2021 has been an exciting year for fashion with the return of physical catwalks and in-person gatherings, after a months-long pandemic filled with sweats and slips. Brands, designers, celebrities and more with front row appearances, red carpet moments and new collections, while social media feeds were dominated by post-COVID looks.
In this year’s HYPEBAE Best, we spotlight the top brands, designers and IT items of 2021. Balenciaga sparked a buzz with their runway show featured in a unique episode of The simpsons, in addition to Kim Kardashian’s faceless look on the Met Gala red carpet. Jacquemus opened an Instagrammable all-pink pop-up in Paris for everyone to visit, and Prada has become one of the hottest brands thanks to the continued partnership between Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons.
We also celebrate emerging designers, such as Chet Lo, BRE, Harris Reed, LUAR and Nensi Dojaka, whose creations have appeared on the red carpet, viral music videos and more. Our favorite It items include the coveted Fendi x SKIMS collaboration, Jacquemus’ popular cropped cardigan, Prada’s Cleo bag and more.
Read on for the best fashion times and items of the year. While you’re here, be sure to check out the top beauty products of 2021, according to the editors of HYPEBAE.
Balenciaga was arguably the hottest brand in fashion this year. The house started a solid year with the announcement by Kering that it was fur-free, followed by a joint “hack” project with Gucci for its 100th anniversary collection. It maintained its place among the hottest brands of 2021, continuing to roll out coveted versions including a PlayStation 5-themed line, as well as the Crocs high-fashion shoe collaboration.
Demna Gvasalia brought home couture, while designing merchandise for Kanye West DONDA album. The label also took to social media with some viral red carpet moments, including Kim Kardashian’s all-black faceless look, which has become a popular costume option for Halloween. The brand has pushed the boundaries with a hybrid Fortnite team-up and a track featuring characters from The simpsons. More recently, Balenciaga has become the first luxury name to join the metaverse.
In 2021, Chanel continued her ongoing partnership with BLACKPINK member Jennie by unveiling viral footage featuring the K-pop star. The musician hosted the house’s “Coco Neige” and Coco Crush campaigns, and also sat front row in an all-red ensemble at Paris Fashion Week. While it should be noted that the house’s beauty line suffered a backlash for its US $ 825 advent calendar, Chanel still scored strong sales growth and was praised for the nostalgic runway. spring / summer 2022 by Virginie Viard.
Jacquemus continued to dominate social media this year with their vibrant colors and coveted accessories. On their Fall / Winter 2021 runway, the brand launched some of their most popular styles to date, which were later showcased in their Winter 2021 campaign led by Kendall Jenner. The label also tapped families in Hawaii for its “Family Love” visuals, which provided a glimpse of a possible collaboration with Nike. The French label has ventured beyond the fashion realm to launch pink-themed releases like an electric bike and a CBD drink, while opening an all-pink pop-up in Paris. She is also planning to launch her own beauty line, which we look forward to.
Creative Director Casey Cadwallader has undeniably ushered in a new era for Mugler this year. The brand put on dynamic presentations that saw Bella Hadid do backflips on the track. Her designs were favorites with celebrities like Cardi B for red carpet appearances. Thierry Mugler’s legacy is celebrated at a dedicated exhibition in Paris, entitled “Thierry Mugler: Couturissime”, open until April 2022.
With Raf Simons joining the brand as co-creative director, Prada has become one of the coolest names in fashion. The house’s FW21 collection was filled with bold color palettes and photo-worthy accessories, including the redesigned Cleo bag and logo triangular gloves. His SS22 collection made ‘hot boy summer’ a thing, breaking gender boundaries in fashion. With travel restrictions in place due to the ongoing pandemic, the brand showcased their SS22 womenswear collection simultaneously in Milan and Shanghai.
FULL LIFE DESIGNERS
Central Saint Martins alumnus Chet Lo became Revolutionary Designer of the Year after dressing SZA and Doja Cat for their hit hit “Kiss Me More”. The American designer made his Fashion East debut in September with his iconic studded knit pieces. The clothes have since become a celebrity favorite, as seen on Dua Lipa, Willow smith and Kylie jenner, Just to name a few.
Eli Russell Linnetz’s ERL became an instant hit when Justin Bieber released his music video for “Peaches, in which he wears the brand’s two-tone puffer jacket. The brand went viral again after A $ AP Rocky arrived at the Met Gala, where he wore a colorful quilt outfit which turned out to belong to someone’s great-grandmother. He has remained a staple for rappers including Kid Cudi, who arrived at the CFDA Fashion Awards in a wedding dress.
2021 has been a big year for Harris Reed, having presented their very first physical collection in September. The designer rose to fame for his fluid gender designs seen on Harry Styles, Selena Gomez, Lil nas x and more. The CSM graduate’s dream dress for Iman at the Met Gala marked another major moment for his eponymous label. More recently, the rising label launched its Fluid Basics range, an extension of its focus on inclusiveness and fluidity.
Created by Raul Lopez, co-founder of Hood By Air, LUAR returned to the New York Fashion Week catwalks after a three-season hiatus. The brand has proven to be the trendiest in town, presenting its latest Ana it-bag adored by stars such as Dua Lipa and Troye Sivan.
Already a favorite on Instagram, Nensi Dojaka celebrated a milestone year for her eponymous label by winning the 2021 LVMH Prize. With the title, the designer presented her first solo show at London Fashion Week, revealing updated versions of her iconic cutouts. She also won the BFC Foundation Award at the 2021 Fashion Awards.
COMPUTER FASHION ARTICLES
Mini Jodie Bottega Veneta
Daniel Lee abruptly left Bottega Veneta after making the fashion brand cool again by ditching social media marketing and developing Bottega’s iconic green color. While BV fans wait to see the house’s new collections under the direction of Matthieu Blazy, the Mini Jodie remains a best-selling accessory. The brand’s signature Intrecciato weave takes over the clutch, a striking design that pairs well with relaxed and dressy fits.
Fendi x SKIMS collaboration
Kim Jones and Kim Kardashian have teamed up on an unexpected Kim² project. The Fendi x SKIMS collection, featuring the Italian brand’s logos on the brand’s ultra-comfortable shapewear styles, reportedly grossed US $ 1 million in just a minute, with most pieces selling out just after the fall. The duo returned with a second launch of bodysuits, briefs, bra tops and more.
Short Cardigan Pralù Jacquemus La Maille
Loved by stars like Jennie and Kendall Jenner, the La Maille Pralù cardigan is one of Jacquemus’ most coveted items. Available in red, green, orange and black, the garment is enhanced with a gold logo on the front. The design is also available in the Neve iteration, which features short sleeves and a fluffy stretch knit material.
Prada Cleo bag
Raf Simons and Miuccia Prada have brought back Cleo, cult of the Italian house, for the SS21 season. A design that took over ’90s fashion, the silhouette returned in larger sizes and colors, along with adjustable straps. On the FW21 runway, the bag received further updates in geometric jacquard patterns.
UGG x Telfar Shopping Bag
Telfar’s iconic shopping bag received a sheepskin makeover as part of the brand’s UGG collaboration. The design, arriving in the usual small, medium, and large size options, quickly became a favorite for cold-weather fashion. In addition to the bag, the team featured similarly themed boots and hoodies.