Simplified elegance

A guide to this season’s bright new trends
Lemon 04
Photos by Greg Hollar

This summer, more than ever, we’re yearning for clothes that make us feel happy, comfortable, and secure. These dresses go above and beyond, from the jewel-toned robes of Lisa Marie Fernandez to a white-hot linen slip by Gabriela Hearst. It’s time to celebrate freedom of movement and vitality of color, wherever we may spend our summer this year.

Upcoming spring and summer trends predict frivolous abundance taken to voluminous new heights. On the runway we saw excess fabric maneuvered into bubble-like silhouettes, forming protective layers around the wearer as a timely social-distancing barrier. Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons took the lead in perfecting the amorphous shape, with sheaths of black fabric draped across figures in cape-like cocoons. Simone Rocha and Angel Chen followed suit in similar dark palettes, the latter sprucing up the silhouette with a spattering of tie-dye. Ashley Williams took a romantic, tiered spin on the trend, with multiple layers of red that were cinched with neat, pink bows. Molly Goddard wrapped tulle around a more structured, baby doll silhouette.

Simplified elegance is fast emerging as this season’s biggest theme, and Chloe’s Natacha Ramsay-Levi is the latest to join the movement. “This is not a destination show,” she said of her Paris runway. “There’s a reality to it.” As such, Chloe’s Spring/Summer 2021 collection returned to brand basics with a less-is-more embrace of French femininity grounded in believable daywear.

This season, Chloe’s bohemian aesthetic took the backseat for a measured balance of tailoring and “flou”—the signature term for Chloe’s louche, flowing cuts. Menswear silhouettes were given a feminine aura, appearing as relaxed suiting and polished separates in soft and muted colors. Layering techniques mixed textures and volume for contrast, such as silk boxers under shorts and puffy long sleeves pulled through tapered blazer cuffs. And when floral dresses did appear, they featured delicate micro-prints of soft-spoken appeal, sometimes worn over trousers to downplay the sweetness.

I certainly want to go outside in those frivolous woven Bottega Veneta dresses, swinging those delectable chain-strung micro pouches from the Chanel catwalk and trotting down the street in those fabulous Miu Miu beaded mules. The time will come when you can wear a dramatic gown with cape-detailing and not feel like an extra in a Zoom-based, am-dram production. But for now, there are jolly stripes, off-the-shoulder tops, and voluminous skirts to keep you amused. Time to play dress up with the Spring and Summer 2021 trends. You’ve got the time.

PHOTOS: Greg Hollar

WORDS & STYLING: Tanvi Asher


MUA: Lamany Chanthavong

HAIR: Cassandra Bartosch

MODEL: Caroline Zimmerman

A big thank you to Inn on Broadway (26 Broadway St., Rochester) for allowing us to use their honeymoon suite for this shoot.  

Categories: Current Issue – Dialed In, Explore, Tanvi Asher