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Like pretty much everything in 2020, Fashion Month looked a little different this year. While New York’s fashion editors, influencers and socialites would normally spend New York Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2021 traipsing around Spring Studios and posing outside for street style photographers, this year’s shows and presentations were largely digital, aside from a few designers who were, apparently, unconcerned with the global pandemic. Still, there was no shortage of incredible fashion, and after spending a week with my eyes glued to my laptop, taking in every single digital show in all its glory, I have plenty of thoughts on what I saw.
My favorite shows, you ask? The fashion video I most enjoyed was Ulla Johnson, as I liked that it showed the models making their way down an outdoor runway. Some designers opted for a similar approach, a video depicting what the IRL show would’ve looked like, while others opted for more avant-garde productions, which felt more short film than fashion show. Both approaches had their pros and cons—while the runways felt more traditionally ~fashion~, the films really helped viewers understand the designer’s inspiration—but I’m old-school. What can I say, I missed attending shows in the flesh!
After spending most of 2020 stuck at home, many of us are eager to flex our fashion muscles again, so it’s no surprise there’s a healthy mix of trends in the Spring/Summer 2021 lineup. A few designers went for monochrome neutrals, edgy leathers and minimalist silhouettes. Others went full boho, with prairie skirts, crochet and bishop sleeves. Some even leaned into the dramatics, with neon greens, sheer metallics and tons of feathers and glitz. It was one of those something-for-everyone seasons, and digital or not, there was a lot to love.
Weeks later, I’m still thinking about some of my favorite looks of the week, so I thought I’d treat you to some fashion eye candy and let you scroll through them below. In no particular order, read on for a look at my top 20 New York Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2021 favorites.
1. This Slice Of Sky Blue Perfection
This Bibhu Mohapatra gown is, to say the least, exquisite. The pleats! The poufs! The contrasting green eyeshadow! Tens across the board, and a strong start to my favorites list.
2. This Men In Black, But Make It Sexy Moment
Leather joggers, a knit bralette and a sheer cardi? This is an outfit recipe I’ll most definitely be copying from Private Policy.
3. This Avant-Garde Girl Scout Sash
OK, so it’s not actually mean’t to be a Girl Scout sash. Dauphinette featured these clear daisy discs in a ton of their looks, and I love the playful touch on an otherwise neutral ensemble.
4. This Powerpuff Girls Meets Athleisure Realness
On my days off, I’d like to strut the city in either of these two Tom Ford looks. A cozy sweater paired with satin pants, complete with a logo’d waistband reminiscent of your crush’s boxers? Fun.
5. Some Cold-Shoulder Camel Workwear
ADEAM basically created the neutral workwear wardrobe of my dreams, and every fit had a few special deals, like the bowtie shoulder on the Sunset Sweater above.
6. This Rainbow Fish Blazer
I love an homage to Rainbow Fish! Maybe that’s not where Claudia Li was intending to go with this look, but either way, I love the contrast of the blingy blazer with an understated tee and strappy heels.
7. This Fuzzy Floral Pullover
I know, I know. Maybe this Sandy Liang look doesn’t deserve a top slot, but come on! After a stressful fashion week, this cozy outerwear definitely struck me as the most appealing look of the week.
8. This Not-Your-Grandma’s Crochet
This was definitely my favorite Anna Sui collection in recent memory, and this crochet mumu complete with matching choker and market tote gave me everything I needed to get excited for spring fashion.
9. This Street Style Palette Cleanser
Full disclosure: I have definitely seen at least a few people wear almost this exact same look on the streets of New York City. Coach definitely channeled some serious street style energy with this oversized, scribbled-on button-down paired with an itty-bitty bag and heels.
10. Some Fuchsia Boa Piping, Natch
I didn’t see this coming from Badgley Mischka, but believe me, I’ve got no complaints! The Jaipur Crepe & Feather Dress isn’t as ornate as some of their other gowns, but it certainly made the biggest statement in my eyes.
11. This Monochrome Perfection
Everything about this little white number from Vince thrills me, from the textured skirt to the snatched waist belt. If I am ever on a panel about anything, ever, this will be my look.
12. Some Purple Ruffle Realness
I don’t know why, but this particular shade of purple really sent me. It’s just so vivid and inviting, without feeling oversaturated or cheesy. Bonus points for the maximalist jewelry and chunky shoe.
13. This Ladylike Punch Of Orange
The CHOCHENG show started with black-and-white Parisian vibes, then exploded into color with the help of this little orange number. Orange you glad to see that sweet sleeve detail?
14. Finally, A Mask
There were a LOT of neutrals in this year’s shows, so anything with color caught my eye, including this look by Zero + Mario Cornejo. Bonus points for the face mask, because really, that’s the biggest accessory trend we’ll be seeing in 2021.
15.This Electric Lime Mini
I normally prefer a more structured silhouette, but I couldn’t stop thinking about this asymmetrical mini from Maisie Wilen, especially when I learned they call the shade “Kermit.” Could a more perfect green exist?
16. This Lace Tummy Peek-A-Boo
Oooh, something about this silky blue Vivienne Hu midi and overcoat just made me swoon. Was it the massive lace cutout in the center? Probably.
17. Some Head-To-Toe Print, Honey
Like I said, colors and patterns felt few and far between this season, so this Alice + Olivia look definitely breathed some life into my fashion week lungs. Living for the scarf-as-mask detail.
18. This Moody Teal Midi
One more Ulla Johnson look, because this collection really did it for me. For this textured masterpiece, it was all about the details, not to mention the perfect moody shade of teal.
19.Another Lime Dress, This Time In Tulle
Maisie Wilen wasn’t the only designer to go green! This Cinq à Sept dress conjured one of my first genuine “wow” reactions of the week. I just love it. ‘Nuff said.
20. This Whisper Of Silver Organza
Let me end on a strong high note, by way of this stunning LaQuan Smith Metallic Organza Slip Dress. “Classy, bougie, ratchet” vibes courtesy of the ever-so-slightly sheer material.