For the last 18 months and the past three fashion seasons, the concept of a traditional fashion week has not existed. As a result of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and the social restrictions that have come with it, designers have not been able to host catwalk shows in the way we once knew them, with many fashion houses turning to digital formats or hosting audience-free shows, with some even forgoing the concept altogether. However, this month will see more in-person fashion shows than we have experienced for a very long time. Although the schedules are still not quite back to normal, a loosening of restrictions in the four major fashion capitals will allow fashion week to take place in a physical setting – and plenty of designers are returning to the catwalk for the first time since March 2020.
The schedule began earlier this month in New York City, where there was quite the buzz around the shows as fashion’s finest flew into town for the Met Gala, which was postponed to Monday 13 September. The fashion set then headed to London, Milan and Paris, where there is be plenty of excitement with the return of the front row, debut designer collections and a beautiful tribute to the late Alber Elbaz in Paris, where 40 designers have paid homage to his work with a collection dedicated to the couturier.
Below, we round up every major catwalk moment you need to see from New York, London, Milan and Paris as designers across the globe present their spring/summer 2022 collections.
With thanks to Mercedes Benz
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Burberry chose to host its spring/summer 2022 show outside of the traditional London Fashion Week schedule, presenting its ‘Animal Instincts’ collection yesterday via a show which was livestreamed for all fans to see.
“To me, this presentation really represents the freedom of our imaginations: how we dream to come alive,” Riccardo Tisci, Burberry’s chief creative officer said. “I wanted to move through a series of immersive spaces, each of them unique and unexpected in their sound, texture and experience. It’s that idea of flicking between the endless realities and fantasies we have at our fingertips each day. This is for my mother, Elmerinda, and to a journey full of new possibilities.”
At a time when we’re valuing togetherness over dissonance, and support over anything more self-serving, two heritage Italian brands came together in one history-making catwalk event, as Fendi and Versace closed out Milan Fashion Week in exceptional style. The two storied fashion houses collaborated on a show – named ‘Fendace’ – which saw Donatella Versace switch places with Fendi’s creative leads, Kim Jones and Silvia Venturini-Fendi, so that each was able to design and innovate on behalf of the others’ brand. The result was a glorious celebration of fashion and the power of collaboration, which saw both Fendi and Versace signatures blended together.
“It’s a first in the history of fashion: two designers having a true creative dialogue that stems from respect and friendship,” said Donatella Versace. “It led to us swapping roles to create these two collections.”
Read more about the collaboration, and see more from the Fendace collection, here.
“Max Mara imagines a writer; a smart, sulky, Beat Generation intellectuelle tapping out the story of a long hot summer on an old school typewriter,” the house described of the inspiration behind its SS22 collection. “It’s a sophisticated account of romance, intrigue, moral conundrum and elegant ennui, played out against a background of smart villas, secluded beaches, fast cars, boats, chic restaurants and casinos.”
The collection referenced specifically writer Françoise Sagan and her masterpiece ‘Bonjour Tristesse’.
“We’re all existentialists now’, declare the pundits of modern philosophical thinking. Certainly, over the last year and a half, we’ve learned a thing or two about exploring our inner freedom, just like Sagan. The milieu she described prompted one critic to dub her ‘a luxury hotel existentialist’.”
Dua Lipa opened and closed the Versace show, which this season took inspiration from the transformative powers of the house’s iconic silk foulard, or scarves, taking pieces of fabric and “haphazardly” fastening and embellishing with another recognisable brand signature; the safety pin.
“The foulard is a fundamental component of Versace’s heritage and character,” said Donatella Versace. “It’s acted as a canvas for our iconic prints and is worn in multiple ways from knotted tops to headscarves to bag accessories – it’s a way of adding Versace attitude to any look. The foulard has been with us since the very beginning of the brand, but this season turns everything on its head, it is no longer fluid or dreamy, the scarf is provocative, sexy, wound tight.”
Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons made history for spring/summer 2022, showcasing two identical Prada collections simultaneously on different sides of the world. While one show was taking place at the Deposito of the Fondazione Prada in Milan, another show, with the exact same looks on different models, was happening at Bund 1 in Shanghai. To really emphasise the effect, the Shanghai show was live-streamed simultaneously on screens for the audience at the Milan show, and vice versa.
