If you are a fashion addict, or just someone who works in this business, probably you have already read this a thousand of times: 2021 is bound to be recognized as the year of palingenesis for the entire fashion industry.
The hiatus occurred during the whole 2020 (only partially filled by a series of minor events, or big events in a minor key) gave the sector the chance to reorganize itself from the foundation: something that never occurred since the big 1960s’ revolution. It goes without saying that the pandemic has been a crucial factor, or even the root cause of this process: it forced a more and more self-cherishing industry to raise its head and face the reality, trying to understand and assess the ongoing changes that have taken place in the last year and a half. With the purpose of reinterpreting them and putting this new awareness into its next creations.
Theoretically, being inspired by the current reality should be one of the main goals of fashion industry. As a matter of fact, for decades this attitude has been often the great absentee in most of the haute couture’s collections.
But not this time: this is a bullet that no one could have dodged. And it’s clearly visible when it comes with the new designer accessories’ collections. In particular, the newest ads upcoming women’s bags reflect the Zeitgeist more than many other manifestations of human creativity and craftsmanship.
Fashion products are the result of a series of visual and functional codes interacting with each other. If the way they match together is able to epitomize the most visible and recurrent signs of today’s world and society, those products can be defined as contemporary.
But what are the main features that make an accessory respectful of our current needs? How to recognize them?
In general terms, those features must show themselves as the result of both aesthetic and functionality: in other words, they must summon beauty and handiness (in a broad sense) at the same time.
Let’s take a look, for example, at the above-mentioned shoulder bags as well as the designer handbags for women, and let’s see what are the main traits that they should be able to show to be identified as a perfect 2021 specimen. They’re listed below.
1. Odd / Unusual colors
The previous spring/summer collections had pre-announced it: for what concerns the purses for women, classic hues are banned. Original and unconventional choices in terms of colors are not just a form of rebellion against a supposed tradition (assuming there is an actual tradition along the fashion industry’s history). It’s more about putting into practice that idea of palingenesis that we mentioned at the beginning.
A rebirth has to be visible, so it has to be represented through new forms and colors: or, to be more precise, new nuances. Indeed, the secret lies in working on slight shifts along the visible spectrum, finding those hues “in between” two primary (or at least common) colors that have never been exploited before.
The Italian fashion houses are the greatest exponents of this approach: Maison Valentino, Fendi, Prada and Gucci are the brands that, more than any other, are trying to lead the whole business in a more daring, provocative and experimental direction, while remaining faithful to the foundation of Italian Haute Couture.
And many of these experiments pass through a careful and scrupulous research on the chromatic scale. Just take a look at the newest collection of Valentino Garavani women’s shoulder bags. You can find hues such “rose cannelle”, “marine”, “mauve”, “jungle”, “flamingo pink”, “pink borealis”, “lime sorbet”, “teak brown” … And none of them are there by accident: they are, indeed, the result of a strict selection made after a substantial series of market surveys and consumer research.
2. Small Sizes
It may sound specious, but in 2021 size matters again, only it does in the opposite direction than before. It’s not time anymore for those ginormous purses for women that you can stuff with almost everything: the illusion of being able to carry the entire cosmetics aisle of a boutique inside a single bag doesn’t belong this era: it has vanished with the idea that being trendy means being ostentatious.
The analogy between beauty and size of our attire (including the accessories, of course) has disappeared along with 2019, carried away, within the following 20 months, by new ideals of charm and elegance. In 2021, the fashion industry looks at a minimal approach, trying to obliterate the tacky, cheesy proposals of the years (decades?) before. And minimalism never rhymes with big sizes.
Therefore, it’s no accident that mini bags are the most requested fashion item in the first half of 2021, even though the end of many of the pandemic-induced restrictions in most part of Europe and North America played a crucial role as well. At the end of the day, a girl/woman can go out carrying just the essentials in her purse, being rewarded not only in terms of elegance, but also for what concerns comfort and practicality.
3. Zippers, Pockets and Buckles
When it comes with small sizes, the organization of space inside a bag is crucial. That’s why in the new designer bags for women there is a large number of pockets (including a few concealed ones) and internal compartments, many of which can be isolated by a zipper.
The buckle, for its part, is the ultimate frontier, the essential external closure, and it has basically two functions: the first one, more practical, is to seclude the internal of the purse – and what’s inside of it – from strangers’ hands; the second one, more bound to the aesthetic hemisphere, is to represent the brand in the clearest and most evident way.
Taken together, all these elements have the task of representing an identity, a taste, a specific way to live fashion and style. In a word, they should mean uniqueness and distinctiveness, without resorting to solutions that may appear excessively exhibitionist. Minimalism over extravaganza: that’s what high fashion aims to in 2021.