London Fashion Week is back. Though some designers are presenting off-schedule or joining their menswear and womenswear shows, the sentiment remains the same: great fashion. See what’s in store for spring 2022 from some of our favorite Brits and get your preorder list started now.
This article originally appeared on Harper’s BAZAAR US.
Richard Quinn knows color and print, and he didn’t change up the game too much this spring—if anything, he played it a bit more safe. Where fall included face-obscuring bodysuits and printed bows that would make your standard-width doorways troublesome, spring’s punch was slightly more palatable to IRL-wearing (though a very specific IRL). The colors were still vivid and the prints upholstery-worthy; silhouettes were pushed, with pants that covered feet and sleeves that cocooned hands; and heavily padded shoulders went out and up. It’s exaggeration as art form, where simply being regal or punk or granny-chic isn’t enough to stand out from the crowd. In Quinn’s world, all must be leveled up (perhaps explaining why show opener Lila Moss, progeny of Kate, couldn’t simply rely on her famous moniker but received a dose of eyebrow bleach, too). More is more, and extra is extra. — Leah Melby Clinton
JW Anderson calls this collection “an uncompromising exploration of texture, material, and volume,” and as usual, the British design bae is right on target. His latest creations flirt the line between fabric sculpture and “sexy style for smart girls,” including a knit crop top with a mushroom cloud miniskirt, a shimmering slip dress made of tiny soft tassels, and a hot pink dress with the same high shine as a Barbie plastic box. There’s also a damn good new bag—dubbed The Bumper—along with tie-dye logo footies that are half DIY, half “don’t even think about being this cool.” But of course, we will think about that, and think a lot about this collection’s dare-to-wear proportions, because with looks created by Anderson, that’s kind of the whole point. —Faran Krentcil
Simone Rocha typically offers up a handful of words that give a sense of her headspace designing her latest collection. This season, they included “daughters,” “sleep walking,” “mothering,” and “lack of sleep”—which all makes sense since she recently gave birth to her second daughter, Noah Roses. Despite the reference to somnambulism, Rocha didn’t dial-in Spring 2022: it was a beautiful bricolage of very English nursery fabrics like cotton poplin, broderie anglaise, and what she called “bedding brocade” rendered in her signature puff skirted silhouettes and smart coord sets with exaggerated collars. A lovely floral robe dress with dramatic lantern sleeves looked like just the kind of thing a tired new mom—or lets be honest, anyone these days—would love to throw on for a quick fashion pick-me-up. —Alison S. Cohn
Toga designer Yasuko Furuta often thinks in shades of contrast: black and white, hard and soft, formal and informal. Furata reportedly named her line after the historical Toga garment, and for Spring 2022, some of the references could be seen, all done up in modern takes. “City, Containment, Exposure,” the show notes simply read. There were flow-y printed shirt dresses with bubble hems and cape-like swathes of fabric that expanded in the breeze, but also utilitarian leather jackets, suiting and trousers that hit all the right angles and offered up a bit of sophisticated draping and pragmatism. Gender-fluid staples came with details that made you look twice–metallic appliqué sweaters and roughed-up tulle coats included. The last look, a pair of graffiti jeans with a floor-length fluffy bodice cut down the center, proved the concept of a study of contrasts. —Kristen Bateman
One can always count on Emilia Wickstead for a special sort of charming romanticism. This season, she delivered yet again, but with a twist. Alongside white garden dresses peppered with blue and red blooming heart and flying swallow prints (perfectly positioned against meticulously manicured shrub backdrops for the lookbook), there were also sculptural dresses and jumpsuits offered up in pairings of watermelon pink and grassy green. Near-neon shades of orange and chartreuse came in flattering A-line dresses and surprising crop top and skirt combinations, which felt brand new for the designer. But come next spring, we have a strong inkling the eggshell dresses and pants, with their matching textural jackets, will be a new favorite of the Duchess of Cambridge who is one of the label’s biggest fans. —Kristen Bateman
