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It's officially time to pack up your sweats. The new season collections are here and spoiler alert: dressing up is the new black!

AW21 presents a diverse but playfully optimistic season ahead. “The past few seasons have seen designers adopt a more casual approach as the world changed but now as we emerge the focus is definitely on fun, exciting and optimistic fashion where we can get dressed up again,” says Fashion Buying Director Shelly Corkery. “Newness is the overriding theme and dresses are the key category”.

Two standout categories for Corkery include a return to the 80s, reimagined for 2021 with indulgent fabrics and strong silhouettes. “I love all the metallics and elevated shoulders, very directional for AW21 and will ease us back into the office,” says Corkery. “Dolce & Gabbana’s collection I loved - the super cool metallic jeans and fitted coat dresses with double-breasted buttoning with the emphasis again on the shoulder. The other trend I am hugely excited about is relaxed tailoring, louche trousers worn with either heels or trainers and an oversized blazer. Whether you wear a bandeau, fitted top or oversized shirt, it is kept feminine but with an edge”.

This season, Brown Thomas welcomes 18 new brands – Alaïa, Fendi, Jacquemus,Roksanda, Alberta Ferretti, Issey Miyake, Pleats Please, Kobi Halperin, Coperni, Loulou Studio, Magali Pascal, The Garment, Free People, Slvrlake, Good American and Anine Bing Sport. “Fendi ready-to-wear coming on board with Kim Jones is super exciting and I am delighted to see the return of Alaïa” explains Corkery. “Meanwhile, Saint Laurent has just opened a new boutique on the ground floor of the Dublin store. “This has been a major project for the last two years. With Prada, Gucci and Bottega Veneta all opening new boutiques later this year.

Dior will open a large boutique in Brown Thomas, Grafton Street in October. “I believe it was the missing link for the store. Dior will have an incredible collection of accessories, jewellery, sunglasses, perfume and small leather goods. It is so exciting to have Dior coming to Dublin.”

With so much newness to choose from, it’s hard to select favourites, but restricted to her top three must-have items, Corkery chooses Bottega Veneta boots with the green gummy elevated stack heel, knitwear in zany stripes from Gabriela Hearst’s new collection for Chloé…“I also adore the Khaite coat in evergreen with the faux fur collar too. This season I am embracing colour and having fun with my fashion again!”

Big Bird Energy

Autumn Winter is never complete without statement coats, and this season, designers are elevating their outerwear staples. Spaghetti – fringed shearling in contrasting herringbone was seen at Fendi, while faux fur lined pieces in vibrant colours donned the runway at Khaite and Saint Laurent.

Key Brands – Fendi, Saint Laurent, Versace, Khaite, Alberta Ferretti, Stand.

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Out! Out! Out!

In a time where parties, clubs, festivals and events have been banned for so long, designers are celebrating the return to some normality. Party-wear will continue to be less focused on big events and instead pivot to an increase in smaller, more casual gatherings to celebrate special moments.

Looking for new ways of updating party-wear, designers showcase metallic hues, mini dresses, and knits that are paired with the ultra-feminine pencil skirts. Dries Van Noten’s relaxed approach to party-wear see’s wearable separates in vibrant sequins keeping with the trend.

Key Brands – Dries Van Noten, Balmain, Isabel Marant, Rotate, Coperni.

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All Hail the 80’s

Voluminous shapes in indulgent fabrics spill back from the 1980’s and onto the catwalk. Best seen at Balmain, Dolce & Gabbana and Isabel Marant, designers showcase bright colours, strong shoulders and metallic hues. “I don’t know where we’re going,” said Olivier Rousteing before the streaming of his show, “but I do know that we are going somewhere. The point is not the destination but the actual going—the journey, the leaving, and the escape.”

Shearling aviator jackets, great coats, flight suits, and monogram embossed dresses in parachute silk donned the runway at Balmain. 1980’s silhouettes in a retro-futuristic expression were seen at Versace also.

Key Brands – Balmain, Dolce & Gabbana, Versace, Isabel Marant, Rotate.

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Knit Picking

An Autumn Winter staple – knitwear is here to stay for the season ahead. Comfort-driven looks that merge work and leisure provide the focus in colourful and comfortable silhouettes. Designers create versatile, hardworking pieces with longevity, while new shapes highlight above the keyboard dressing. Designers stay focused on the statement sweater with strong shoulders and bell-sleeve silhouettes best seen at Chloé, Prada, and Gucci.

Key Brands – Chloé, Prada, Gucci, Fendi, Sea.

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Power Puff

A focus on plush comfort and weatherproof functionality brings newness to jackets and outerwear, as designers look ahead to a season of outdoor adventures and winter getaways. Casualised dress codes and contemporary consumer appetite for high-low dressing saw the emergence of the bomber jacket, shacket and sleeveless comfort overcoat to allow for layering.

For AW21 brands and designers delivered a relaxed-first approach to outerwear while working with in-house sustainability objectives, as seen at Prada, Jacquemus and Chloé.

Key Brands – Miu Miu, Jacquemus, Issey Miyake, Khaite, JW Anderson.

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Dress Again

An energetic show was seen at Versace, where under a sea of monograms, the garments proved to be a viable proposal for a post lockdown wardrobe – easy, smart and real. At Victoria Beckham, rather than introducing new complex cuts or ambitious experimentation, dresses were simplified and perfected. Prairie and flapper styles were streamlined, and Victoria’s slinky, everyday long-sleeve dresses were recut for a T-shirt-like ease.

Key Brands – Alaïa, Fendi, Versace, Victoria Beckham, Oscar De La Renta.


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Back to Business

Tailoring becomes more casual and coordinates have new importance as designers look to the beginnings of a post-pandemic recovery. Tailoring remains key for the season ahead but is given a laid-back edge that is the perfect balance between structured tailoring and casual ease.

Key Brands – Victoria Beckham, Prada, Stella McCartney, Max Mara, Givenchy, Totême.

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Indigo Mood

‘Parisian Chic’ was done to perfection at Celine for AW21. Hedi Slimane’s show oozed French girl-style with a modern twist, elevating a classic trench coat or a tweed oversized jacket with exactly the right cut of bashed-up old jeans. New brand for AW21 SLVRLAKE plays on this trend with a juxtaposition of modern minimalism and the beauty of the great outdoors. The Los Angeles based brand challenges the ideas of old and new, constantly changing the status quo with easy and lasting denim staples.

Key Brands – Celine, Dries Van Noten, Slvrlake, Re/Done.


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Colour Therapy

Hyper-brights add an injection of playful energy and optimism to the catwalks for the season ahead. A bold approach to colour is a key consideration for AW21 with acid yellow, bold purple and rich greens making an appearance on key outerwear pieces and dresses alike.

Key Brands – Prada, Saint Laurent, Versace, Stella McCartney, Oscar De La Renta, Alberta Ferretti.

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Full Cream

Gentle and contemporary head-to-toe looks of cream add a graceful and neutral vibe to the Autumn Winter season. Chloé reigns supreme for this trend, with Gabriela Hearst’s first show at the iconic French fashion house. Hearst evolves Chloé’s classic bohemian aesthetic, showcasing a more sensual and playful collection. Underpinned by Hearst’s signature earthy puritanism, head to toe looks of graceful cream donned the runway, adding a feminine ease to the winter season.

Key Brands – Chloé, Alaïa, Khaite, Sportmax, La Collection.



It’s not just fashion that has a new wave of trends this season, discover the new colour palettes for your home in Colour In.