INDUSTRY VOICES: FASHION
Goodbye, Pajamas ... Hello, Fabulous!
Throughout these past 15 months, many people have been asking for my 2 cents on the state of fashion post-COVID. For most, during these Zooming-from-home pandemic times, the dress code has been pajamas, athleisure, sweats—you know. If you keep up with retail-fashion news, you have seen the headlines: “Sweats are selling like crazy,” “It’s all about comfy clothes,” “Pajamas, pajamas, pajamas!”
In my case, I have not had the pleasure of working in my pajamas as my position as co-chair of fashion at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising has required me to continue to work on campus. In doing so, I dress up every day in a jacket, dress shirt, tie and YSL boots to complete the look. I receive major stares as I walk to pick up my Subway lunch in downtown L.A. among the hoodie-and-jogger-wearing crowd, standing out like a throwback from another era.
Southern California is known for its laid-back style. Heck, we invented it! But we are also the home of luxe red-carpet style (remember that?), and for the last several years we have patented the streetwear and luxury-streetwear fashion moods that have now become a go-to style mantra from Balenciaga to Shein. So, where are we going—especially here in Southern California—when it comes to post-COVID style? It depends on whom you ask.
While I bet that most folks may want to stick to comfy athleisure, most of the top arbiters of style are definitely taking a stand: Go big or go home. Taking a quick look at all of the recent collections, forecasting what fashionistas will wear come next fall and early next year, many designers are saying, “’Bye, pajamas! Hello, fabulous!” Shoulders are getting so big in many collections that Joan Collins is blushing somewhere. XL-sized puffers are getting the XXL treatment from Thom Browne, Balmain and Rick Owens. Vibrant, bold colors are ubiquitous at Miu Miu, Jeremy Scott at Moschino and Riccardo Tisci at Burberry, and there are so many sequins you would think we were heading into cocktail hour every hour come September.
I love Southern California designer Mike Amiri’s latest offering for Fall 2021: gorgeous, elegant, sumptuous menswear suits and outfits that are the farthest thing from Zoom comfy. I’m ready for that! It is not by accident that one trend is apparent: the Roaring Twenties—and I mean the 1920s of course—such as silk dresses and oversized draped coats with a dash of glamour. The idea is that when we slowly come back to life we will have our own Roaring 2020s when it comes to fashion. We shall see.
Here in downtown L.A., beyond all the joggers-and-hoodie-wearing people zipping by on their e-scooters, I do see some glimmer of fashion lights as some people are finally getting to go out to eat at newly opened restaurants, wearing that outfit they bought pre-COVID and never got to showcase. I have even seen some members of the younger set dressing up to meet a friend for coffee or cocktails.
It brings tears to my eyes seeing the sloppiness this pandemic brought into our style lives. I am personally ready for the go-big-or-go-home style mantra post-COVID.
We need to—at the very least—show some visual clues that we are going to get through this and we will be all right…and fabulous! I believe that as much as we want to be wrapped up in comfort, we can still have a bit of those elements and be stylish too. While the whole world looks to us to define what’s next in denim, streetwear and red-carpet style, let’s do our part and show them that we can ditch our PJs and get back to fashion.
Nick Verreos is co-designer of the Los Angeles brand NIKOLAKI, which has been worn by Katy Perry, Carrie Underwood and Beyoncé. He is also co-chair of the FIDM Fashion, Theatre Costume, and Film and Television Costume Design programs. In addition, he is the consulting producer for Bravo’s “Project Runway”; an author of fashion, patternmaking and sketching books; and the face of the popular YouTube channel “Fashion School With Nick Verreos.”