FRONT ROW FOR ALL

Amber Valetta Returns to the Runway at Off-White’s “Laboratory of Fun”

Plus the best looks from Paris Fashion Week for fall 2021.

by W Staff
Updated: 
Originally Published: 

An unprecedented second digital fashion week came to a close last winter—but designers are continuing to show well past the traditional schedule. While Paris Fashion Week mainstays like Louis Vuitton, Rick Owens, and Marine Serre presented virtually, and Gabriela Hearst made her highly anticipated debut at Chloé as creative director, others were just waiting for the right moment to debut their fall collections. Below, take a look at the W editors’ favorite looks from the season.

Off-White
Courtesy Off-White

The Look: Skirt suits, velour dresses, slim coats, evening gowns and accessories with sharp architectural details.

The Inspiration: Virgil Abloh was focused on growing up but not old and titled the presentation the “Laboratory of Fun.” The ready-to-wear show unofficially kicked off the start of Paris couture week with a performance by MIA and a cast of models that included Bella Hadid, Honey Dijon, and Amber Valletta.

Off-White
Courtesy Off-White
Off-White
Courtesy Off-White
Jacquemus

The Look: Minimalist, monochromatic looks. Barely-there tops and silky blouses with smart pants and knee-length skirts.

The Inspiration: Simplicity, togetherness, joy, overcoming the odds of an unprecedented year.

Jacquemus
Jacquemus
Jacquemus
Alexander McQueen
Paolo Reversi/Courtesy Alexander McQueen

THE LOOK: Voluminous ball gowns with anemone floral prints, remixed hybrid pieces of denim and leather. All worn with requisite combat boots and chunky sneakers for stomping around the garden.

THE INSPIRATION: “We looked at water, for its healing properties, and at anemones. Anemones are the most ephemeral flowers, here made in permanent cloth. The women wearing the anemone dresses almost become like flowers, like their embodiment, their character—but amplified, grounded, radiant and strong.” — Sarah Burton, Creative Director

Alexander McQueen
Paolo Reversi/Courtesy Alexander McQueen
Alexander McQueen
Paolo Reversi/Courtesy Alexander McQueen
Saint Laurent
Courtesy Saint Laurent

THE LOOK: Pants-optional party ensembles for the end of the world: metallic bodysuits, tiny skirts, leather shorts, ladylike jackets, and piles of jewelry—the more the better.

THE INSPIRATION: Anthony Vaccarello staged the show against an epic backdrop of icy tundras and lush open fields that called to mind The Lord of the Rings. But the collection itself was inspired by the cult musician Peaches and her wild performance style.

Saint Laurent
Courtesy Saint Laurent
Saint Laurent
Courtesy Saint Laurent
Celine
Courtesy Celine

THE LOOK: Quintessential Parisian cool. Jeans with sequins, baseball caps with polished, ladylike bags including two new styles, the Romy and Tabou.

THE INSPIRATION: The show notes referred to “An utopian parade and melancholic daydream of youth interrupted,” and cited Charles Baudelaire.

Celine
Courtesy Celine
Celine
Courtesy Celine
Kenzo
Courtesy of Kenzo

THE LOOK: A vibrant, visual feast of colorful prints and patterns made for movement.

THE INSPIRATION: The joyous spirit of house founder Kenzo Takada.

Kenzo
Courtesy of Kenzo
Kenzo
Courtesy of Kenzo
Stella McCartney
Courtesy of Stella McCartney

THE LOOK: Bright club-kid prints crafted from sustainable textiles including knits and sequins. Flared pants and bodysuits with Chelsea duck boots made from biodegradable soles.

THE INSPIRATION: A craving to get dressed and go out.

Stella McCartney
Courtesy of Stella McCartney
Stella McCartney
Courtesy of Stella McCartney
Louis Vuitton

THE LOOK: A play on proportions, with ballooning jackets and skirts, and most looks paired with slouchy, knee-high boots.

THE INSPIRATION: “There’s no need to venture far to create the impression of traveling. It’s enough to reach far back… to the Golden Age, or Age of Enlightenment, eras that forged the essence of our civilization,” according to Nicolas Ghesquière.

