Fall/winter 2022 marks the return to in-person shows for almost all designers. They rose to the occasion with collections that ignited both delight and desire. Be it armour or adornment you seek, these are the clothes in which to face the world today.
The love affair between Chanel and tweed was born of a literal romance—Gabrielle Chanel used to wear the tweed pieces of her lover, the Duke of Westminster. In 1925, Chanel then introduced the now-famous tweed suit in her salon on Rue de Cambon in Paris, giving way to a future where women wore—and coveted—this rebranded fabric. So when Virginie Viard set the memo for fall/winter 2022, it was no surprise that the Grand Palais Éphémere was decked out in tweed, too. The runway itself was not meant to be a green carpet, but a representation of the River Tweed, the body of water that runs across the border of Scotland and England. What better way to honour the Maison’s DNA than by literally swathing it in it? The clothes were delightfully candy-coloured, with generous doses of teal and raspberry that look renewed when rendered in the timeless textile. And in step with the bucolic references of the collection, cardigans were aptly cosy—styled with Chanel rubber wellies, no less.
Burberry’s first live show in two years was far from a traditional runway: Riccardo Tisci sent models walking on dinner tables, with full table settings secured to the tablecloths as guests sat around banquet-style. This playful irreverence for propriety and etiquette was central to the collection’s celebration of British-ness, the heartbeat of Burberry. From deconstructed Nova checks to chainmail reminiscent of British knights, the collection was Tisci’s way of celebrating—and challenging—the brand’s roots. The signature trench coat, for instance, was pierced with chain-links; and evening gowns were crafted out of the most utilitarian of textiles, Burberry’s trademark beige gabardine. Yet there were moments of Gen Z relevance, too—second-skin mesh tops were seen emblazoned with Burberry’s insignia, and the powder pink numbers were simply a feast for the digital gaze.
Daniel Lee brought edge and energy to Bottega Veneta before his dramatic, if mysterious, exit. Matthieu Blazy, his successor and the new Creative Director of the House, is keeping the energy though he is sanding down the edges for a more classical kind of beauty. “Investment pieces” is by now an industry cliché but it is the perfect description of Blazy’s thoughtfully reconsidered and impeccably executed staples. See the opening look of tank top and jeans—only these were crafted in leather. See also the new bags and boots, woven in one piece with no visible seams. Blazy’s clothes have motion and dynamism built into them. The clearest examples are the trousers designed a touch longer at the back, the coats with curved, swooping backs, and the full leather skirts with swishing underlayers of fringe. Even the smallest details have been thought through—from the raised, padded shoulder straps on classic sheaths to the tuxedo trousers cropped to reveal furry, fluoro shoes.
This season, Anthony Vaccarello’s Saint Laurent girl has grown up. The designer has always interpreted the legacy of Yves Saint Laurent through a sexy party-girl lens but this time around, Vaccarello has taken a more sophisticated approach. The silhouette is long and lean, built on a delicate foundation of sinuous, bias-cut gowns and wispy silk and chi on dresses. Over these, Vaccarello layered powerful, protective pieces: sharp tuxedo jackets; sleek leather trenches; mannish overcoats; plush faux furs. The effect is one of both softness and strength—the latter quality amplified even further with the stacks of bracelets and bangles layered on each arm, like some kind of modern armour. Even fully covered up, the models exuded the sex appeal that Vaccarello has made his calling card at the House—expressed not through the usual ultra-short hemlines and bare breasts but with elegant, womanly restraint.
One of Jonathan Anderson’s greatest strengths as a designer is his synchronicity with the times we live in—his ability to translate feeling and a cultural mood into cloth. Fall/winter 2022 sees Anderson creating surrealist fashion for our surreal times at LOEWE. There were dresses with windswept folds frozen in leather; toy cars and high heels shrouded or suspended in fabric; gowns with a puckered pout for a bustier. Above all, Anderson was particularly enamoured with balloons: They peeked out from between shoe straps or were squeezed into the drapery of dresses; elsewhere, they were turned into 2D prints or 3D bra cups. Anderson’s flourishes might skew towards irreverence but the collection is underpinned by an o -kilter kind of elegance—one that is sensual, surreal and slightly perverse, and thus, all the more compelling.
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As fashion’s collective fascination with youth culture continues to climb, a new age of cool adolescence took centre stage at Louis Vuitton. By now, Nicolas Ghesquière’s brand of retrofuturism is synonymous with the Vuitton girl: She’s edgy, eclectic, and utterly plugged into the zeitgeist. Sartorially, this was translated through the tongue-in-cheek references to collegiate wear. Pinafores were rendered in heavily sequinned tweed, with baggy pockets that fell well below the waistline; and Squid Game star Jung Ho-yeon opened the show in a slouchy get-up of burgundy leather, pinstripe trousers and a fl oral silk tie. Meanwhile, black-and-white photographs of British fashion photographer David Sims from the 1990s appeared alongside what looked like sprayed-on slip dresses. In a time when youthfulness is so often misguidedly reduced to TikTok and self-absorption, this collection instead seemed to pick up on the dry yet astute wit of the younger generation.
