2021 will be over very soon.
In the last days of a year, it’s interesting to reflect on what happened during the previous 12 months and how much our surroundings have changed since December 2020.
In fashion, there have been some major highlights from celebrities, leaders, and companies from different parts of the world. Some of these highlights mold fashion trends in certain directions or start conversations about some matters in fashion.
What does this garment represent? Who made it? Are there certain symbols in this look that are hard to recognize immediately but send a message to the viewer?
Today, in Political Fashion, we’ll talk about some fashion highlights of 2021. Why are they important, and what do they represent.
Meghan Markle’s bird poop dress
In a bombshell interview that aired on March 2021, Meghan Markle sat with Oprah Winfrey to reveal many experiences that she lived with the Royal family and that Markle kept as a secret until then. Some of the key points of this interview include the conversations about how dark the skin of Meghan’s baby would be and how Prince Harry saw the history repeating itself when he saw Meghan being harassed by the press and media the way his mother, Princess Diana, was.
Meghan Markle: “That’s the sad irony of the last four years is I’ve advocated for so long for women to use their voice, and then I was silent.”
Oprah Winfrey: Were you silent? Or were you silenced?
Meghan Markle: The latter
And of course, the clothing is relevant in such an important conversation that will inevitably become part of Royal’s history. Meghan Markle wore a black silk dress by Armani with an embroidered element that was described by Tik Tok users as the “bird pooped dress,” but it’s actually a lotus flower. The lotus flower is a symbol that represents spiritual illumination and rebirth, amid a very difficult moment of transition for Meghan and Harry, who decided to step down the Royal Family and work to be financially independent. A white lotus flower is often associated with purity and transcendence. It represents the strong wish of Meghan to start again with her family in an environment of peace and love.
For many viewers, it could be hard to recognize the shape of the white lotus flower by taking a quick look at Markle’s dress. However, it’s widely known that Meghan Markle is a public figure who has been analyzed by journalists, experts, consultants in body language, “lie detectives”, and many many TV hosts that question and comment on every move and decision from the Duchess of Sussex. So it’s safe to say that eventually, the message of her clothes would be a subject of conversation, and the accurate symbol of the silk dress will come out.
In fashion, every element of the clothes counts. The combination of colors, textures, proportions, sizes and accessories gives a general impression to the public about who you are and what you are feeling.
In this interview, Meghan showed a symbol in her dress, but the black color itself has been another subject of interpretation since the protocols in the Royal family on colors are very restrictive. Back in 2018, Markle attended the British Fashion Awards with black nail polish, and there was a huge controversy about Royal women using only nude and discreet nail polish colors. Many papers and articles took it further, saying that Markle was “challenging the Queen” when making those decisions.
So it could be said that the dress in Oprah’s interview is Meghan simply saying how she loves wearing black regardless of the day and nighttime, grief or no grief, protocols and no protocols. The whole conversation with Oprah was about the confrontation on being silenced, liberty, and autonomy, so isn’t it clever for her to wear black after all the trouble she got into with this shade?
House of Gaga. House of Gucci
Lady Gaga is truly a case study when it comes to fashion as a communication tool. She has been able to adapt her fashion style to the artistic project she is working on or promoting at the time. At the beginning of 2021, several rumors about a film narrating the history of the fashion house Gucci were widespread and later confirmed by several sources.
The House of Gucci release finally happened in November. The cast included stars like Jared Leto, Salma Hayek, and, yes, Lady Gaga. But the fashion of the movie premieres is as relevant as the movie itself because they show a very distinctive aesthetic of the fashion house and celebrate the Italian heritage that makes Lady Gaga very proud.
Lady Gaga arrived at the House of Gucci premiere in London with a purple pleated dress by Alessandro Michelle, the creative director of Gucci. The limited but very energetic color scheme of Gaga’s look took her to the best-dressed lists. The purple eyeshadow with very discreet lip gloss gave her just the right balance to avoid a saturated or overdesigned look.
It is very exciting to see the evolution of artists year after year. Lady Gaga’s style evolves with her work, leading the next trends in fashion.
Fashion with one condition
One of the most exciting nights for fashion, the Met Gala, is a great opportunity to make statements about how we would like fashion to be, and what we can do to make it happen. The ceremony was full of statements that addressed a variety of matters in politics, gender equality, LGBTQ+, and diversity. But it was Billie Eilish who made a change for good in fashion with her Met Gala dress. She arrived with a beautiful long dress by Oscar de la Renta that was tight at the waist and very flowy all the way down.
The singer wasn’t used to wearing this type of garment. Billie Eilish's outfits are mostly oversized clothing with ease that didn’t contour her silhouette. So this was the beginning of a new stage in her life, in a path towards accepting her body.
