Unanimously emerging from the sweater-clad, sun deprived state of lockdown and isolation that the pandemic has enforced upon the masses for the most part of the past year; it feels as though this opportunity to expose extra glimpses of skin to the balmy spring air will be welcomed all the more than normal as we re-adjust to post-Corona life.
From delicately carved and intentionally placed stencils (Ferragamo and Fendi) to the effortlessly cool, imperfect holes slashed without apparent instruction (Prada); or the bold chunks omitted by Loewe leaving the garment with more hole than material. One thing is for certain this season… cut-outs are on the agenda.
Unapologetic, the runways this year took a quite literal stance on the notion that when it comes to fabric, less-is-more. Perhaps a nod to the sheer volume of fashion consumption that has scarred large swathes of the industry with a greedy, unrelenting name; less fabric = less consumption, right?
Equally, perhaps taken more literally, as we come out of our homes into the world after such a period of isolation, cut-outs just offer an extra element of escape and freedom from refines that we all seem to be striving for.
Equally, and more explicitly, the trend can be taken as a statement from the wearer: The conventional skin-showing boundaries appear to be being pushed. Burberry’s take on the trend looked a lot like that which strutted down the corridors in the iconic Mean Girls (2004) – only, make it sustainable, high-fashion.
…Could it be that Burberry here are #free[ing]thenipple?
Gabriela Hearst’s shell and stone encrusted hip-placed cut-outs offer to act as the centrepiece on this pearly white, flowing slip dress – the focus is on the cut-out rather than the dress itself – it is arguable that if there was ever a year when the omission of fabric took centre stage on a garment, let’s face it, it was going to be 2021.
Some designers even took one step further: this trend does not end with exposing skin. Burberry un-capped the knees to reveal diamond encrusted netting, turning the staple black trouser inside out to unveil an embellished, disco-ball reminiscent leg look. In a similar but more subtle fashion, Prada layered holes over yet more fabric for a more toned-down, yet non-the-less elegant cut-out.
Ferragamo (yellow jacket) took a stealthier approach to the cut-out trend, making what could be considered to be a very structured mesh design that offers to dapple the skin below with sunlight and create an airy feel. A similar approach is taken in Valentino’s floral arrangement, created through precise cut-outs.
Consciously careless, beautifully imperfect: words that could be used to describe those looks released on the catwalks by Acne and Balenciaga alike. Silhouettes were draped with asymmetrical, rip-like cut-outs. Maybe the most DIY of the takes on this trend; perhaps a persuasion that everyone can put their own spin on it through up-cycling older or broken clothes; and ultimately, an assertion that clothing, ripped or not ripped, is worthy of wearing. So, don’t dispose of that haggard dress that you used to so-love… embrace its imperfections, because ripped is officially on the runway!
No body part is bereft of cut-outs, this trend is a head-to-toe affair: Versace omitted square panels of leather from his classic Loafer to create an airy, breathable shoe… Ferragamo even apparently took a chunk out of the heel of their classy black heels on the catwalk.
If this season’s runways told us anything, it is to put away the needle and thread, and get out the scissors. But really, this trend is something that we all could get on board with. A garment is only broken if you say its broken – and according to the SS21 catwalks, if its holey it’s in.
+ Words: Niamh Heron, Luxiders Magazine
BA Journalism and Media Graduate, based in Leeds, UK
Connect with her through Instagram @niamh.heron or Linkedin