Louis Vuitton
Louis Vuitton
Chanel
Courtesy of Chanel

THE LOOK: Ski-inspired luxury done in tweed and chiffon.

THE INSPIRATION: Chanel’s fall 1994 collection, the Left Bank nightclub Chez Castel, and Stella Tennant’s enduring personal style.

Chanel
Chanel
Chanel
Isabel Marant

THE LOOK: Futuristic meets folklore.

THE INSPIRATION: Escapism.

Isabel Marant
Isabel Marant
Paco Rabanne

THE LOOK: Feminine, dressed-up, and sparkling—with a touch of the ‘80s.

THE INSPIRATION: Princess Diana. Creative director Julien Dossena, it turns out, has been watching The Crown.

Paco Rabanne
Paco Rabanne
Miu Miu
Courtesy of Miu Miu

THE LOOK: Pastel puffers, knitted hat-mask co-ords, and bathing suits with ski-gear for women who dare.

THE INSPIRATION: A mountain fantasy escape to the Dolomites where the presentation was staged.

Miu Miu
Courtesy of Miu Miu
Miu Miu
Miu Miu
Balmain
Courtesy of Balmain

THE LOOK: Spacesuits, lace-up flight boots, parachute coats, and aviator glasses—all ready for takeoff.

THE INSPIRATION: The freedom and glamour of travel.

Balmain
Courtesy of Balmain
Balmain
Courtesy of Balmain
Xuly.Bët

THE LOOK: The range of this Xuly Bet collection goes from classic sports jackets to galactic, metallic leggings, and into colorful faux-fur coats.

THE INSPIRATION: The limit does not exist.

Xuly.Bët
Xuly.Bët
Thom Browne

THE LOOK: Tailoring to the extreme.

THE INSPIRATION: Going for the gusto—with Browne’s signature house codes in mind.

Thom Browne
Thom Browne
Schiaparelli

THE LOOK: We were especially drawn to some of the more demure looks Schiaparelli presented for fall 2021—like this chic black dress or a checkered skirt suit.

THE INSPIRATION: Daring to be different.

Schiaparelli

Schiaparelli
Lanvin

THE LOOK: Flocks of feathers atop some of the maison’s classic pieces like this shift dress, or a checkered coat.

THE INSPIRATION: A walk on the glamorous side.

Lanvin
Lanvin
Giambattista Valli

THE LOOK: Femininity was on display at Giambattista Valli’s latest presentation, where it was hard not to feel the love for a mini skirt or a dramatic bow.

THE INSPIRATION: Romantic thrills—and frills.

Giambattista Valli
Giambattista Valli
Balmain

THE LOOK: While there may not be much world traveling going on at the moment, Balmain's newest collection is ready to transport you in style—once the world is ready. As an added comfort plus, find this olive green purse and/or neck pillow.

THE INSPIRATION: Jet-set lifestyle.

Balmain
Balmain
Dior

THE LOOK: Plenty of Maria Grazia Chiuri’s now trademark take on classic tailoring: tweeds on tweeds, and red and black riding hoods.

THE INSPIRATION: A fairytale of grungy tones, with romantic tulles and doilies paired alongside relaxed denim.

Dior
Dior
Dior
Jil Sander
Courtesy of Jil Sander

THE LOOK: Whimsical sophistication, pearls and Bauhaus graphic prints, sharp suiting with easy relaxed dresses.

THE INSPIRATION: Positivity, optimism, and dressing for brighter days.

Jil Sander
Courtesy of Jil Sander
Jil Sander
Courtesy of Jil Sander
Hermès
Courtesy of Hermès

THE LOOK: Smart trousers, belted jackets, exaggerated scarf prints, and slick leather.

THE INSPIRATION: Confidence and ease of movement for a world post-lockdown.

Hermès
Courtesy of Hermès
Hermès
Courtesy of Hermès
Altuzarra
Courtesy of Altuzarra

THE LOOK: Extreme cozy knits, relaxed femininity, elevated comfort.

THE INSPIRATION: Transformation and rebirth. Joseph Altuzarra was inspired by images of butterfly wings which he collaged into colorful prints.

