The dress is short! or longer. Gothic black is back! And so is minimal white. Today, the look doesn’t cycle in and out, but rather evolves — one idea quickly building on another, giving you more and more to choose from. Here are the standout runway talking points set to define AW22:
Look: Tweed 3.0
‘Dedicating the entire collection to tweed is a tribute,’ says Virginie Viard, who arrived to cover the Chanel show venue in different colors of the fabric. That’s where the homage stopped, though: Queen in the Highlands it wasn’t (though fishing waders did make a surprise appearance on the runway). This season’s trend is sweet but not saccharine, sophisticated but still playful, with an upbeat and totally youthful feel. Tweed shorts suit to the office, anyone?
Trend: School uniform
Pleated plaid kilts, Peter-pan collars, half-undone neck ties, white tights and gym-kits: AW22 produced many looks designed to bunk behind bike sheds. An insouciance of the sixties informed the Miu Miu show – these are styles for girls who are too good for school.
Printed silk scarves are a highlight this season. Clash colors and contrasts, because anything goes—as long as you master the Sloane Ranger knot. Alternatively, tighten it with a leather tie.
Silhouette: Gender neutral
The lines are blurred when it comes to gender dressing. What works now is a flexible take on both men’s and women’s fashion, using timeless tailoring as a starting point to deconstruct style norms, as seen at Erdem: ‘I was thinking of the avant-garde expressionism of Weimar Berlin. Imagining characters like dancer Anita Berber, and how she would wear a suit. I loved the idea of showing similar tailored silhouettes on both men and women – they’re fluid and interchangeable.’
fragment: on the edge
Matthieu Blazy’s Bottega Veneta debut was full of sure-fire hits. But this season’s super-sorry, street-style standout will definitely be her leather midi skirt. ‘Botega Veneta is practical in its essence, as it is a leather goods company. Because it specializes in bags, it’s all about movement and going somewhere. There is fundamentally an idea of craft in motion,’ he says, of his inspiration for the swinging fringe. ‘In its timelessness it is style rather than fashion. That’s part of its calming power.’
Length: Short and sweet
A revival of the mini dress appeared on the AW22 catwalks, where Sixties rebellion collided with Noughties exuberance in a pastel-hued parade that was simply sick. Miu Miu hit the hemline high again, but sweet little looks are everywhere from Loewe to Simone Rocha. ‘My most recent collection was basically inspired [Irish myth] Descendants of Lir. Children transform when they are still young, and I wanted to translate that youth and naivety into a silhouette. So some hemlines became more subtle during adolescence,’ says Rocha.
Accessory: Thigh High Club
‘The taller, the better’ is this season’s footwear motto. These are the boots to style with mini skirts and dresses – look for metallics and jewel tones.
Size: Maxi Coat
We don’t usually like style dictates, but AW22 made one thing clear: if in doubt, throw a long and lean coat over it.
Statement: Catsuits vs. bodysuits
How short, tight, cropped and sheer can you go? It is a trend for those who dare to bare.
Mood: I see through you
Risqué necklines, slinky slips studded with delicate sequins, and fabulous lace dresses dominate the catwalks this season. Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons featured crystal-studded mesh numbers, while Erdem’s Thirties-inspired collection included several dresses in transparent lace.
Texture: Pull up wool
It’s time to turn off the heating and switch to sweater dressing. From coats to cardigans, two-pieces and twin sets, anything is long enough that it’s knitted.
Vibe: Pretty in punk
Rebellion is always a good idea. Punk energy flowed through AW22: lingerie dressing went hard with crystal embellishments, vinyl boots gave the babydoll silhouette an edge and feminism was everywhere. If you only pick one element, make it Miu Miu’s velvet-and-diamond choker.
Last season’s sex obsession has turned off the heat for AW22. Tying a corset over a tonal top is the new way to body-con.
Paul: Oh my gosh
Go hell for leather this season – make sure it’s black, slick and super shiny. More protective than provocative, AW22’s styles look like a kind of body armor. Embrace the dark side, from military-inspired corsetry at Dior and Balmain to envelope coats and tinted visors at Dolce & Gabbana and glittery combat boots at Alexander McQueen.
This article appears in the September 2022 issue of ELLE, available on newsstands from July 28.