Villa-Vogue: New York Fashion Week Spring 2021


Courtesy of Runway360

Modeled above is one of designer Bibhu Mohapatra’s pieces.

Kaelin Trombly, Staff Writer

Rain or shine, global pandemic or not, New York Fashion Week perseveres. What was once known as a glamorous weeklong marathon of events, an encapsulation of fashion shows all over the five boroughs of New York City with after parties and enough street style to clothe all of America, is now nothing of the sort. This year, amid the pandemic, many headline brands opted out of New York Fashion Week’s Spring 2021 show, while other designers had to get extra creative to fit COVID-19 guidelines. From tropical prints to carpet-ready gowns, most designers served their sartorial imaginations on a virtual platter.

Digital activations, such as lookbooks and videos, were the substitute for jam-packed runway shows this season. While every designer had the liberty to present their clothing the way they wanted, most stuck to the Runway360 platform. CFDA Runway360 served as a centralized hub of virtual showrooms for spectators and buyers. While it’s certainly not the same, it is certain that Runway360 will be here to stay even without COVID-19.

Kate and Laura Mulleavy, the sister duo who founded Rodarte in 2005, presented silk sweatshirts, track pants, midi skirts and floral lounge sets in a pre-photographed lookbook. Other designers, such as Amma Sui, Peter Do, Sandy Liang and Khaite, stuck with the lookbook method as well. While Sui photographed a collection of pouf sleeved dresses, Do focused on leather boots and Liang presented a collection of cutout tanks and skirts. The world renowned designer Tom Ford used a lookbook to promote his theme of escape, which acted as an ode to travel through tropical prints and loungewear.

Lookbooks weren’t the only resolution for COVID-19 restrictions. The Manhattan native designer Ulla Johnson created a series of videos to spotlight her collection. The videos were pre-recorded fashion shows that took place at Roosevelt Island, and it was so well done that viewers felt that they were at the runway in real life. Johnson’s collection featured abstract, neutral toned, patterned clothing that can still be viewed and purchased on her website.

One main focus during NYFW’s Spring 2021 show was addressing political controversies. Collina Strada used her voice to address the pressing issue of climate change by coming up with a bikini set line made entirely out of deadstock. The American fashion label Chromat went a different route by promoting support for the LGBTQ community through a collaboration with Reebok.

Two designers managed to hold in-person runway shows while still following COVID-19 guidelines of course. Jason Wu held his show centered on escapism atop Spring Studios. His 36 attendees had their temperatures taken and sat six feet apart as they admired his caftan-inspired dresses and loose silhouetted pants. The grande finale goes to designer Christian Siriano, who brilliantly hosted his show at his own home in Connecticut. His collection was portrayed throughout his garden, as every model was adorned with a face mask.

Even though New York Fashion Week was certainly not the same, it is hopeful to see society adjusting to the challenges we are currently facing. In a world riddled with uncertainty, fashion perseveres.