Paris Fashion Week Spring 2021 Day 3 Reviews: Kenzo & Dries Van Noten

This is our unfiltered review of the first ever digital Paris Fashion Week. Here, stay up to date on all the top spring 2021 Paris Fashion Week shows.

For the first time in history, Paris Fashion week is going digital with the Spring 2021 shows. In summer 2020, we saw the first ever Paris couture shows  go digital. Now, we get to see how the ready-to-wear designers are doing things.

It’s not surprising: due to the pandemic, fashion weeks worldwide are being cancelled and postponed. In lieu of live runway shows, brands are putting together digital content (mainly videos) to showcase their latest collections. As such, the majority of the Spring 2021 Paris Fashion Week collections are being presented as digital-only activations, except for a few brand such as Chanel, Coperni, Dior and a few others who are reportedly hosting in-person shows with limited audiences (and, of course, a digital component).

At Couture Week, we saw everything from 3D virtual models to advertorial-like videos that felt like commercials. Given that Paris Fashion Week is always the pinnacle of fashion month, with many of the top designers presenting as well as a host of the most in-demand emerging brands, it’ll be interesting to see how designers approach the new world of fashion shows during a pandemic.

I’m interested to see how labels can take these elements of the digital world and go forward with fashion week in a new and innovative way. For now, I don’t think doing strictly video is the right move. Come back daily to read our highlights from each day of Paris Fashion Week Spring 2021.

Read about day 2 highlights here. Here, some mini reviews of the standout shows of the Spring 2021 Paris Fashion Week Day 3.

Paris Fashion Week Spring 2021: Kenzo Spring 2021

Last season, Felipe Oliveira Baptista took over as the creative director of Kenzo in a much-need attempt to revive the brand. The debut collection had subtle references to house codes from its founder, and for Spring 2021, those references of wild travel, bold colors and wanton prints got even stronger.

The show opened with veiled beekeeper outfits — a variety of veils that hit either around the neckline or went entirely down the length of the outfit. Though it seemed to reference the love of travel and adventure so close to the Kenzo brand DNA, it also seemed to offer up a very creative way to wear a face covering (though it may not be air-tight).

Most intriguing were the cocoon-like silhouettes that came from the veils that went past the hemlines of the mini dresses. In pastel candy hues of mint green, bright white or periwinkle speckled-blue, these looks, whether intentional or not, began to have a sort of couture-like vision behind them.

For the Spring 2021 show, Kenzo opted for a normal in-person show with guests. Yet taking into the account the modern aesthetic of the brand, and the forward thinking approach to sustainability (Kenzo is working with WWF to help the global population of tigers and has a number of eco projects in the works), it would have been nice to see Kenzo push the limits more instead of doing a traditional show.

Paris Fashion Week Spring 2021: Dries Van Noten Spring 2021

For Dries Van Noten’s Spring 2021 collection, the designer directed a series of artistic photographs and an editorial video. And though it may not be the most exciting version of a digital fashion show, it truly was different in that this was the first time he had ever done something like this, since Dries is notorious for never having any visual ads.

For the first time, the brand consolidated the men’s and women’s collections and worked with the iconic Dutch photographer Viviane Sassen to create images that wholeheartedly feel more like individual statements of art than exercises in promotion of clothing. And while the photographs are admittedly stunning, the video feels slightly amateur. It’s a bit hard to see the clothing, and the same sophistication seen in the photos is not quite there. Where the photos are perfectly cropped little studies, the video feels looser, half-hearted and like a simple video made on an iPhone using a projector. And maybe it is, but in comparison to the incredible photos, it is slightly lacking; almost like an afterthought.

As for the clothing in the collection, Dries Van Noten collaborated with New Zealand artist Len Lye’s (famous for painting on celluloid film) Foundation for brilliantly hued motifs across long and loose dresses, jackets and sheer tops. Dries has always done color really well, and that has never been more evident than it is here.

paris fashion week spring 2021 review day 2 dries van noten

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