The first look out at Hedi Slimane’s latest show for CELINE was a pair of straight-legged, raw-edged jeans in faded blue, worn with pointy black boots and a burgundy sweater that ended in a flowing cape at the back. It was drama and effortlessness all in one. The rest of the collection continued building on that tension between dressed up and down. Outerwear was a highlight, ranging from oversize black leather jackets to boxy blazers in herringbone or pinstripes. The foundation consisted of those blue jeans, a black turtleneck and a chunky silver or gold chain around the collar. The collection marked a return to glamour for Slimane, who for the past few seasons, expanded the vocabulary of CELINE to include athleisure and streetwear. Of course, Slimane’s kind of glamour is infused with the spirit of rock ’n’ roll and a healthy dose of insouciance.
Simplicity was key at Ferragamo’s fall/winter 2022 show. The Italian label stripped things way back by opting for a presentation
housed in the Sala delle Cariatidi of Palazzo Reale in Milan. There was a resonant disregard for gendered conventions in the
collection—both the menswear and womenswear were compelling o erings for a simply well-designed wardrobe—36 looks, to be
exact. This was a collection that whispered its elegance: All-cream ensembles were rendered in luxurious knits, and the approach to
colour felt particularly artful with the occasional pops of crimson amid a sea of neutrals. It’s clear the collection does not
compromise on comfort: The drawstring boiler suits were effortlessly integrated in an otherwise dominantly cosy collection.
Attention must also be paid to the accessories which were unabashedly roomy and functional.
Sarah Burton looked to the underground world of fungi for Alexander McQueen’s fall/winter 2022 collection. Referencing the fungal network known as mycelium, the collection was also a rumination on the roots of the brand. Homages to Lee McQueen’s greatest hits were clear: Shalom Harlow’s iconic robotically spray-painted white dress from spring/summer 1999 was reimagined as a print on an all white power suit; whilst the intricate bodices of 1996’s “Dante” were reborn in the form of midi dresses. The allusion to psychedelia is curiously subtle, with acidic shades of marigold and fluorescent chartreuse that could convert even the most stubborn colourphobe. And what of the atmosphere? Count on the British brand to deliver its brand of theatricality: The Cure’s 1980 track “A Forest” played in the background as models snaked between mounds of peat in a Brooklyn warehouse.
Streetwear is well and alive at Givenchy, and we have Matthew M. Williams to thank for that. Opening the show with a covetable line-up of slashed and cropped metal band tees, this season saw the brand settle into the niche intersection of street and luxury that Williams has spent seasons carving out. It’s a Givenchy that is nearly unrecognisable from the days of Hubert de Givenchy, but one could argue that in 2022, such a direction is as equally on the nose as Audrey Hepburn in pearls in the 1950s. Speaking of Hepburn’s iconic pearls, they were reimagined as a mini evening dress, fully decked out in opalescent baubles; and other times enlarged round the neck on a simple black turtleneck. The season’s It shoe, the TK-360, was the talk of the town, too—rendered entirely from knit, sole-free, and sculptural.
The year is 2022. Dior’s iconic 1947 Bar jacket has been turned inside out and reconfigured to thermoregulate. This isn’t Maria Grazia Chiuri’s vision of the future, but of the present. As we inch closer towards Black Mirror-esque realities, wearable tech has become less and less of a sci-fi plausibility and more and more of a fashion statement—at least on Dior’s watch. This jacket, in particular, was the result of a collaboration with Italian company D-Air Lab, a tech research lab that specialises in personal safety garments. The rest of the collection was equally bold in its proposition of techno-utility: heavy-duty gloves; caged armours; corsets that resembled scavenged CPU panels; and in true Chiuri style, a slogan that read “The Next Era”. But the softer sides of the luxury house still shone through in the form of the elegant tulle numbers Chiuri does so well—almost as if to assure us that even as machines take over the world, beauty prevails.