But how did the pop singer change fashion with the dress? She made an agreement with the design team from Oscar de la Renta. She agreed to wear their clothes as long as the fashion brand agreed to stop using fur. The design team agreed, and Billie Eilish shared her excitement with her followers the day after with this message:
It was an honor to wear this dress, knowing that going forward, Oscar de la Renta will be completely fur-free!!!! I’m honored to have been a catalyst and to have been heard on this matter. I urge all designers to do the same.
That is the power of knowing how impactful your voice can be.
Carrie Bradshaw is back
This year gave us the huge surprise that Carrie Bradshaw is back for the show “And Just Like That.” She is back with her friends and back with more and exciting fashion.
It’s been nine years since the second Sex and The City movie premiered, and of course, a lot of questions have been raised around how the characters will address the aspects of society that have changed in this decade. Will the friends consume fast fashion? Are they on social media? Are they on dating apps? How has their style evolved with their age and the newest trends?
Some of the questions were answered through leaked photos that fans took during the filming of this show. After all, the production doesn’t have the privacy that they had in the 90’s when regular citizens didn’t have phones with cameras and social media accounts to upload instantly the behind the scenes shots of the so loved Sex and the City characters.
One of the most exciting shots in this filming process was one with Sarah Jessica Parker (Carrie Bradshaw) and Chris Noth (Mr. Big), where the actress wears a maxi dress with XL polka dots and a huge textured headpiece.
The truth is, the fashion of the show is one of the elements that fans and followers love the most about the show, so there will be more Political Fashion analysis on this new show and how it’s likely to influence emerging trends in 2022. As we know, fashion inspiration can come from any place, person, or situation, and very often pop culture shapes the fashion path.
In the fashion industry, it’s easy to assume that every designer is competing against each other. Although this may be the case for many, it’s not the case for many others. There is a way to merge more than one talent and create something entirely different that reaches a broader audience: collaborations.
Fashion collaborations are a fantastic opportunity for brands to merge aesthetics and reach other markets. In recent years, fashion collaborations that merge streetwear or pop culture with high fashion have been very successful and widely known. The merge of different aesthetics to create new designs is a phenomenon that customers are loving and is happening more frequently.
In 2021, we saw the collaboration of two very different aesthetics that merged into a cohesive and very successful collection: Skims x Fendi.
Skims is Kim Kardashian’s shapewear line that launched in 2019. Skims became particularly well known for its bodysuits and diversity in sizes and skin tones. Skims has introduced iterations of sleepwear, lingerie, and other intimate garments.
On the other hand, Fendi is an Italian luxury fashion brand with over 90 years of history that has been worn by several celebrities and important figures from all over the world.
The collection combines Fendi’s sophistication and luxury with the innovation and diversity of Skims.
The collaboration covers a wide range of garments, including shapewear, outerwear, beachwear, and accessories in petite and plus sizes. This gives an opportunity to customers of different sizes to purchase luxury garments that very often tend to limit their size range.
So the collaboration is a lesson on how two forces can be joined, leave egos aside, learn from your colleagues, and step out of the comfort zone to make something new.
Angela Merkel Says Goodbye
There are moments that are so special and memorable that the clothes don’t need to be overthought or meticulously planned. In moments like this, classic looks are a smart choice. It is very hard to miss the mark with a classic look as these pieces are meant to be timeless.
Angela Merkel, the first woman to serve as Chancellor of Germany and one of the longest-serving leaders in Germany, stepped down this year. A special ceremony happened on December 2nd, held by torchlight, the Bundeswehr, Germany’s federal armed forces to bid farewell.
The event took place at the Ministry of Defense’s Bendler Block complex, a marvelous place full of history since it was built for Imperial Germany back in 1914. Years later, it became the headquarters of German officers who attempted to remove Hitler in 1944 and were later executed in the courtyard. The complex has been used by the German Federal Ministry of Defense ever since 1993. (DW).
Now, Merkel is known worldwide as a steady, restrained, and modest leader. She worked for over 15 years in times full of social and political challenges, including financial crisis, immigration matters, climate change, and most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic.
So with such a strong presence and global recognition, Angela Merkel attended the farewell ceremony with an all-black look. A tailored coat, leather gloves, and pants were her choice for this historic event.
The particular relevance of the ceremony, mixed with the historical context of the site where it took place, and the legacy that Merkel leaves to her fellow citizens and to the whole world, put this ceremony on the front page of newspapers around the world. But Merkel has never been associated with vanity or superficiality, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
One doesn’t have to be fashion-forward to dress properly and look presentable. In fact, the former chancellor developed a monochromatic signature look over the years that she relied on to have a consistent identity as a world leader. For Angela Merkel in fashion, less is more, and due to her position, and personality, these classic looks worked flawlessly for her. That is what Political Fashion is about.
Angela Merkel is only the third German chancellor to be honored with such a military grand tattoo ceremony.
2021. A year of changes, growth, adaptation, and seeking solutions.