Altuzarra
Courtesy of Altuzarra
Altuzarra
Courtesy of Altuzarra
Altuzarra
Courtesy of Altuzarra
Versace
Courtesy of Versace

THE LOOK: Headscarves, chunky platforms, and logomania. Versace introduced the new La Greca monogram, a riff on the house's signature Greek Key. The supermodel-packed runway had everything one could want in a fall collection: cool tones in brown and dark red, patent trench coats, and of course, the fan-favorite mini-skirt.

THE INSPIRATION: The '90s meets right now. Reinvention.

Versace
Courtesy of Versace
Versace
Courtesy of Versace
Versace
Courtesy of Versace
Versace
Courtesy of Versace
Loewe
Courtesy of Loewe

THE LOOK: Oh to be inside to the talented mind of Jonathan Anderson! This season, the designer continued his infamous plays on proportion with a pair of wide leather culottes, while also taking note of a slimmer, equally chic silhouette in the form of suede trousers and an off-the-shoulder embellished dress.

THE INSPIRATION: Joy, mood-enhancing color therapy.

Loewe
Courtesy of Loewe
Loewe
Courtesy of Loewe
Loewe
Courtesy of Loewe
Nina Ricci
Courtesy of Nina Ricci

THE LOOK: Houndstooth checks, lady-like suiting in feminine hues, cloche hats, and fuzzy heels in Yves Klein blue.

THE INSPIRATION: Paring back to the basics.

Nina Ricci
Courtesy of Nina Ricci
Nina Ricci
Courtesy of Nina Ricci
Coperni
Courtesy of Coperni

THE LOOK: Sporty Space Age separates, and flashy boots made for dancing.

THE INSPIRATION: Coperni's latest collection felt like an homage to the nightlife that we've all been missing this past year. Going out attire has never felt more nostalgic.

Coperni
Courtesy of Coperni
Coperni
Courtesy of Coperni
Rick Owens
Courtesy of Rick Owens
Rick Owens
Courtesy of Rick Owens

THE LOOK: It was another otherworldly collection from Rick Owens this season with apocalyptic style puffer jackets and galactic sequin jumpsuits.

THE INSPIRATION: Escaping to an alternate universe is still the designer's modus operandi.

Rick Owens
Courtesy of Rick Owens
Rick Owens
Courtesy of Rick Owens
Chloé

THE LOOK: Gabriela Hearst's first collection at Chloé was a combination of the neutral tones we've come to expect and love from the French fashion house paired with the chic, sleek silhouettes Hearst made her namesake at her eponymous brand. The newcomer herself even closed out the show in one of the collections' many patterned frocks.

THE INSPIRATION: Sustainability and philanthropy.

Chloé
Chloé
Chloé
Dries Van Noten

THE LOOK: Slips and shirtdresses, with some carefully tailored suiting thrown in the mix.

THE INSPIRATION: Dance.

Dries Van Noten
Dries Van Noten
Vaquera

THE LOOK: Count on Vaquera to broaden your sartorial horizons each season with their unique takes on texture and proportion; these elongated sleeves were hard to miss.

THE INSPIRATION: Onstage performance.

Vaquera
Vaquera
Kwaidan Editions

THE LOOK: Kwaidan Editions’s patent leather trenches and skirts were surefire dial-turners.

THE INSPIRATION: The brand continued to amp up the volume on their take of chic, '90s minimalism.

Kwaidan Editions
Kwaidan Editions
Patou

THE LOOK: Volume, bow blouses, and feathers, oh my!

THE INSPIRATION: Patou pressed on with the brand’s signature playfulness this season.

Patou
Patou
Marine Serre

THE LOOK: Other than Marine Serre’s half-moon print (which the brand has become known for and was all over their fall 2021 offering,) the latest collection played with an abundance of patterns including plaids and paisleys. There were also matching face masks atop many of the looks—fitting, as we embark on yet another season of Covid-focused collections.

THE INSPIRATION: The monotony of everyday life.

Marine Serre
Marine Serre
Thebe Magugu

THE LOOK: A spin on the 1970s, with a focus on textiles.

THE INSPIRATION: Thebe Magugu worked closely with traditional healers to create his fall collection, titled “The Alchemy,” which launched as a digital presentation during Paris Fashion Week. This collection focuses on merging traditional with modern in an effort to celebrate true craft from all over the world.

Thebe Magugu
Thebe Magugu