“We needed joy and fantasy and escapism, and that’s truer today than it ever was, with all the horrible things that are happening in the U.S.,” Michael Halpern said to VOGUE Runway’s Anders Christian Madsen of his Spring 2021 collection. “This isn’t me turning a blind eye to those things. It’s a response.” What resulted was a small collection of just 19 looks. Each one was of a couture worthy creation, but spoke to a wide range in sense of dressing for the now. We saw Halpern show everything from feathered bubble dresses to sequin pajamas. I’ve actually already featured one of the looks from this collection in my Emmy Awards wishes for Yvonne Orji. What Halpern has continued to us he is a master of, like most labels that show in London, print/color/texture. It was phenomenal. It wasn’t the biggest or most business as usual collection this season, but each look left an impact on me. The looks in the collection ranged in historical inspiration from the 1930’s to the 1970’s and the range of people I think would be perfect to bring the looks to life on the red carpet are as varried as the styles that were presented. I really wanted to put wishes for EVERYTHING in this collection, but ultimately decided not to. I decided at the last minute add one more to the ones below, but I felt like I really needed to put the thought of Cate Blanchett wearing the look pictured center above. The decadent 70’s YSL inspired black and gold look which features a gold leopard brocade structured blazer, a silk charmuse column skirt, and ruffled jabot is gorgeous and super impactful. Cate immediately came to mind when I saw this look as I was flipping through the lookbook and I can just imagine it being a major red carpet moment for our red carpet QUEEN. A sleek retro updo, defined eyes, punchy pink lips, a pair of black mid curved heel Nicholas Kirkwood ‘Alyssa’ slingback pointed toe pumps, and vintage Jean Schlumberger for Tiffany & Co. 18k gold and white diamond rope cluster earrings would definitely make this the major glamour moment I want it to be. So check out more of my favorite looks from the collection and find out who I want to wear them on the red carpet below. Some of my favorite pieces in the collection are the metallic gold leopard print brocade. The high low bubble hem gown with a squared neckline and short puffy sleeves was definitely one of the top looks from not just the collection, but the season. It has a very fun elegance about it. It gives me distinct 60’s meets now vibes and I feel like the gorgeous Zendaya would definitely be able to bring this look to life on a red carpet be it in person or virtual. She knows how to sell these more avant garde looks with effortless ease. A curly bun updo, gold smokey eyes, deep burgundy lips, a pair of gold and raspberry pink Malone Souliers ‘Penelope’ metallic leather pointed toe pumps with a curved edge, and a selection of Vanleles ‘Out of Africa’ jewels including a pair of Mozambican responsibly sourced ruby, rubelite, and diamond ‘Stiletto’ drop earrings, and two matching cocktail rings (one & two) would definitely make this a MAJOR fashion moment.
As I mentioned I am really loving the gold brocade that we saw in this collection. I was picking my wishes for this list and at the last second decided to swap my wish for the look which features a black sequin top with 3/4 length sleeves and a high waisted ankle length bow detailed pencil skirt made of the leopard brocade. Originally I was going to say Lupita Nyong’o (who would definitely be an excellent choice) but then I thought about Jennifer Hudson and her (hopefully) upcoming promo tour for RESPECT and I was inspired. I feel like Jennifer is going to be serving up MAJOR fashion moments during this promo tour (be it in person or virtually) and hopefully all through awards season. This look screams 60’s glam and I feel like that will be on the menu quite a bit to pay homage to Aretha Franklin’s legacy. This look with a short black pixie hairstyle, smokey eyes, bold glossy red lips, a pair of black lave over nude Jimmy Choo ‘Love 100’ pointed toe pumps, and Tiffany & Co. ‘Schlumberger Seven Leaves’ ear clips in 18k gold and platinum with green tourmalines and white diamonds would be PERFECTION. FEATHERS. Anyone who is a regular reader of If I Was A Stylist will know that I LOVE feathers for the red carpet. They are a fun and glamorous touch that adds drama to basically any look. This season is the first we have seen Michael Halpern use feathers and he did so expertly. Easily another of the best looks of the collection comes from the flamingo pink and black bubble dress. It holds no purpose but fun and glamour. I would love to be the person wearing this whispy ball to an event. It will take someone with PRESENCE to really work this look, so of course I turned to the queen of unapologetic drama: Rita Ora. I can definitely see Rita rocking this look on a red carpet like the American Music Awards or the British Fashion Awards. Now because the dress itself is such a statement I would love to see Rita style it with a sleek top knot updo, smokey eyes, her signature red lips, black leather Christian Louboutin ‘Loubi Queen’ ankle strap sandals, and a pair of white diamond floral Gismondi 1964 ‘Prato Fiorito’ ear crawling earrings.
Also using feathers Michael Halpern gave us Palm Springs hostess glamour with this coral and hot pink zebra print silk charmuse caftan gown trimmed in ostrich feathers. I could definitely see someone like Tracee Ellis Ross bringing this look to life as a major glamour from home look for a “virtual” event. Style it with big bouncy curls, defined eyes, nude glossy lips, hot pink crystal embellished Christian Louboutin ‘Kate Strass’ pointed toe pumps, and a selection of vintage jewels from Eleuteri including a pair of Bulgari “Saetta” ear-clips with amethysts and citrines, mounted on 18kt yellow gold circa 1980 and a major cocktail ring by Mimi Milano centering an octagonal cut amethyst, highlighted by pearls and mounted in 18kt yellow gold circa 1970 to really bring the at home glamour to life.Michel Halpern has been a master of color and pattern. This season was no different. There were a couple of really great patterns woven throughout the collection. One was the emerald green and black large polka dot. It was used on more avant garde and more casual looks. In the more casual iteration it was a long poet sleeve midi dress which I would absolutely DIE to see worn by Meryl Streep. It is a long shot of a wish, but I feel like it while the print definitely isn’t something I feel like Meryl would be drawn to the silhouette of the dress is. This look would be finished perfectly for Meryl styled with a chic casual updo, defined eyes, glossy nude pink lips, and a pair of black and saffron yellow Paul Andrew ‘Rhea 55’ slingback d’Orsay pointed toe pumps.
The final wish I have from this collection is for the gorgeous Amal Clooney. We saw Michael Halpern use tweed for the first time this season too giving us a major red plaid moment in several looks to wrap up the looks. I did love this fitted mini dress which features gold button details, a square neckline, cropped sleeves, and black feathered cuffs the moment I saw it. It blurs the lines between work wear and party wear and I definitely think that it would be a great look for Amal to wear for a date night with hubby George especially if styled with her signature waves, defined eyes, red lips, a black glitter Jimmy Choo ‘Ellipse’ clutch, a pair of red crystal embellished Prada round toe satin pumps, and vintage white diamond and ruby French style drop earrings from London based vintage jewelry dealer Jewellery Discovery.What do you think about this collection? Who would you like to see bring looks from this collection to life on the red carpet? You can hear me and my podcast partner in crime debate about this collection on our podcast The Fashion Forward Friends now streaming on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.