What sold in 2021 reveals exactly where we’ve been these last 12 months: Styling for WFH or socially distanced activities (all that walking might explain the continuing preponderance of designer sneakers) before celebrating the end of lockdown with teeny clothes and very high heels. Tweed Plaid Patchwork Office Dress — Black Sex is back, it seems, with our fashion choices at least, if not our dating lives. (But I don’t speak for everyone here, clearly.) In between those extremes of dressing way up and dressing way down: jeans (they’re everywhere), jewelry (the major story of the year, tbh) and, not unsurprisingly, an ever greater emphasis on where a brand sits in the world, and what it says to us when we choose to wear it.
Weighing in: Six department store luminaries who are dotted around the world, to give a big global-sweep picture of what made the cut this past year. There’s a lot of consensus— honorary shout-outs to Saint Laurent, Chanel, Gucci, Balenciaga, Louis Vuitton—and a who’d-have-thought-it moment with the resurgence of Vivienne Westwood’s iconic pearl and orb jewelry. Also, a good year for up and coming indies—from Studio 189 to Wales Bonner, Supriya Lele to Greta Constantine, Bassike to LaQuan Smith, and a rocking 2021 for Simon Porte Jacquemus. If the last 12 months didn’t bring us much cheer, this particular trend certainly does.
Now we’re seeing a lot of party dresses, and the return to heels—straight back to sparkle and heel heights of 7cm [just over 2.7 inches], but mostly 10cm [just shy of 4 inches]. There’s definitely that sense of revenge dressing; an absolute desire to dress up, and to show a bit of skin.
Which labels and brands did well for you?
Australian brands really came into their own. The standout has been Zimmermann, who we’ve partnered with for a long time; every collection resonated, across the board, but particularly the floral pieces and the more avant garde looks. Sexy One Shoulder Ruffle Evening Party Dress — White We also saw a lot of demand for beautifully crafted pieces from Camilla, which is more of a flamboyant resort brand, and for Camilla and Marc, with its pared back soft tailoring.
Another standout was Aje who are really starting to emerge overseas. Alemais is a beautiful brand—Gwyneth Paltrow just wore it—which is by a young Sydney designer; we can’t keep it in stock. And more casual labels, like LMND, and Bassike, which won at our fashion awards for its sustainability; it’s our first carbon neutral brand. People want luxurious basics, but with sustainability in mind.
In terms of international brands, Dior has been a standout; it has a really strong following here. Louis Vuitton for investments, like AUD $8,000 suitcases. There has been a definite move to investing in classic luxury pieces, from the likes of Gucci, Dior, Vuitton and Chanel. Maybe those more classic investment pieces hadn’t been so sought out before; she was now choosing to spend the ski holiday money on those instead! And we sold a lot of high end jewelry—again Dior and Louis Vuitton, as well as Piaget. More high end jewelry hasn’t been our strength historically, but we are going to grow it going forward.
Were there any surprises?
There were no real big surprises, except maybe the speed at which we have recovered. But the 10cm heel was a real change. There was no way she was wearing those during COVID. Sexy Sequin Maxi Party Dress And not just plain shoes, but those with bows and glitter heels. Mach & Mach was a standout. Jimmy Choo had a huge year. So too did Manolo Blahnik and Roger Vivier.