The overarching mood of fall/winter2022’s fashion trends can be summed up in one word: nostalgia. Now, nostalgia comes in many different forms depending on your age, experiences, and interests. Whatever you might associate with happier, simpler times has likely been translated to the runways for the upcoming season because the creative collectives in Copenhagen, New York, London, Milan, and Paris have all been feeling that desire for a better life. Designers powered through the past two pandemic years with optimism, channeling their energies in quite literal pick-me-up trends such as dopamine dressing—a hashtag that continues to garner attention on almost all social platforms—but with the easing up of restrictions and a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel, more varied style directions are opening up too.
Although the loudest takes on nostalgia are defining the F/W 22 outlook (more on that in a minute), for the minimalists out there, who perhaps have felt a little underserved in the past couple of seasons, a return to ’90s and ’00s basics will provide a great palate cleanser. If there’s going to be one viral item of the season, it’ll be Prada’s white vest. Yes, that’s correct: As we roll into the winter months, there’s a surprisingly humble, surprisingly summery item that will be on the majority of fashion people’s wish lists. We can already see that plain(ish) white vests are trending in high-fashion circles—Loewe’s anagram-emblazoned version is selling like crazy. Other subtle riffs on minimalism are on offer as well: Oversized tailoring, classic suits, bomber jackets, maxi skirts, and neutral colors are plentiful for those who want them.
Euphoria—the costumes, the cast, the makeup, the wild lifestyles—felt omnipresent throughout the shows. The throngs of young fans hoping to get a peek at Jacob Elordie or Sydney Sweeney walking into a fashion show seemed to be larger than ever. But there’s no denying the big, pink attention-seeking elephant in the room: TikTok and youth-driven pop culture are the dominant forces for autumn/winter’s look. The perception of TikTok is that it’s the place where “extra AF” has found its natural home and that no Y2K stone will be left unturned. To a point, that is true, but I would argue that the platform offers much more across personal styles, subcultures and age groups, and I think that it’s actually this diversity and freedom of taste that has led to designers tapping into even skimpier noughties looks and a veritable banquet of party looks for the best night ever and little offshoots such as the #gothaesthetic, too.
“Expect the unexpected,” says fashion expert and Flannels head of womenswear elevation Emma Ilori. “Over-the-top, more-is-more, experimental wardrobes—pushing the boundaries of everyday dressing. We’re ready to be out and be seen. Think fresh-off-the-runway social media moments and head-turning full looks.” And things couldn’t be more committed to that idea than they are over at Valentino, where—during what could arguably be the show of the season—Creative Director Pierpaolo Piccioli crafted a custom hot-pink hue in collaboration with Pantone. Prepare to see Valentino Pink PP (or at least as close as any other brand can get) everywhere.
“The season’s overarching mood is one of fun and extravagance, and the A/W trends are set to be all about OTT fashion. Bags are getting bigger, colors are getting brighter, and everything seems to have been covered in shiny sequins,” says Morgane Le Caer, content lead at Lyst. And almost every single buyer I spoke to echoed the sentiment—investing heavily in clothes and accessories that spark joy in the most conspicuous of ways. “More is definitely still more, with partying continuing to be the predominant trend for the upcoming season,” says Heather Gramston, head of womenswear buying at Browns. “As a company, we’ve invested in partywear across our ready-to-wear collections and non-apparel, and we anticipate the Browns customer will be wanting to dress up at every given opportunity.”
There was a surreal vibe over in Paris—Loewe, Rick Owens and Schiaparelli’s conceptual takes on fashion are attracting a new and younger crowd of dedicated shoppers who want items that not only provide uniqueness in every single #GRWM post but also could potentially hold their value and become more important over time—resale is the new side hustle, after all. The surreality wasn’t limited to aesthetics, as the fashion world found itself in quite a predicament during the show season as Russia launched a war on Ukraine. While each person is allowed their opinion on whether the spectacle of runway shows should have continued or not, it’s important for me to share that I have received messages from Ukrainian fashion brands who are miraculously keeping their businesses running and want retail to keep going. As this story is one of the most popular of the season, I want to take the chance to say please support these great labels if you can: Sleeper, Anna October, and Vita Kin are just a few of my favorites.
Without further ado, keep reading for the full rundown of fall/winter’s fashion trends for 2022, as told by the experts.
“We’re extremely excited that our favorite Y2K trend has endured for another season. Ahluwalia, Etro, and Gauchere showcased some incredibly nostalgic low-slung waistlines, which we predict will be a huge hit with our customers,” says Libby Page, fashion expert and senior market editor at NET-A-PORTER.
Jackets played a big part in any decent ’90s uniform, and we saw the return of not only the classic moto, or biker, jacket but the bomber too. Already this year, thanks to social media, moto jackets have been making a comeback, and searches for second-hand versions on Depop have spiked over the past few months.
