Spring 2021 Fashion Trends: Designers Channel Tupac, Kurt Cobain and More
Each era has its own style deities. Party-loving kids from the early years raided thrift stores for Mick and Keith’s tight silk shirts and the Ramones’ badass biker jackets. About 10 years later, Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, and Muhammad Ali populated Tumblr mood charts with guys negotiating the relationship between masculinity and their newfound obsession with clothes. Now, as we emerge head-first from a global pandemic and into what some predict will be the New Roaring Twenties, there isn’t a decade, one particular tribe or character that serves as the North Star style. This is precisely why dressing up has never been so exciting – guardrails have fallen and menswear is now the ultimate game for choosing your own adventure.
From this wonderful chaos, a new constellation of style inspiration has emerged. Some of the names on this list are what you might expect (hello, Kurt), while others have yet to be elected to the Style Hall of Fame (ciao, Pavarotti). But all of them are musicians who have shaped an image for themselves and who then completely and fearlessly embodied their gaze. When we go out, at work, at parties, at weddings, nothing seems more important than adopting a radical self-expression. These men are all avatars of heartfelt dress – flawless personal style – which is probably why their spirits were very present on the Spring / Summer 2021 shows. Let their looks be your guide in these uncertain and optimistic times.
Kurt Cobain | 1990
Ten minutes before leaving for a show at Hampshire College, Kurt asked the Nirvana publicist if he could borrow her dress. “There is nothing more comfortable,” the king of grunge-turned-fluid fashion icon would later say, “than a cozy flower pattern.”
Gucci | Spring 2021
No designer has channeled the promise of Kurt’s radically attitudinal and crazy style like Gucci’s Alessandro Michele, who grew up idolizing Nirvana. Now he’s at the forefront of the flowing fashion movement, creating dresses fit for rock stars. (Harry Styles even wore one on the cover of Vogue.)
Tupac | 1994
Tupac’s relentlessly authentic style laid the foundation for the nascent streetwear industry, and he helped spark fashion’s obsession with hip-hop culture when he walked the runway in a Versace runway in 1995. He remains. an unwavering benchmark for contemporary designers: its cuts – for example, mixing the swagger of denim at work with the power of a leather vest, are more relevant than ever.
Raf Simons | Spring 2021
This season, Raf Simons celebrated a quarter of a century in fashion, a tenure brought to life by the intoxicating touchstones of youthful style. The fitted leather vest he created has a style heritage that spans outlaw motorcycle gangs to post-punk scenes from Simons’ teenage 80s.
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