We may have already covered both the fall/ winter 2021 colors and the popular trends of the season, but for the fashion world, people’s eyes also gravitate to studying the prints on garments as well. After all, these little facts to store in the back of your mind make it near impossible for anyone to look at your outfit and label it ‘so last season.’
The pattern trends for spring 2021 happened to be far more solid in color or brought back the resurrection of patterns from past seasons since the fabric factories had to shut down due to the pandemic. This winter, while some designers continued to source from old collections and focused heavily on sustainability, new prints did appear! As a result, the fall/ winter 2021 print trends are filled with many emotions – nostalgia, excitement, or romance seem to be the key players that inspired the designs and patterns.
The wonderful thing about this season is that no print seems to be truly off-limits. So, while this article focuses on the ones that occurred the most throughout the 2021 fashion weeks, other options are always out there. Polka dots? Yep. Snakeskin? Sure. Psychedelic patterns? Naturally! So, do a quick Internet scan if you just have to prove to that one judgmental friend that you are on-trend. But, really, does it even matter? You do you!
#1. A New Take on Logomania
Logomania is one of those trends that are either loved or hated. For those that love the flamboyance of flashing designer logos, it’s quickly adored. But for the people that prefer to keep their affluence more low-key, it’s abhorred. This fall, designers seemed to want to break the stereotypical assumptions of logomania by discreetly turning their logos into a print in a Where’s Waldo-esque game for fashion enthusiasts.
The subtle arrows for Off-White, for instance, were used as a shirt print for the company. Fendi decided to enter this craze with slippers, and Valentino used the ‘V’ in his logo to create a chevron pattern for a cape. This fall 2021 print trend is the ultimate description of ‘there’s more there than meets the eye.’
#2. Check Time
Did designers take time to create a chess club over quarantine? Or did they all just watch the Queen’s Gambit and decide to bring a classic check print back for fall? Whatever caused designers from Givenchy to Love Shack Fancy to become excited by this hypnotic pattern, we may never know. But we can always be thankful that the preppy print seems to be back in full force for this fall. So, whether you decide to don – a gingham pattern or the black and white chess uniform of that secret club I can’t help but wonder about, know you’re in style.
#3. In the Sparkles
There is only one word to describe this fall/ winter pattern trend, and it’s ‘sparkling’! This winter is a time to bring on the bling with decorative sequin looks embroidered into the clothes to create intricate designs.
Oscar de la Renta and Dior prepared us for the looks with sequin-embroidered tulle dresses for 2020 in the shape of stars, but Jenny Packham, Givenchy, Badgley Mischka, and Gucci truly brought this elegant and party-ready look home for 2021. If you’re opting to test the embroidered sequin look, just make sure that the sequins are stitched securely because no one wants a Studio 54 glitter trail following them around! Then follow the stars, diamonds, and stripes that the designers created on fabric using the shiny sequins and enjoy the disco style.
#4. The Animal in All of Us
A pattern trend article simply wouldn’t be complete if animal prints weren’t mentioned. This trend is a perennial classic for the fashion stream, yet a certain animal will seemingly be ideal for different designers each season.
Anna Sui worshipped cow prints for her fall/ winter 2021 collection. Leopard pranced down the catwalk for R-13 and even was used in an Adidas shirt… yes, the animal print trend is back in full force once again! But if you happen to gravitate towards more classic, black and white animal print designs, then Stand Studio’s and Stella McCartney’s use of zebra print will be your favorite.
#5. Glen Plaid
This is a style of plaid borrowed from men’s suits. The classic combination of gray pinstripes and plaid creates a cross pane pattern of small and large checks. With the rise of dark academic styles in both the media and on the streets, a glen plaid suit is a perfect way to fall into that trend. Badgley Mischka showed its perfect versatility for men and women by creating suit options for both. Frame also used it in a suit set but with shorts! Still, if you want to dip your toes into this plaid pattern, Veronica Beard’s oversized blazer is the way to go.
Houndstooth is another timeless print that is a forever classic. Created by combining yarns of different colors, the cousin of the check print has a distinctive edge that has been classically considered more feminine. Some houses maintained to stick with the past black and white style, while others reached for the trendy and stunning bubblegum pink and cream combination that holds a memory of Jackie O in a pillbox hat and suit. Using this as a backdrop Love Shack Fancy created pink houndstooth suit options in their fall 2021 collection.
Still, Chanel – the original home of the historic suit – couldn’t help but reach for this pattern. Viard, the new creative director, combined it in multiple maxi coats for her collection. This fall pattern trend is one I will certainly hound you to get on!
It seems like it’s been a while since we last saw pinstripes waltz down the runway, even if, in reality, it was only last year. Still, this micro-trend of 2021 is vibrant and fun – all while putting us in a business mood.