“Synchronous and simultaneous views epitomise the modern world: we observe, interact and communicate in a multitude of manners,” explained the show notes. “Within corresponding decors, video screens engage each show in dialogue with the other, physical and virtual realities. They bring two groups of people, on two sides of the world, together in a modern community.”
The collection itself was designed to explore “seduction through reduction” – the expression of sexuality through the stripping down of clothing.
The latest collection from Tod’s aimed to reaffirm the brand’s link with the world of art, sponsoring artists “who represent and recall the very strong manual use of materials” the house said. Following on from previous collaborations with Vanessa Beecroft and Thomas De Falco, Tod’s teamed up with Carlota Guerrero who told the story of her journey through the craftsmanship tools and the simulation of a virtual lab.
Celebrating its 40-year anniversary, Emporio Armani showed the men’s and women’s collections together for SS22, one which was entitled ‘Elsewhere’.
“Under the symbol of an eagle that flies high and knows no
boundaries, for forty years, Emporio Armani has been
expressing the joys of fashion free from imposed rules, that nevertheless maintains the harmony of shapes, balance, and the sense of nonchalant elegance that are the essence of Armani style,” the show notes read. “This season, the journey begins in an imaginary desert, crossing its oasis and ending in vibrant colourways. Everything blends together, quite freely.”
The SS22 Boss show took place at the Kennedy Stadium to celebrate its partnership with Russell Athletic, where the show was complete with a brass band, cheerleaders, mascots, supermodels and plenty of activewear.
Kim Jones presented his latest collection for Fendi on the opening day of Milan Fashion Week, sending plenty of muted colours, chic trouser suits and disco-inspired designs down the catwalk. The house described it as “a joyful exploration of Fendi’s signature irreverence, offering a modern perspective on disco-age glamour brimming with powerful, effortless femininity”.
Alberta Ferretti’s SS22 collection was entitled ‘Touch & Feel’, something which we all appreciate more than ever after the pandemic. “Being grounded, for Alberta Ferretti, is an expression of femininity: the ability to live the present time and respond with sturdy lightness,” the show notes read. “At a time when there are few certainties, Alberta Ferretti works on the certainty of the personal signature, of the metier, and of the women for whom she
does it. She focuses on the body, which she enhances through craftsmanship.”
Lucie and Luke Meier brought their trademark timelessness to Jil Sander’s latest collection, sending plenty of neutral, tailored or slinky silk pieces down the catwalk. However, there were some more playful moments in the collection too, including some bright pops of purple, yellow and even a dash of animal print.
Richard Quinn closed London Fashion Week with a show and cocktail party at The Londoner, which drew in an A-list crowd, including supermodel Kate Moss, who was on hand to support her daughter Lila on the catwalk. The show, which marked Quinn’s return to the catwalk after lockdown and his first since February 2020, was an emotional one for the designer. Describing the collection as a contrast between “tension and calm”, it was filled with many of the eccentric prints and over-the-top silhouettes that he has become so well known for, and which are always a favourite on the red carpet.
16Arlington’s Kikka Cavenati and Marco Capaldo wanted their SS22 collection to exude celebration and for it to “remind us that every day (and night) is worth making an effort for.”
“As we step into a new world, it’s time to go out – all out,” they said in their collection notes, referencing a sleek Nineties spirit, a lethal female attitude and dark elegance as inspiration for the designs.
“When thinking about this season, I was drawn to the elegance of a European summer; linen suits, slip dresses and sunsets,” Victoria Beckham said of her spring/summer 2022 collection. “The way a trip like that can make you feel almost detached from reality, like it’s another era. It’s quite romantic.”
The collection was filled with masculine touches, which played into the idea of “a couple sharing their holiday wardrobe,” she explained. “Your partner’s shirt thrown over your swimsuit or slip dress, a shacket tucked into tailored trousers. Swapping your everyday jewellery for a single heavy piece, something a little masculine.”
For the new summer season, Emilia Wickstead was inspired by the 1961 movie Last Year at Marienbad, which tells the story of an unnamed sophisticate who attempts to persuade a similarly unnamed woman that they have not only previously met, but that they were also romantically involved and had planned to elope together. The woman recalls no such encounter and so begins a
sensual and philosophical examination of the uncertainty of truth.
“Strikingly composed and beautifully shot in CinemaScope, Last Year at Marienbad hypnotically merges chronology to blur the boundaries of reality and fantasy, the past and the present,” the brand explains. “These themes and juxtapositions are woven into the spring/summer 2022 collection. A melding of old-world and modern proportions is at play.”
