In the ever-changing game of “which brand does everyone want to buy now?” there are a few obvious blockbuster fashion houses that have remained at the top of the tree for some time. You all know Bottega Veneta is still trending, that Gucci is still very desirable and that, given half a chance and an heiress-level bank account, we’d snap up everything from The Row. But what of the less obvious labels that fashion people are clamouring to get? Which pieces are in high demand for photoshoots, celebrity outfits, Instagram snaps and—due to the timing right now—fashion month street style opportunities? What are the names we’re constantly talking about in the office, and where do we most commonly see “sold out” signs? Well, this is what the below story is for—to highlight the most popular brands for autumn 2021.
There’s a Jekyll and Hyde effect that has crept into our fashion psyches since restrictions lifted and Freedom Day rolled around. We’re still attached to easy, simple, long-lasting wardrobe staples of the highest order, and minimalism shows no sign of waning. But on the flip side, there’s clearly a strong desire for clothes made to go “out-out,” and that’s resulting in real look-at-me ideas, where skimpy cuts, loud prints and sparkly fabrics rule supreme. From crystal-covered crop tops at Nué to incredibly pared-back tailoring at Totême, these are the eight most popular fashion brands for the new season—I recommend you bookmark them right away.
1. LOUISA BALLOU
If you’ve noticed a proliferation of tropical-printed mesh pieces filling up your Insta feed lately, that’ll be South Carolina–based designer Louisa Ballou. Her sassy see-through pieces have been snapped up by celebrities such as Bella Hadid and Megan Thee Stallion, but there has been a long roll call of influencers investing in the label too. Although her line really revolves around swimwear and the summer months, I expect to see the form-fitting dresses, skirts and tees being layered up into autumn.
Louisa Ballou High Tide Printed Mesh Maxi Dress (£595)
Louisa Ballou Beach Tee Printed Mesh Top (£175)
Louisa Ballou Triple Ring Printed Mesh Mini Dress (£465)
2. GABRIELA HEARST
If there’s just one name you should know in the world of all things über-luxury, it’s Gabriela Hearst. The designer has been the leading light for beautifully crafted bohemian designer goods at her namesake brand for some time now, deftly combining classic, sumptuous staples with handicraft details and haute-hippy finishes. Now, her aesthetic is spreading even further thanks to her status as Chloé’s creative director. The aesthetic clearly reflects her experience of growing up on a ranch in Uraguay, but it translates for anyone with a free spirit. Expect to see many a sophisticated woman—that includes celebrities such as Emily Blunt and Angelina Jolie—investing in her incredible knitwear, stunning leather pieces and perfectly tailored coats this season and wearing them for evermore.
Gabriela Hearst Tex Dress (£3630)
Gabriela Hearst Lauren Wrap (£1940)
Gabriela Hearst Hilde Dress (£3950)
3. THE FRANKIE SHOP
The Frankie Shop continues to be a very vibey fashion brand that manages to create the most unexpected smash hits out of nowhere. This summer, the contemporary brand (which is based out of New York and Paris) came out of the gate with a Kermit-green shirt that became crazy popular, and now, going into autumn, there’s clearly a jacket leading the way: The Quilted Padded Ripstop Coat (£254) is all but sold out.
The Frankie Shop Lui Shirt (£130)
The Frankie Shop Olympia Jacket (£315)
The Frankie Shop Quilted Padded Ripstop Jacket (£254)
4. CHRISTOPHER ESBER
One could accredit Australian designer Christopher Esber with kick-starting the trend of cut-out waistbands and those sassy little ties that accompany it. His slashed dresses, cut-out knitwear and slinky separates are an influencer favourite, but you’ll even find more offbeat celebs, such as Lorde and Katie Holmes, favouring his rad, tummy-baring styles. Stock doesn’t hang around for very long, and this season’s autumnal-coloured cut-out knits are just divine.
Christopher Esber Shirt Dress (£660)
Christopher Esber Convertible Ribbed Knit Top (£350)
Christopher Esber Maxi Skirt (£410)
Totême is not a new label, but it is certainly moving from indie to cult status. Created by one of the OG bloggers, Elin Kling, it is a great reflection of her coveted super-minimal style. From seemingly simple blazers, Bretons and jeans through to more adventurous smocked dresses, there’s a little bit of beauty here for every wardrobe. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley is a big fan, and wears the brand’s pieces on repeat.
Totême Signature Coat (£500)
Totême Turtleneck Sweater (£410)
Totême Wide-Leg Pants (£375)
If you’re on a mission to party hard, then you’ll need something from Nué ASAP. The Ukrainian label has marketed itself as a “prêt-à-party brand,” taking inspiration from the roaring twenties—only the clothes are far skimpier, more sparkly and very, very daring. It’s the brand’s twinkly bras and crop tops that have the most loyal following, but you’ll find cute miniskirts, dresses, jewellery and satin separates that are all worth checking out too.
Nué Charlotte Crystal Embellished Top (£420)
Nué Camille Crystal Embellished Skirt (£1110)
Nué Charlotte Crystal-Embellished Choker (£230)
7. MACH & MACH
Running alonig a similar glitzy, disco-esque path to the above brand is Mach & Mach. Its highly decorative heels are simply begging to be photographed and then promptly taken on a night out. The Tbilisi-based sisters have defined a signature that’s all about princess bows, pastel hues and jazzy diamantés, and Instagram cannot get enough of it.
Mach & Mach Crystal-Embellished Double-Bow Mules 100 (£950)
Mach & Mach Diamond of Elizabeth PVC High Heels (£990)
Mach & Mach Glitter Double Bow Pumps 110 (£1035)
8. NENSI DOJAKA
Nensi Dojaka’s creations are basically becoming shorthand for sex appeal. The London-based designer’s carefully constructed creations have garnered her an impressive roster of A-list followers, and only a few days ago, she won the LVMH prize—one of the most prestigious industry awards going. Adwoa Aboah, Bella Hadid, Rihanna and Emma Corrin have all been spotted in her iconic strappy dresses, and now, we’re starting to see them filter into the closets of fashion industry figures, too. If you feel the urge to name-drop just one designer to make you look “in the know,” it’s this one.
Nensi Dojaka Sheer Shirt (£675)
Nensi Dojaka Asymmetric Dress (£1150)
Nensi Dojaka Mini Skirt (£500)
Next up, these are the It items of the season.
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