Fashion’s new optimism

Images: Paolo Zerbini  Words: George Walker

As part of our Happy New Decade celebrations, in which we’re exploring positive ideas for the future, we have collaborated with photographer Paolo Zerbini to capture fashion’s new, optimistic mood. But what’s the meaning behind this new positivity? And what message are designers trying to send? We sought out the answers…

She wears: Saks Potts – leather and shearling coat / Versace – sunglasses / Vanessa Mooney – gold earrings
He wears: Tom Ford – blazer and trousers / Prada – tie / Paul Smith – shirt

Bringing the fun back to the frow

Across the runways this season, a sense of play and escapism brought a refreshing hopefulness to fashion (and even a smile to the lips of the often stony-faced front row). From Ashish declaring his collection was about “beauty, magic and escapism” from “the horribleness that is happening”, to Marc Jacobs describing his joy-inducing show as, “a celebration of life, joy, equality, individuality, optimism, happiness, indulgence, dreams and a future unwritten”, the collections set a positive tone that championed the power of togetherness.

Balmain – dress / Balenciaga – sunglasses
Balmain – dress / Balenciaga – sunglasses
Casablanca – silk shirt / Tom Ford – trousers

Meet photographer Paolo Zerbini

Our shoot photographer, Paolo Zerbini, is known for capturing moments of joy in the everyday, from the sublime to the ridiculous. His ongoing project ‘Bellissimo’ recasts characters from southern Italy in the pages of a glossy spoof magazine, offering tender moments of storytelling with a fair few laughs along the way. For us, his warm, humorous style is the perfect antidote to doom-laden headlines and over-serious fashion spreads (not to mention those January blues…).

16Arlington – leather jacket and trousers / Missoma – earrings


I think humour plays a big part in my work…The images need to carry an energy which I often try to find through enjoyment and silly situations, rather than stress and being overly demanding with the team or my subjects.

Photographer Paolo Zerbini


Now things have totally changed. Many brands are embracing being more relatable and fun for consumers.

Renowned fashion meme creator @FreddieMade

Moschino – denim jacket and skirt / Vanessa Mooney – earrings
Moschino – denim jacket and skirt / Vanessa Mooney – earrings
Tom Ford – blazer and trousers / Prada – tie / Paul Smith – shirt


The Casablanca show was set in an intimate, beautiful garden in Paris and was a very joyful and uplifting collection. Charaf Tajer has quickly created a brand that is reflective of a very aspirational (very Miami!) lifestyle.

Jack Cassidy, Head of Buying – Menswear, Selfridges

Casablanca – jacket and jeans / Acne Studios – shirt
Boyy – bag / Moschino – bag
Boyy – bag (exclusive to Selfridges) / Moschino – bag
Alexander McQueen – blazer / Casablanca - blue knit top / OAMC - trousers / Balenciaga – trainers


More good news!

A sustainable future for fashion

There’s no avoiding the fact that the fashion industry needs to change its ways if we’re going to solve the climate crisis. Good news, then, that many emerging brands and renowned fashion houses are starting to weave sustainability into everything they do. Here at Selfridges, sustainability is at the very heart of our business and we’ve got some exciting announcements to make later this year ­– watch this space. Discover more by clicking below.

Boundary-breaking style experiments at The Co.Lab

If you thought fashion was starting to feel a little stagnant, think again. We’re inviting you to discover a brave new era for fashion at The Co.Lab, created in partnership with Highsnobiety. This one-of-a-kind space at our Corner Shop in Selfridges London features exclusive merch and amazing limited-edition collaborations, as fine art meets streetwear and Paris’s much-loved Colette is given a new lease of life…