This season marked Simone Rocha’s 10-year anniversary, and the designer chose to focus on the topic of mother-daughter relationships. “I wanted to blow up those childlike proportions and distort them, mix them with the sleepless nights that come with having a daughter,” she explained, while she also referenced “the nursing bra, the breast and the nourishing nature of the milk — sharing it and elevating it with these embellished bras.”
For spring/summer 2022, Molly Goddard was inspired by her childhood. The designer blew up baby dresses she wore as a child to adult size, tracing the pattern and make them 10 or 20 times bigger.
“I was eight months pregnant when I started designing this collection and imagined the clothes my child would wear, I was fixated on smocked dresses, tracksuit bottoms and ballet pumps,” she said. “I enjoyed the repetition in this collection and the familiarity, it is nostalgic and visceral. I worked closely with my sister and stylist Alice Goddard, I don’t have a design team so
she was my go-between with the studio while I was on maternity leave. It’s a collection that already feels familiar to me full of good memories of growing up, and the anticipation of the exciting time
ahead I have with my son.”
For SS22, Roksanda chose to focus on the idea of motion, hosting a show at the Serpentine Pavillion, alongside an immersive performance choreographed by the artist Holly Blakey.
“When freedom becomes contained the need for movement rises to heights of new imagining,” the designer said. “The focus on ‘motion’ builds an atmosphere of change and through this, the narratives of women and placement in society have been explored as the basis of the spring/summer 2022 collection.”
“This season sees a navigation of the intention to capture a kinetic vibrancy that surrounds the process of change.”
Rejina Pyo made a return to the catwalk with a splash on Sunday night, presenting her SS22 collection at the London Aquatics Centre, where the models walked alongside professional divers, who put on a spectacular show for the front row. The designer referenced a quote from John Cheever’s short story The Swimmer in her show notes as inspiration for the collection.
“She had been swimming, and now she was breathing deeply, stertorously, as if she could gulp into her lungs the components of that moment, the heat of the sun, the intenseness of her pleasure. It all seemed to flow into her chest.”
“This collection is a love letter to London’s idiosyncratic soul, told in a dance between two extraordinary and timeless women: Edith Sitwell and Ottoline Morrell,” Erdem Moralioglu explained of his latest show. “Together, they encapsulate the city’s fervent spirit which, for me, is an endless inspiration… Erdem is – and has always been – about empowering individual expression.”
Eudon Choi was inspired by Rio de Janeiro for SS22, as the designer continued to celebrate “our sense of communities and joy for life”.
“The inspiration for this urban take on the Brazilian culture comes from the film Black Orpheus (1959), in which we are transported to a festival celebrating the rising sun,” Choi explained. “Here, we witness two fated lovers who use all the colour and costume of the festivities to hide in plain sight and celebrate their love. The spirit of this pivotal scene stays with us, intoxicated by the vibrancy of the music, elaborate set and impassioned dancing.”
House of Sunny
Sustainable London label House of Sunny was this season celebrating its 10th anniversary, and it did so with a collection which included menswear for the first time. Entitled ‘On The Road Again’, the pieces referenced the nostalgic tone set by seasons past with a nod to cult teen movies and legends of the basketball world such as Dennis Rodman and Michael Jordan.
Preen by Thornton Bregazzi
Choosing to show in a more intimate setting than usual, Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi presented Preen’s spring/summer 2022 collection via a lookbook of imagery, a film and a series of one-on-one press appointments. The duo were this season inspired by television, and more specifically, by static, a topic which you can explore by watching the film, here.
Fresh off winning the prestigious LVMH Prize, Nensi Dojaka presented her first on-schedule London Fashion Week collection to an excited audience. The designer – who has already become a favourite on the red carpet – this year had experimented with new techniques, which she described as a “crystallisation of [her] sartorial manifesto of womanhood”. A series of her now instantly recognisable lingerie-inspired dresses came down the catwalk all artfully draped and deconstructed. “Modern femininity, after all, is anything but singular,” her show notes read.
Mithridate’s SS22 collection entitled ‘The Mirror Stage’ was shot in a mirrored orange orchard in Shanghai, but presented to audiences through a digital experience. Founder and creative rirector Demon Zhang was inspired by the psychoanalytic theory by Jacques Lacan, based on the belief that a child’s personal apperception of oneself develops at six months old, establishing the recognition of themselves in a mirror and thereafter introducing the formation of the ego.
