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Can 'white' fashion take away your pandemic blues?

Lounge does a roundup of leading fashion labels that embraced 'white' in their collections at the Paris and Milan fashion weeks to create a sense of positivity, hope and lightness

Valentino Haute Couture
Valentino Haute Couture

In June, renowned Dutch trends forecaster Li Edelkoort had mentioned in a webinar that the dominant themes for Autumn/Winter 2021-2022 would be inspired by ideas of stillness. “We will start a blank page to write a new chapter for humanity and its quest for survival. Fresh pages for lightly-coloured clothes that help us eliminate excess and bring peace to mind. Colours that are tender and appeasing; from the purity of white tones to the warmth of new neutrals and milky pastels," she had stated. Well, it seems that Edelkoort’s prediction has come true a lot earlier than she had predicted. Because if there was one trend palpable at the recently-concluded Paris Couture Fashion Week 2020-2020 and the Milan Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2020-2021, it was the comeback of all-white. Imbued with meanings of purity, lightness and the ability to absorb all the negativity, it seems to be the colour of our times.

Over a phone interview, Indian trend forecaster Harleen Sabharwal seems to agree with this trend. “The world is going through a shift right now and we are all united in it," she says. “We are hoping to start afresh and white is representative of that. It speaks of transparency."

Sunnei Spring/Summer 2020-2021
Sunnei Spring/Summer 2020-2021

Here are some of the labels that have embraced white in their collections:


In a stunning digital show, Valentino showcased a film comprising 15 garments in all white. They were shown as larger-than-life, either standing tall or suspended from the ceilings of a studio, as though angels were descending to rescue the Earth. For the film titled The Performance: of Grace and Light, the brand collaborated with fashion filmmaker, Nick Knight, and had models posing or swinging in a fantastical space, where light, textures, colours and movement brought the garments alive. The film ended on a dramatic note with the models frozen in action or hanging down in ball gowns and dresses, crafted from long sizes of chiffon, taffeta, tulle and organdie. These will later, of course, be tailored to size for clients, which is a common practice in bespoke haute couture.


The up-and-coming Milanese brand explored the digital realm as well by leveraging the use of virtual reality. It presented a video with 3D avatars dancing to the tune of Macarena. The striking bit about the fun presentation was that at first, all the garments were all white, like a canvas, until they started changing colours. Aptly titled the Canvas collection, it is described by Sunnei as serving “the basis for customisation exclusively to select stores worldwide through a virtual platform." The technology will let customers change the shapes, fits and fabrics digitally. It’s a smart and sustainable move to ensure that only those garments are produced, which have been ordered.


Over the past month, the brand has created three different presentations, which touch on various cornerstones of the brand’s legacy. For its haute couture collection, the brand recently showcased a film featuring a mythological fantasy world, with mermaids and statues that came to life. A trunk carried miniature versions of the pieces from the collection to robe these fantastical creatures. The Summer 2021 Men’s Collection was created in collaboration with Ghana-born, Vienna-trained artist Amoako Boafo, which highlighted the beauty and culture of the African continent. The silhouettes were sporty and streamlined. For the third collection, The Cruise, the brand explored the heritage of Puglia. The garments were considerably more casual. In all of these collections, white was used to highlight the details, be it embroidery or the sleek tailoring.

Jil Sander

The brand’s menswear collection was pared down to such an extent that the detailing and sharp tailoring could come to the fore. Within the knitwear and other garments such as sweaters and coats, white became a blank paper for words such as “Yellow Moon", “Homegrown" and “Blue Windows Behind the Stars", all pointing towards the craving to venture out from within the quarantines.


With a collection titled Lovestruck, the brand has created a line of womenswear, featuring bright pops of colours such as reds, corals, pinks, yellows and purples —much needed to infuse vibrance in our lives. In this collection, white adds a breathing space for all these mixed compositions to shine, without coming across as kitschy or saccharine. In terms of silhouettes, there is a balance of flounce and frills with well-tailored tailored suits and blouses.

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