Han Chong’s new Self-Portrait collection arrived in stores just days after London lifted its third lockdown. The timing was serendipitous—most pre-fall collections are launching right now—but the girls flocking to his Mayfair shop will also provide a glimpse of our “re-emerging” style. With vaccines rolling out and summer on the horizon, these are the clothes we’ll wear to our first dinner parties, outdoor gatherings, and maybe even a wedding or two.
Chong said he was already seeing a renewed optimism in his stores and retail partners. After seasons of knitwear and minimal styles, the best-selling items in his spring 2021 collection were ultra-bright, colorful tops and dresses. But while others are predicting a zero-to-sixty pivot from sweats and leggings to party dresses and stilettos, Chong seems to be anticipating more of a gradual shift.
Pre-fall was relatively subdued, in step with the “elegant simplicity” he’s proposing for fall 2021, with cleaner silhouettes, calm neutrals, and fewer frills. Interestingly, the first look here was a summer-ized twin of fall’s opening number: an ivory sweater dress with a pussy bow and crystal buttons. If not for its curve-hugging shape and abbreviated hemline, it might’ve seemed too prim for the Roaring Twenties-style hedonism we’re expecting this summer. For women thinking along those lines, there’s also a high-slit ribbed midi in chartreuse and a slinky, cut-out jersey LBD. Neither have much in common with the lace tea dresses and puff sleeves that many of Chong’s customers were wearing before the pandemic. Therein lies the appeal: Why not face our new and changed world in clothes that reflect how we’ve changed, too?