After moving into a new home in Bloomsbury, London, during the pandemic, Erdem Moralioglu’s signature dark romance got kicked into high gear for his 15th-anniversary collection. He tapped the closets of Bloomsbury’s historic residents, Edith Sitwell and Ottoline Morrell, for inspiration and showcased the collection in a place he, Sitwell, and Morrell love more than most: the British Museum, also in Bloomsbury. Sitwell and Morell were known for dressing outside their time, in almost period dress. The same can be said for Moralioglu’s girls, who leaned toward poet sleeves, mock necklines, Victorian details, toiles, and laces over anything overtly modern. The column-lined halls of the museum seemed the perfect place to showcase Erdem’s unfussed fussiness, styled with boyish brogues, natural makeup, and periodically with Baroque pearls and ladylike chapeaux. —Carrie Goldberg
There’s always something wonderfully theatrical about Richard Malone. Heavy silk satins felt like they could have lived a previous life as luxe curtains, while his ruching evoked the way said curtains might sweep out and up when graciously parting before the show began. Each and every garment is a creation with a capital C, the opposite of a throwaway look meant to fill out the gaps. The latter is decidedly not Malone’s MO, with a focus on sustainability and a made-to-order business that dictates each item being something special, an investment piece you’re adding for the long-haul. Fashion is both an art form and a platform to make a statement for him (making his decision to partner with Mulberry on two bags to celebrate the label’s 50th an endorsement for the heritage brand). —Leah Melby Clinton
Part of Rejina Pyo’s thing is an aesthetic that could trick you into believing someone was wearing a pitch-perfect piece of vintage unearthed in some dusty corner shop. It was no different this time, with a ’70s flair seen in shape and shade. These are clothes for disco nights and mornings (and disco desks and disco getaways—the pre-show teases all featured pools and chlorinated ripples, and the runway included some swim and other poolside-ready pieces). While the decade is out of synch per the maxim that trends recycle every 20 years, it makes sense that we’re craving its particular mix of languid-meets-sexy. We’re ready to see and be seen again, yes, but that doesn’t mean we’re giving up the comfort we’ve collectively adopted. What’s old is new again—and so very right for the moment. —Leah Melby Clinton
You can slot Anna Mason into the same floaty, floral tribe as lace-trimmed labels like Zimmermann and Self Portrait, with one big exception: The London-based designer makes her pieces made-to-order, ensuring her production process has less waste and more custom options than other ready-to-wear labels. She also uses local fabrics whenever possible—and with this collection, that means tie-dying her own textiles. Mason’s also got a few BBDs (big black dresses) in the mix, because Bridgerton Goth feels like a wise investment for 2022 and beyond. —Faran Krentcil
Charlotte Knowles courts a specific type of swooner for her clothes, and it’s easy to nudge the designer’s snatch-and-grab corsetry into just one (sexy, young, body-con) lane. Full disclosure: I certainly did. But this season’s offerings are kind of astounding, and beyond the second-skin construction of Knowles’ signature bodices, there are even more reasons to fast track this label to must-watch status. Check out the shirred shirt that looks like moonlit water waves, the power suiting that riffs on ’90s Donna Karan, and the confident leatherwork for clues. The bootcut jeans are fun, too, because this collection is called “Adrenaline,” and look, there’s nothing like the rush of pulling a college staple back from the dead… except maybe wearing a corset and knowing you own the room, all while owning a piece from London’s next big thing. —Faran Krentcil
“What would you wear on a desert island?” Elleme proposes a lot of pastels, at least according to their latest collection, shot on location at an actual sand quarry outside Paris. The collection is made to mix-and-match, and easily folds down to tiny fabric cubes—a hallmark of pack-and-go minimalism—but creative director Jingjing Fan injects midnight blues and stoplight reds into the mostly-neutral baseline, because in the fashion world, “basic” and “boring” keep floating further and further apart. And though these are undoubtedly “vacation clothes,” with pieces like a tie-dye cloud windbreaker and a series of mermaid net sweaters, you’ve got to wonder if these pieces turn any place they appear into a destination. —Faran Krentcil
