Dressing for liberation and escape in 2022
After months of isolation, let’s face it, we long for human contact more than anything else and the thrill of dating, seduction and partying seemed to be the driving inspiration for many collections for 2022.
Miuccia Prada, for one, could not veer away from explorations on sex and the body, saying in her notes that: “We thought of words like ‘elegant’ — but this feels so old-fashioned.” She, of course still had her signature cerebral stamp by overturning conventional interpretations of allure.
Other designers were more in-your-face, showing lots of skin through the shortest hemlines, cutouts and sheer fabrics. Thigh slits, bare midriffs, chain mail and latex at Versace and lace minis, fishnets and sex toy accessories at Gucci explored the nuances of sensuality.
Even when things were not overtly sex-driven, there was a sense of liberation that could be felt in the clothes and the way models wore them on the runways with abandon and even joy, which was reflected in vibrant colors.
Grand entrances to catch attention were on the agenda, with trains and capes to sashay in. Lots of sequins and fringes had serious dancing in mind. The message was clear: We have to “let go” and we all need an “escape” after two years into the pandemic.
The new sexy
The body-con dress returns but with a contemporary slant through details like ruching, cutouts and fabric draping.
Although Y2K dressing is currently popular with Gen Z, this year’s form of sexy dressing is different, driven by a younger generation of designers like LVMH prize-winner Nensi Dojaka, Supriya Lele, Rejina Pyo, KNWLS and Ottolinger — all women designing for women — which shifts the conversation from the male gaze of the 00s to what women really want to wear to make themselves feel sexy.
Mad for mini
With sexy dressing comes the return of the micro mini, which reached their shortest at Miu Miu. The carefree spirit of the ’60s skirt is evoked and even worn with suits the way Fil-American pop star Olivia Rodrigo likes it, done in classic Chanel tweed or slim and modern at Dior.
More subtle sensuality is achieved with draping to emphasize the female form: Going floral kimono and techno metallic at Junya Watanabe, deconstructed at Loewe and trompe l’oeil at Thom Browne.
Missing the beach and tropical getaways, solar colors and other brights done in happy combinations will be the mood boosters for the coming year. Tom Ford did delightful mixes of cerulean blue with orange and raspberry, while Comme des Garçons mixed hot-pink florals with black.
A return to the social scene can only be done with the drama of a train, whether it’s subtle in black chiffon a la Chanel or more sensationally ruffled in Hollywood red a la Gucci. For a more streamlined take, Prada is perfect for thoroughly modern fashion royals.
Looking forward to party time or a night out on the town, designers came up with a lot of high-glamour looks in metallics, chain mail, crystals and sequins. After not dressing up for so long, there’s no such thing as being overdressed.
Garments become art with innovative cuts and silhouettes: Voluminous rounded sleeves at Dries Van Noten, petal capelets at Loewe and circular appliques at Issey Miyake.
Drop a line
Stripes abound not just in prints but even as fringes, bringing thoughts of seaside pleasures and the roaring ’20s. Tory Burch does hers in mid-century color blocking, while Daniel Rosenberry for Schiaparelli has a “David Lynch holiday vibe.” Fringes are tiered flapper style at Fendi and in tiny floral cutouts at Dior.