Summer 2021 trends on the runway!

Summer 2021 Trend Report

By Emma Francois

Writer's Note

Designers paid tribute to a world built for joy this season. Bursts of sunflower and fuchsia spiced up nude palettes, while glitter and feathers complicated gem-encrusted dresses. Either way, these trends are surprising, sophisticated, and—most important of all—exuberant.

Baroque Reverie

While the Baroque is often associated with glitzy ornamentations and gilded accents, this revivalist trend is actually quite complex. The designers who took on the Baroque this season captured many of the lesser known, more subtle qualities of the movement that first swept Europe back in the 1600s. Baroque nouveau is all about the ethereal and the sensual, the ideal and the theatrical. But true to form, this trend is still absolutely dripping in maximalist, golden, sparkly details.

Dior perhaps illustrated this trend best in its couture showing. One memorable chiffon slip featured gold-foil leaves cascading down the hemlines. Dramatic puffed sleeves pushed the proportion of nearly every look. And an embroidered foliage added a rustic, high class vibe to a cerulean cape. To see this trend in action, we loved Ziad Nakad’s Spring/Summer Haute Couture show.

Off the runway, Dua Lipa embraced the chiaroscuro, so synonymous with Baroque artwork, in an ebony and diamond Balenciaga get-up that harmonized the dark and the light. And Lori Harvey stole the show in a glimmering, head to toe, prismatic gold Prada slip.

This trend translates seamlessly into the world of ballroom dress rentals. The shinier, the sweeter. The bolder, the better. Pair your gilded and gem-encrusted dance dresses with golden tiaras or ruby-set barrettes.

On the Runway

Nuanced Neutrals

For a sartorial season of sunshine and rainbows, a neutral-hued trend may seem like an unlikely choice to kickstart this report. But in the unexpected comes a certain grace (and not to mention a bold fashion statement) as Valentino demonstrated effortlessly in the brand’s couture collection earlier this spring. Tangerine accents played peekaboo underneath a lily eyelet cape. The slightest suggestion of rose enlivened a taupe coat dress. And finally, a splash of mint transformed one sequined gown from olive to sage.

Taking this trend for a twirl, Cynthia Erivo sported an ivory Loewe number with a sparse—yet shocking—carnival of multicolored ribbons. And Emily Ratajkowski proved the Nude Look trend contains multitudes in a snowy Sofia the Label dress, brought to life by a single accessory: a sunflower tote to interrupt the monochromatic look.

For your ballroom dress rental, look for dance dresses in that gorgeously subtle just-so neutral. Go for waltz dresses in universally flattering, near-nude shades of pistachio or fern, blush or crepe, and lemon or cream.

On the Runway

Call of the Wild

In the spirit of optimal joy and maximum fun, this trend asks us tap into our intuition and return to our sartorial roots. Lush fabrics, clean lines, and effortless tailoring serve as the perfect backdrops for the heart of this trend: feather accents, fauna decals, and earthly motifs.

Iris van Herpen embraced this trend with innovation and ease. A sculptural gown in gradated shades of turquoise and lagoon evoked a free-flowing waterfall or undersea coral. And in a wonderful trick of the eye, an intricate poppy gown blossomed into a ruching of rust, as if to give the appearance of a phoenix rising from the ashes.

Speaking of aviary influences, Zoey Deutch donned a flowery Miu Miu dress with the varied color palette of a ruby-throated hummingbird illuminated by the sun. And Gal Gadot perched in a canary yellow Monse shift that would have looked perfectly at home in a field of wildflowers. Rahul Mishra’s Couture Collection captures this earthy and elegant trend through intricate beadwork and embroidery that capture the desert landscape.

Shimmy and roar on the dance floor in waltz dresses with feathery details or sexy animal prints that cheekily nod to the vibrant zest of this instinctual trend.

On the Runway