Despite the print often being associated with well-tailored suits, Annie Bing brought out the oversized blazer trend with this print, while Jacquemus proved that the pattern looks stunning with a paperbag waist! If you happen to be wanting something a bit more classic, then Max Mara created some tailored pants for you, and Acne Studios have the black and blue blazer we’ve all been dying for. Whatever way you choose to wear this fall 2021 print look, know that you’ll look both fun and chic!
#8. Flower Power
Once again, it seems that floral patterns simply aren’t reserved for the spring and summer seasons exclusively. The fall season colored the cold seasons with blooms of all kinds; some took on a black and white somber look with sheer appliqués like at Valentino. Still, others decided to bring on the bright colors.
Oscar de la Renta’s fall 2021 collection decidedly sticks in my head for not only its use of bright colors but also the use of floral prints and appliqués. If you feel like diving into the trend right now, you’re in good company because Taylor Swift nabbed de la Renta’s first look of the collection for her Grammy’s dress!
Vintage roses also proved to be popular with Simone Rocha and Naeem Khan using the flowers in multiple pieces. So, send all the power to the flower because this print is truly blossoming on all the runways!
#9. I See Diamonds
From checkboard patterns to plaid and tartan, we have seen all forms of geometric prints for the fall 2021 season, rhombus or diamond shapes included. There was no shortage of diamond prints on the runways this season from a variety of designers, so we’d say this is the stand-out print trend of the season.
The entire Casablanca collection was a tribute to the diamond print, using it for almost every piece of clothing featured in different colors, shapes, and designs. Arthur Arbesser combined rhombus motifs with checks and abstract flowers, keeping it as colorful and busy as can be. We also loved Valentino’s use of diamond patterns in more somber, monochrome looks that looked utterly chic and memorable.
#10. Abstract Goals
Abstract patterns don’t always mean Jackson Pollock paint splatter designs or colors swirled together so tightly that you can’t see where one begins and the other ends. No, both Libertine and Vivienne Westwood proved that with the patterns in their fall 2021 collections.
While Libertine continued its eclectic way of pairing clothing, colors, and words, they did so in a manner that formed patchwork-like prints in a variety of abstract designs. Vivienne Westwood, on the other hand, drew inspiration from the 1743 painting Daphnis and Chloe. Using this Romantic-era painting as a jumping off-point, the parts of the painting were quickly dissected or singled out to create abstract patterns in the clothing.
#11. Art Deco
It’s 2021, after all, and the nostalgia for the 1920s seems to have kicked in (if only we could have avoided the pandemic start-off). Art deco and art nouveau patterns seemed to be important to many designers as we usher in this era of the roaring ‘20s! After covering the popular trends of this season, we know that bright colors, metallics, and black finishes are popular – but those are simply the basics of any art deco look.
Prada focused on geometric patterns reminiscent of items found in nature (think peacock feathers and malachite stone), Longchamp threw in a few pieces of similar patterns, and Badgley Mischka shot their entire collection in a bar styled like a speakeasy. To find your own version of this style, simply reach for geometric designs and metallic finishes – an art deco classic.
#12. Blown-up Florals
Since we’ve already covered the floral craze in our ‘flower power’ section of this print trend report, I’ll keep it brief. Once again, we are baffled by the use of bold and oversized floral prints being used in the dead of winter. Should we be? While it might seem far more like a spring pattern, Dries Van Noten certainly would disagree, considering oversized floral prints were a key motif in his collection. And should I add that along with dainty florals, Oscar de la Renta threw in some oversized flowers too? Guess it might just be time to raid your cool aunt’s closet for all those ‘60s pieces!
#13. Tartan Plaids
Plaids are simply a classic winter print, and this season is no different. While glen plaid, houndstooth, and check plaid all proved to be popular, it was tartan plaids many fell in love with. Of course, it was in the Burberry show, but many other designers gravitated towards it as well.
Alice & Olivia by Stacey Bendet may have started by showing off houndstooth, but the tartan plaid skirt and dresses are what ended up being the cover of their show and stealing the heart of fashion influencer Caroline Vazzana. Dior and Veronica Beard both proved the pattern’s timeless authority over the coats as well this season. So, before you want to jump to the conclusion that plaid is a grunge look, know that every designer mentioned above (and many more) wants to change your mind.
#14. Chevron Romance
There is something so striking yet romantic about chevron prints. It’s almost but not quite psychedelic, and it always catches the eye and intrigues. Alongside all those checkered patterns and tartans, the fall/ winter 2021 print trends celebrated the romance of chevron, and we couldn’t be happier.
At Emporio Armani, chevron was used excessively for a pantsuit that looked so professional and feminine at the same time. Chevron pattern appeared quite often at Missoni, used for sweaters and knit pants in a perfect color theory.
Other designers combined chevron motifs with other patterns, including Etro, Ermanno Scervino, and Moschino.
Photos via Vogue