From sharp shoulders to clean silhouettes, spring/summer 2021 is all about power dressing with a difference, and Saint Laurent is leading the way…
It was back in 1966 when Yves Saint Laurent introduced ‘Le Smoking’ to the world, kick-starting a movement where women no longer had to hide behind floaty dresses or feminine silhouettes, and instead became empowered with strong-shouldered tailoring and waist-cinching separates. Fast-forward to 2021 and power dressing is alive and well, although it doesn’t look quite the same. More comfortable and soft than seasons past, hard edges have been rounded off for SS21, resulting in collections that are relaxed and playful yet still show you mean business.
Saint Laurent, of course, is still leading the pack – Anthony Vaccarello cuts a clean line like no other, after all – unveiling his collection via a short film shot by Nathalie Canguilhem in the middle of a desert. We saw models snaking across the sand dunes in bicycle shorts paired with a sharply tailored jacket or slinky blouse, relaxed bottoms in the form of lace and silk micro shorts dressed with a bar jacket or a dressy, elegant top, plus loose-fitting black pantsuits that blur the lines between home, work and evening dress codes. Elsewhere, waistcoats were worn solo up top, paired with late-’90s-style trousers, while sharp asymmetrical tops came embellished with a plume of black feathers that set a more intimate mood for after hours.
Not the only designer relaxing its boardroom-to-bar wardrobe for the new season, we also saw sharp leather suits with powerful shoulders over at Altuzarra, while at Jacquemus, shirts were cropped to the midriff making them the perfect pairing for high-waisted pants or ankle-length skirts. Elsewhere, Olivier Rousteing at Balmain sent models out in extreme pagoda-shouldered suits in powerful fluoro pinks and greens, which most certainly were not made with wallflowers in mind. Balmain aside, as is traditional with an androgynous wardrobe, colour schemes continue to err on the side of monochrome, with exceptions found at the likes of Valentino, where we also saw mannish button-up shirting given a feminine spin in hyper-bright hues.
A few pops of pattern also popped up here and there, adding a more youthful feel to serious separates, yet opting for a black or white palette makes it all the better to show off a selection of sculptural jewellery that makes the perfect finishing touch to any outfit. Simply pull everything together with a pair of Saint Laurent square-toed, ’90s-feeling slingbacks and a black leather hobo bag and you’ll have this SS21 trend nailed in no time.
Read Next: SS21: The Magic of Monochrome
- Words by Naomi Chadderton