Minimalists, look away now: autumn/winter’s trends are big, bright and beautiful

Written by Naomi May

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No idea what to wear for the season ahead? Fear not, for we’ve rounded up the most playful and joy-inducing trends that promise to elevate your winter wardrobes from drab to fab.

As we prepare to bid adieu to summer and turn our heads to the chillier months that await us, it pays to get ahead of the curve and consider your winter wardrobe. After all, it won’t be long before we’re back bracing the cold, snuggled in our favourite swaddling knits and duvet coats.

But far from being unappealing, given the fugue style has been trapped in for the past year, it only takes one look at the autumn/winter 2021 collections to see that this winter, brands are placing their bets on big, bright and beautiful clothes. The sort that will make passersby stop and stare. Colours are saturated; logos are bigger and bolder than ever; and florals for autumn are making a proud and punchy entrance into the arena of desire.

While the weather might take a turn for the worse, our fashion should do the total opposite. This winter, it’s about embracing the optimism of fashion being back again; dopamine dressing, if you will. It’s about ripping up the sartorial rule book and dressing yourself with pieces that spark pure and unadulterated joy for you, and you only. 

It seemed particularly poignant that, as brands threw their weight behind a return to full-throttle fashion, in-person shows also made a return at the autumn/winter collections after a pandemic-induced hiatus. Virgil Abloh’s Off-White returned with a bang after 14 months with a splashy colour-filled collection, while Riccardo Tisci similarly unveiled his more-is-more metallic-infused in-person offering at Burberry, which was a love letter to strong women – those “warriors” who aren’t afraid to “challenge expectations”. 

Stella McCartney, who unveiled her autumn/winter 2021 collection during a presentation at the Tate Modern, drew inspiration for it from the phrase D is for Desire from the McCartney A to Z Manifesto. “[The] pieces reflect a collective yearning to dress up and go out – pairing heritage, glamour and sport to joyfully elevate the norm with extravagance and opulence,” she said of the collection in her show notes. 

We couldn’t have put it better ourselves. Nature is healing, fashion is back, these are the autumn/winter 2021 trends to embrace in the upcoming months.

It knits take the plunge  

Chloé autumn/winter 2021

Caffeinated cosiness has never looked better, courtesy of Chloé’s riff on the classic knitted dress, which Gabriella Hearst heavily endorsed as part of her first collection for the storied French fashion house. It was indeed intentional that for her debut, the notoriously eco-conscious designer opted to show exclusively dresses, proof that ankle-grazing knitted dresses are destined for big things. The XXL knitted maxi memo was also received at Acne Studios and The Row, where they graced the catwalk in oversized silhouettes, paired with statement shoes.

What’s not to love about a floor-sweeping knitted frock? It enables you to cling onto the comfort to which you’ve become accustomed over the past year, while also embracing an ever-so-dainty touch of glamour. Dress yours up, dress yours down, whatever you do, just keep it long.

Go crazy for colour

Prada autumn/winter 2021

Having been stationed in monochrome loungewear for all too long, the fashion mood is now decidedly bolder, brighter and more unapologetically saturated than ever before. Clashing colours and super-bright hues were embraced at Bottega Veneta, Versace, Prada, Stella McCartney and a clutch of others, proving that this winter, it won’t do to shy away from shining bright. As part of its autumn/winter 2021 trend round-up, Net-a-Porter noted that customers were embracing sartorial optimism and opulence as early as February, when the e-tailer saw sales of its bright dresses spike.

If you’re feeling big and bold, go for head-to-toe in larger-than-life bursts of colour; if you typically lean more towards a more minimal palette, then weave the bright licks of primary shades in via accessories and outerwear.

Florals for autumn? Absolutely groundbreaking 

Acne Studios autumn/winter 2021

If your only outerwear option lies somewhere in the arena of either black, beige or brown, it’s time to look to nature to infuse your coat game. Indeed, floral prints adorned all manner of coats and jackets at Acne Studios, Erdem and Dr. Jill Biden favourite Markarian, proving that flat and frumpy outerwear is out, and fun and fabulous florals are very much in. 

If the catwalks are anything to go by, the punchier the floral the better, although there’s also a case to be made for a more muted floral’s versatility. Whether you go big and bold or muted and minimal, it’s all about embracing that flower power. 

Loco for a logo 

Gucci autumn/winter 2021

While once upon a time in the fashion sphere, logos were the preserve of the gauche, they had their status notably rehabilitated at the autumn/winter shows as brands embraced logoed wares in their droves. 

From Gucci’s ubiquitous GG-adorned skirts and jackets to Balmain’s sculpturally-shaped dresses and bags, fashion confirmed that it had gone loco for its logos, meaning you ought to too for autumn/winter. Dripping in nostalgia, this is heirloom fashion done right. 

Over the top    

Baum und Pferdgarten autumn/winter 2021

According to the autumn/winter shows, the puffer jacket is set to come into its own, thanks to endorsements from Baum und Pferdgarten, Isabel Marant, Jason Wu and Holzweiler. But forget the snuggly duvet coats we were cocooned in during last year’s locked down winter, for this season, puffers are loud and proud as well as short and sweet. Net-a-Porter’s betting big things on statement puffers too, as the e-tailer prepares to launch 180 of the comfy coats for autumn/winter from all manner of brands, including JW Anderson and New York export Khaite.

The beauty of a puffer coat lies in its timeless and enduring appeal: here’s a statement coat that will not only stand the test of time, but look good while doing it, too. 

Images: courtesy of brands.

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