“Dopamine dressing will be ever-present. Mood-boosting hues with bright Barbie
pinks made a splash on the Valentino, Prada, and Versace runways. Green is also a top fashion color, equalling 11% of current investment, blue at 10%, and pink at 7%,” says Kayla Marci, market analyst at Edited. “The runways prove that A/W 22 will be unseasonably bright and retailers can look to color up their best-performing coats, dresses, suit sets, and sweaters in hot magenta, red, royal purple, tangerine, zesty green, and azure to provide shoppers positive sentiments tied to their apparel purchases.”
If there’s one (welcome) hangover from the pandemic, it’s comfortable footwear. This summer has been gripped by Birkenstock Boston Clog mania, and fortunately, many designer brands are offering equally “ugly” and foot-loving options for fall/winter 2022. With biker style back in vogue, it’s no wonder that stompy moto boots are also returning.
“Nineties nostalgia will continue to influence autumn/winter 2022 fashion, with mood-boosting hues and gender-fluid tailoring dominating the market—think hot pinks, chartreuse and slouchy, oversized blazers,” says Marci. And it’s that slouchy oversized blazer—a trend that has been burning for quite a few seasons now—that appears to be most prominent. Where the trend for oversized silhouettes had previously been balanced out with slimmer fits or bare skin, for autumn/winter 2022, you’ll find a dedication to the look head-to-toe.
Nostalgia for far-flung travel, for slow fashion and homespun craft, for special hand-me-down knits… all of these warm, fuzzy feelings have been translated into a slew of truly unique pieces that have a bohemian lilt.
There are many strong print and pattern ideas coming through for the upcoming season, but the proliferation of luxe leopard really stood out to me as feeling fresh again after a stint in the background. There are different scales and finishes, and animal prints can be employed in many ways, which is why they have become a “neutral,” as many an editor or stylist will state.
“Last season’s sexy has evolved into something more elevated and glamorous, with looks for every occasion and an all-out approach to going out-out again. We saw cut-outs galore from Julia Fox’s show-open for LaQuan Smith, daring midriff-exposed looks and sheer delights from Knwls and the ultimate head-to-toe pink at Valentino,” says Gramston.
Every editor came away from the shows in Milan and Paris knowing (and telling everyone else) just one thing: Bomber jackets are going to be BIG news once more. From simplistic black flight jackets at Givenchy to shrunken suede ones at Miu Miu through to supersized, waist-nipped satin styles at both Sacai and Prada, it would appear that there is an iteration of this classic outerwear style to suit all tastes.
“From sequins to embellishments, the magpie inside of me has been awakened by the F/W 22 catwalks and all the shine that came with them. My main takeaway? Sparkles aren’t just for Christmas (although, that too)—this year, it’s all about wearing them with pride in your day-to-day winter wardrobe.
“Autumn 2022 will signal workwear’s long-awaited comeback post-pandemic, with designers juxtaposing sleek minimalism with feminine skirts and suits in their collections once seen in the 1990s. Though the runway spoke to more traditional, pre-pandemic office attire than the elevated work leisure we are used to seeing, comfort elements still remained incorporated to suit hybrid lifestyles, which have been normal for shoppers in 2022,” explains Marci of this new wave of tailoring.
Considering they are a staple part of the ’90s lexicon, maxi skirts did not surprise me when they appeared for the new season. The trend for a slimmer-cut (often tube-like) maxi started earlier this year, and it looks like the trend will continue way into the colder months.
“I’ve always rooted for happily-ever-afters, stories where love conquers all, and it would appear designers have shared this same sentiment this season, tapping into this euphoric state when creating their most beautiful looks for autumn/winter 2022. With fabrications so light they were reminiscent of cloud nine, painted in a delicate palette of rose, ivory and eggshell then punctuated with throws of passion red, these are clothes that invite you to be the main character in your own, very fashionable love story. Who needs Heathcliff, Mr, Darcy, or Viscount Bridgerton when you have Cecilie Bahnsen or Simone Rocha in your life?” says Maxine Eggenberger, Who What Wear’s acting assistant editor, and she’s quite right.
If the commitment to fully colorful ensembles has you spooked, then designers have a solution: Add a bold bag. “I am a big fan of Bottega Veneta’s colorful Jodie bags, so love seeing how this has extended further in the autumn/winter 2022 trends and collections,” says Spedding.
“For those who subscribe to the goth aesthetic full-time, it’s so much more than a trend; it’s a lifestyle, and the last thing I want to do is trivialize it. Still, it would be remiss not to chart the impact goth has on the fashion industry. With roots in romanticism offset with grunge flair, gothic looks crop up on the runway every autumn/winter season, but for 2022, they feel more prevalent than ever,” says Eggenberger.
Next, a French designer told me the top 5 jewelry trends for 2022.
This post originally appeared on Who What Wear UK.