Softness is a kind of radical honesty for designers. Without the shaping from stiffer fabrics and stricter seams, a lot more of the natural body—and the natural talent of the seamstress—gets revealed. That’s what‘s made Molly Goddard’s pieces remarkable, with her mix of slinky knitwear and frothed tulle showing exactly what a girl can do with some imagination, skills, and bravery. This season, Goddard added baggy jeans into the mix, with some worn as pantaloons under floaty, sheer tunics. There were also dudes in exaggerated skater smocks and puffy pastel bags, the kind that could be throw pillows if turned upside-down. But softness isn’t weakness, and Goddard is a businesswoman first, which might be why more commercial pieces like heart cardigans, striped logo socks, and tumble-down pink dresses were the standouts here. Also, wait, are ballet flats a thing again? Make it so! —Faran Krentcil
If you’ve come to London Fashion Week for a modern look at storied British fare, look no further than Margaret Howell. Silk scarves, English bridle leather accessories, and Mackintosh anoraks with oversized welt pockets are just some of the hallmarks of classic English style. Mixed with shirts, Japanese denim, menswear inspired tailoring, and oversized button downs, it’s a cool remix of tried and true staples done up in a warm palette of greens, browns, black and creams.
You can always count on Grace Wales Bonner for a truly unique concept to begin her new collections. For spring ’22, the starting place is the tradition of West African studio portraiture, and in particular, the work of Burkinabe artist Sanlé Sory—who photographed a stylish group of young, cool studio visitors in the 1970s in black-and-white, using a Rolleiflex camera. He also documented nightlife in the city of Burkina Faso, formerly Upper Volta. And so the ’70s with a sultry hint peek through a collection of layered cotton and silk shirting, textural mohair knits, and woven dresses. It’s elegant but casual—hitting just the exact right note.
In the years since Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi launched Preen, the line has become known for its dedication to contemporary romanticism. That means plenty of ruffled floral dresses, voluminous sleeves and ladylike silhouettes. Something else we can always count on the brand for? A kaleidoscopic approach to color, even in the dullest days of the pandemic. For Spring 2022, the designer duo delivered on all that, plus more. There were ditsy floral-printed dresses spruced up with sculptural asymmetrical hemlines, toile print blouses with ruffled cups, leather frilled skirts with wayward cutouts, and off-the-shoulder dresses in bold shades of cobalt blue with unexpected ruching. The brand opted for a digital presentation and created a video that showcased the collection with hyperreal collages including spaceships, the static fuzz of an old TV and a cavernous desert landscape. Preen wanted to make one thing clear: there’s power in layering. Come spring, take a cue from the styling and pair blossoming dresses with checkered turtlenecks, tactical, utilitarian corsets over puffed dresses, and boldly oversized patchwork jackets with skirts so that the hemline just barely shows. Opposites attract. —Kristen Bateman
Subversive knits may be trending, but Mark Fast has been doing them for years. Fast launched his brand 12 years ago and puts an emphasis on pushing the boundaries of modern knitwear–from demi-couture dresses spun of yarn, to sculptural knitted bustiers embellished with sequins and feathers. It’s no wonder he names Beyoncé, Tilda Swinton and Grace Jones as fans. For Spring 2022, the designer took guests to a vivid graffiti-covered venue where we saw both sides of knitwear. Bodycon, cut-out dresses hugged every curve, their edges flanked with heavy metal chains glimmering under the runway’s spotlights. Cozy, oversized knitted vests and jackets gave way to a sporty element, made even more prevalent with the addition of chunky bubble hem shorts and acid wash denim. Breezy button-downs and lightweight jackets were thrown over cut-out bodysuits for good measure. —Kristen Bateman