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Kim Jones has long been a master of remixing his references and after two years at the helm of Fendi’s womenswear, he has amassed a ready vocabulary of archival Lagerfeld at his fingertips. Case in point: The diaphanous, flirty blouses we saw on the runway this season were a direct homage to the ones Karl Lagerfeld concocted for Fendi’s spring/summer 2000 collection. Bella Hadid opened the show in a furry pink zip-up, teamed with elbow-length evening gloves and the most delicate of slip dresses. There is a softness to this collection despite the seemingly dystopian concrete venue, which was aptly matched with boned bodices and holster-like bustiers. The high-collared outerwear was particularly authoritative, making the leather pieces feel surprisingly more approachable. And who could forget Fendi’s pride and joy, the Baguette bag? As a whole new generation discovers the wonders of the Carrie Bradshaw-approved It bag, it continues to secure its presence—even today.
There is a new kind of body consciousness at the house of Hermès. Artistic Director Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski showed a penchant for strong, stark lines this season—characterised not only in the panels of leather and mesh found in the collection, but the slats of light and darkness that permeated the set of Hermès’ fall/winter 2022 show. This was the brand’s way of conveying an alternative vision of sensuality: Sexiness often isn’t shown, but implied—and Vanhee-Cybulski certainly understood this. True to the Hermès DNA, there was an unmatched level of precision to the tailoring this season. Looks were cut close to the body, and the play on opacity and sheerness was used to great effect across the entire collection. And of course, what is Hermès without heritage? While not immediately apparent, the closures found on the outerwear are a nod to the brand’s equestrian roots, modelled after the 1830s horse harnesses found in Thierry Hermès’ Parisian workshop.
There is never a dull moment in the Gucci cinematic universe under the direction of Alessandro Michele. This season, the runway was turned into a funhouse with undulating mirrors panelling the walls and distorting the reflections of the looks that grazed past them. Titled “Exquisite Gucci”, fall/winter 2022 borrows its name from the Surrealist game, cadavre exquis (which literally translates to ‘exquisite corpse’), where players would take turns drawing a part of the human body, and concealing it before passing it on to the next player to continue. This spirit of leaving it up to chance was the Surrealists’ way of disrupting our penchant for order—and that’s exactly what Michele has been doing since his debut in 2015. This was calibrated chaos at its best: Suits were spliced, prints clashed, and logos crossbred. This comes fresh off the heels of a crossover with Balenciaga last season. This time, the brand has joined forces with adidas, giving way to fun three-striped headgear, double-breasted suits, and zip-up Gucci-adidas bustiers that hybridised their respective iconographies.
What does one wear in the metaverse? For Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, this proposition was the leading question for their collection this season. The show was imagined as a video game, and the set reflected this—deliberately stimulating moving visuals made up the runway, as Machine Gun Kelly headlined the show. Copious amounts of black opened the presentation in a myriad of Matrix-worthy permutations: gartered stockings; amplified shoulders; and a cocoon-shaped puffer that literally swaddled the body. The most memorable looks of the collection came in the form of the massive yeti-like fur ensembles, and the red vinyl looks that rooted the collection in ‘why not’ absurdity. In the metaverse, fashion is free to defy gravity and reality. For Dolce&Gabbana, this is possible in the real world, too.
It’s not common for Miuccia Prada to explore and expound the same train of thought two seasons in a row. But after the mammoth success of last season’s super-minis and chopped tops, it comes as no surprise. For fall/winter 2022, Prada revisited the concept of subverting uniforms and archetypes via unexpected proportions—only this time around, she turned her eye from corporate uniforms to country club style. Prada hacked away at tennis whites to show o abs and thighs, and had skirts riding low on the waist to reveal Miu Miu-branded silk briefs underneath. She paired these with long ribbed socks and soft ballet flats. The rest of the collection continued the juxtaposition between shrunken-and-sliced silhouettes against hulking or sweeping coats, with the introduction of printed snakeskin, moto leathers, shearling and herringbone into the mix. The leathers looked especially smashing when given an aged patina or delicate embroideries. And while the collection wasn’t quite the official return of Miu Miu’s menswear line, the show’s gender-diverse cast highlighted the universality of Prada’s vision and the cross-gender appeal of her clothes.
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The opening statement of Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons’ latest collection was a white tank top—plain, save for the Prada triangle set into the chest. It was worn with a trisected pencil skirt composed of panels in wool, satin and embroidered mesh. With just two garments, the designers brought together the everyday and the elevated, the humble and the opulent. The rest of the collection continued in the same vein—a reconciliation of seeming contradictions. Bomber jackets sprouted feathers or came encrusted with paillettes; mannish overcoats sported thick bands of candy-coloured faux fur; and sombre black dresses were adorned at the necklines with chains of pearls askew. The opening skirt returned in different variations—ribbed knits, Lurex, leather; sometimes sheer, to reveal boy briefs underneath. The duo also brought back Prada’s seminal ugly-chic geometric prints from the 1990s, but it was a remix, not a rehash—one underscored by the multigenerational cast of Prada faces past and present.