits and slightly “reflective” surfaces, all intensifying the mood-enhancing powers of the super-brights. Like a breath of fresh air, this color-trend promises to resonate well with a broad range of consumers: nostalgics to digitals, eccentrics to future-thinkers…

Credits: MSGM, Del Core, Salvatore Ferragamo, Prada

Credits: Dolce & Gabbana, Shuting Qiu, Marni, Pierre-Louis Mascia

Nothing To Waste

Rebellion has always been a virtue of fashion and the industry’s ability to influence the masses has been one of its biggest assets. During Milan FW21 Fashion Week, the powers of the runways have been challenged to deliver messages about eco-responsibility and sustainability. Consumers are demanding for something more concrete now and designers seemed to finally translate goodwill into action, reaching beyond mere aesthetic purposes. The trend direction Radical Recycle is suggesting that circular fashion has finally reached a normative standpoint within the industry.

Challenging aesthetics and good-taste is coming alongside the consumer-driven value shifts, which change the way in which we perceive quality and luxury fashion. The runway shows were always associated with heritage, savoir-faire and craftsmanship, but that has been changed now. Worn-out and Mix&Match-looks are increasingly high on demand. It seems like the enlightened younger generation and more educated designer-mindsets have managed to twist the visual standards of the industry. The executions are feeling rebellious, almost provocative and push all boundaries of creativity. While thoroughly designed patchwork garments and clashing different material is not only creating visually interesting looks, it also allows designers to re-purpose their dead-stock materials and be truthful to their design inspirations. Colors for this trend are citing a bold and youthful palette, while prints and materials are featuring the entire archives. Equally important Milan has shown that adding accessories, embroidery and trims is highly effective in pushing the limits of the new hot-topic pieces even further. 

Time for change!

LIVETREND has tracked the highlight trend-narratives of the FW 21 Milan Shows, which capture the two essential influences on fashion during this transitional period: a continued and uncompromising need for comfort and the desire to dress-up again. The collections have been fueled by an optimisti and forward-looking creativity and the earnest intention to better the world. New and powerful consumer drivers have surfaced, which include the needs for sensuality, tenderness, touch, culture, social life, positivity and concreteness. All of those heightened necessities have been translated into a variety of trend directions, with some combining several of those elements within their core, which try to make sense of the upcoming preset. They are all about the idea of projecting what a new reality will be.