Welcome to The Style Issue, which showcases the best of the S/S21 collections, the first to have been conceived, shown and sold against the backdrop of the pandemic. Across leading fashion houses and emerging labels, one thing was clear: with remote working and socialising now de rigueur, there was less penchant for flamboyant gestures, and a renewed emphasis on styles that endure.

Our Newspaper section, photographed by Josh David Payne, celebrates this new minimalism. We highlight pared-back pieces that nonetheless captivate with their sculptural forms and tactile materials – including a pair of calfskin and beechwood clogs from Hermès (our newsstand cover star), and a Ferragamo trench coat that pays homage to Hitchcock’s heroines. Both convey a laid-back yet luxurious mood that is echoed in our main menswear story, photographed by Nolwenn Brod.

We dedicate six pages to the new Fendi womenswear collection, the final solo outing by Silvia Venturini Fendi before Kim Jones joins her at the creative helm. Inspired by family values, heirloom fabrics, and embracing a soothing palette of white and light blues, her looks perfectly capture the spirit of the times. Photographer Stefanie Moshammer scaled the Austrian alps to bring the collection to life, conjuring up a set of images that ignite our long-frustrated wanderlust.

There is a similarly personal dimension to the work of three rising stars featured in our mini-profiles: Supriya Lele, duo Chopova Lowena, and Thebe Magugu, who draw on their individual influences (Indian, Bulgarian and South African, respectively) to bring fresh energy to the fashion industry. Likewise we look to jeweller Emefa Cole, whose quietly opulent pieces honour Ghanaian goldsmithing traditions.

Other creatives featured in the issue speak of reinvention: our limited-edition subscribers’ cover artist Dozie Kanu describes the ‘endearing messiness’ he witnessed in his parents’ homeland of Nigeria, which encouraged him to move away from slicker sculptures into more visceral assemblages of found objects. Chef-turned-crochet designer Lulu Kaalund recalls how an accident five years ago forced her into a new career, resulting in joyfully idiosyncratic work that is now embraced by many fashion labels in her native Denmark.

Elsewhere, fashion designer Ryohei Kawanishi explains his gear change from creative director of New York streetwear label Landlord to concept store owner in his hometown of Tottori, in south-west Japan. Different though their stories may be, they share a sense of optimism and improvisation fit for uncertain times.

Finally, we journey to Provence, where Richard Rogers is signing off his groundbreaking career with a simply brilliant and gravity-defying drawing pavilion at Château La Coste. As our contributing editor Deyan Sudjic describes, the structure brings together three of the architect’s signatures: a sense of lightness, a love of bold colour, and making the most of a view. It’s a masterclass, more relevant than ever, in building for the ages.

Sarah Douglas