This weekend, Elleme presented its second ready-to-wear collection, after branching out from accessories a season ago. The show – while presented on the London Fashion Week schedule – actually took place at the The Fontainebleau Sand Quarry just outside of Paris, where the lookbook was shot.
“I am always inspired by what is around me, this collection was drawn from summer vacations spent in my favourite beach towns,” creative director Jingjing Fan said. “Imagining the sound of the waves crashing, sand seeping through my toes, the beautiful sunlight, clear blue skies and all the summer fruit you can imagine. I have incorporated light weight fabrics such as silk dresses for the day and crepe wool knits for the golden hour evenings. Colours throughout such as lime green, orange blossom and subtle apricot tones drawing this picturesque summer mood.”
David Koma has become a real favourite on the red carpet with models and celebrities, who love his slinky dresses. And, for SS22, they likely won’t be disappointed as the designer presented a collection that was inspired by classic swimwear. The designer looked to the legendary swimming champion Annette Kellerman for inspiration, who popularised synchronised swimming at the turn of the century, and was one of the first women to wear a one-piece swimsuit.
Known for always putting on a party during London Fashion Week, Rixo kept the fashion set happy as it took over the Barbican Conservatory on Friday afternoon, filling it with cocktail bars, music and dancing models. The collection, which was made up mostly of the vintage-esque dresses the brand has become so well known for, was entitled ‘Bon Voyage’ and was inspired by “vintage postcards, tourist souvenirs, holiday deckchairs and parasols”.
After well over a year of being on standby, next month will see the dancers of the Royal Opera House perform Kenneth MacMillan’s Romeo and Juliet in front of a live audience. So, for the new season, Michael Halpern chose to highlight “the extraordinary discipline and determination demonstrated by the ballet company during the lockdown period, and their joy at returning to performing”.
The designer and his team worked with the dancers on a film to present the spring/summer 2022 collection, which sees the dancers bring the pieces to life.
“Halpern explores the polar extremes of fluidity and restriction. Some looks are shingled in brick fringing or draped in elongated bows for ultimate impact. Conversely, orb dresses, plumed parfait dresses and laced-up grommet dresses are constricting in nature, at once limiting movement but encouraging the exaggeration of the physical gesture.”
Vivienne Westwood’s spring/summer 2022 collection, which was presented via a lookbook of imagery, was entitled ‘Save Our Souls’ and was inspired by the brand’s spring/summer 1998 ‘Tied To The Mast’ collection.
“For the original collection, we looked to the english couturier Redfern, whose work began in Cowes in 1849,” the brand explained. “Talking about English pirates, we imagined the age of the first Queen Elizabeth and the Europe from which she came. This is where the collection began.”
The SS22 designs also took inspiration from the sea, and were made as sustainably as possible, using fabrics including wool from regenerative farming.
For SS22, Bora Aksu presented a collection inspired by Dutch socialite Mathilde Willink who was at the heart of a hedonistic revival in the Netherlands.
“Her extravagant ‘un-Dutch’ character and marriage to painter Carel Willink dominated the media for two decades. Bora Aksu takes the soul of Mathilde and infuses it into his latest collection, a celebration of exuberance and a life lived to the fullest.”
Tom Ford presented a spring collection that was made for showing off. Sparkles, sequins, satin and plenty of eveningwear made up the bulk of what came down the catwalk, bringing NYFW to a close with an optimistic mood that suggested excitement at the return of going out. He put it as: “Photogenic clothes today by their very nature mean that they are not at all timid. My clothes this season are simple in cut but not in impact.” This was clear to see in the athleisure-inspired silhouettes which were given a high-octane finish.
Retuning to the New York Fashion Week schedule after a few seasons off (the designer showed in Paris for a while before the pandemic took hold), Joseph Altuzarra brought a touch of escapism to the catwalk with tie-dye prints, relaxed separates and dresses that are perfect for travelling the world.
“Spring presents my vision of a new vocabulary of American fashion inspired by our 80-year heritage through the lens of the next generation,” Stuart Vevers said of Coach’s latest collection. “A celebration, too, of the colourful, upbeat optimism of Coach’s first designer Bonnie Cashin, it’s a collection I designed in response to the times we are living through—and a collective wish for a better, brighter future.”
For spring/summer 2022, Jason Wu said he was inspired by the art of craftsmanship, particularly the idea of working with the hand. The designer turned to innovative techniques of dyeing fabrics using strictly natural materials to create the label’s trademark delicate floral prints, while he also collaborated with fabric artist Cara Marie Piazza who owns an artisanal workshop
specialising in natural dyes.
The theme for Michael Kors’ SS22 collection was “urban romance”, where the designer essentially wrote a love letter to New York City and a celebration of the “rebirth” of fashion with the return of a real-life catwalk show.
“I think we’re all ready to focus on the simple, powerful pleasures of love — romantic love, love for one another, love for the places that sustain us, which in my case is New York City,” he said. “It’s a special thrill to celebrate the resilience and rebirth of the city and the fashion industry with a live runway show. This collection pays
homage to everything I love about spring in the city — the energy, the mix of people, the romance and laid-back glamour.”
Brandon Maxwell returned to the catwalk with a bang, presenting a collection that was filled with colour, which is usual for the designer, but also filled with prints, which is something new.
“I realised a year-and-a-half ago it could be the last time, and if I had another chance to show, I wanted it to be me, the me my friends know,” Maxwell said backstage of his decision to inject a bit more of himself into the collection, which saw less gowns and eveningwear than we often find on his catwalk and more casual, wearable styles, including midi dresses, printed separates and some seriously amazing coats.
Entitled ‘Reflections’, Jonathan Simkhai chose to look back, study and reflect on the past before creating his new collection.
“They say that history always repeats itself, and while that strictly can’t be true, history does allow us moments to reflect on and try
to better understand our world,” the designer said in his show notes. “It’s what happened way back when, it’s who made it happen, and why, it’s where we started, and what we learned from it.”
“As we continue to exist in these new realities, I needed to take some time to look back, study and reflect on the past,” he continued. “I looked at moments of great change and perpetual turbulence and how people dressed in them. And, specifically at times of transition, in the cross-over between decades and styles.”
Supermodels including Gigi Hadid and Irina Shayk stepped onto the catwalk for Moschino as Jeremy Scott presented a collection that he described as “ladies who lunch, but also nursery rhymes, so it’s baby lady”. The models wore dresses covered in childlike prints and held accessories including baby bottles, injecting some fun into a very rainy New York day.
“Being able to create beautiful pieces that are desirable and at the same time that empower others is probably one of the most satisfying personal experiences,” Gabriela Hearst wrote in her show notes of her latest collection, one which was filled with bright colourful knits, and which was inspired by Hester Diamond.
Known for his daring dresses which have won over fans including Beyoncé, Kim Kardashian and Rihanna, LaQuan Smith did not disappoint in delivering some eveningwear drama in his SS22 that we will no doubt see on the red carpet over the next few months.
It was a New York Fashion Week show debut for Peter Do – and he did not disappoint. The designer, who has already won various accolades and is collecting A-list fans, presented a timeless collection of capsule classics in a neutral colour palette, which nods to the understated glamour that his brand has become so well known for. From perfectly cut trench coats to great tailoring and exquisite workwear, his is a name to know now. Shop his autumn collection here – and scroll down to see more highlights from his debut New York show.
Prabal Gurung decided to celebrate all things women for his SS22 collection, where he asked: “Who gets to be a woman?”
“The collection reimagines canonical ideas of nationality, gender, and beauty through my lens of unabashed optimism and unadulterated hope,” he wrote in his show notes. “America has always been a woman – but she has not always been treated beautifully. What does it mean to be the most essential person in this country? What is feminine? What is American? And who gets to be it all – or none of it?”
The designer took inspiration from Pulitzer Prize-winning fashion and culture critic Robin Givhan and her quote: “To be girlish is to be powerful, because power is redefined.” He presented a series of designs which celebrated the female form, while he asked his audience to think about what it means to be a woman today.
Supermodel Gigi Hadid, who gave birth to her first baby late last year, was back on the New York Fashion Week runway, walking for Proenza Schouler, which presented its ‘Little Island’ collection. Inspired by a trip to Kauai that creative directors Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough took after lockdown, the collection was all about easy breezy summer dressing with bold pops of sunshine-inspired colour and floaty fabrics.
Christian Siriano looked to Italian glamour for his spring/summer 2022 collection, which he presented at New York City’s Gotham Hall. The designer particularly sought inspiration in his Italian grandmother, who he named as the season’s muse, injecting bright colours and dramatic silhouettes into the collection, which he found her wearing in old family photographs.
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