And just like that… fashion month is over. Kicking off in New York and closing with a tribute to Alber Elbaz in Paris, the first “real” runway schedule since 2019 was packed with surprise collaborations, front rows of TikTokers, and theatrics upon theatrics. Dior constructed a life-size game board in the heart of Jardin des Tuileries, Balenciaga released a cryptic digital show of Simpsons models, and Versace shockingly opened their runway with Dua Lipa.
But what about the clothes? A myriad of innovative (or occasionally repetitive) trends appeared in the designs of established and rising houses alike. Aesthetic themes clung to hopefulness, futurism, archival resurrection, and sensuality, each frequent motif categorized by one of the latter. See for yourself, below.
Re-Worked Trench Coats
Classic trenches are so passé. Replacing the veteran closet staple is a new wave of spring sheathing: trench coats with a twist. Ballgown style, paint-splattered, or even worn in reverse, quite the variety of fresh takes on the transitional favorite were showcased by Act N. 1, Loewe, and Balenciaga.
As predicted by CR this summer, a flapper look resurgence is upon us. Fringe on all forms—embellished mini dresses, two-pieces, and crop tops—adds twirl-ready flair to timeless going out pieces. Fine metallic vintage strands were just as common on the runway as a modern version of thick cord-like ornaments. Fendi went the ‘2os route for Gatsby-ready shifts, while Stella McCartney opted for her signature contemporary taste.
No bare legs allowed this spring. Vibrancy and pops of color are a must below the waist, ideally featuring subtle logomania or shades of pink. Even rainwear could not escape the tights craze, placed underneath a wilderness-ready outfit by Marine Serre. Koché paired iridescent stockings with evening dresses, while Versace utilized hoisery as the foundation of a vertically color blocked look.
Sometimes lingerie is too pretty to remain concealed. Nearly every designer had trouble keeping undergarments under garments for Spring/Summer 2022, ineffectively shielding briefs and bralettes with sheer or mesh overlays. No doubt the sneak-peek look will be à la mode later this year as the return to sexy dressing translates from fashion month runways to storefronts.
Not all heroes wear capes… but maybe they should now that it’s trendy. Cropped, ankle-distance, and even full-length trains topped off a wide spectrum of formality. Mônot and Loewe selected wing-like capes split down the back, a contrast to Andreas Kronthaler’s outspread vinyl design for Vivienne Westwood.
Miuccia Prada’s mega-cropped take on the schoolgirl motif made headlines for Miu Miu. A combination feared by many—low-rise and ultra-mini—simultaneously shocked and intrigued social media, namely notorious Instagram watchdog Diet Prada. But Prada’s sister label was not the only house projecting a uniform technique, Givenchy and the preppy Lacoste putting their own spin on school dress codes.
Ever wonder what to do with long sleeves during warmer months? Simply don’t use them. Empty sleeves are the designated unpractical trend of this year’s fashion month, managing to make quite the statement in outerwear and knit categories. MM6 Maison Margiela incorporated their signature extra pair of sleeves to accentuate the waist, while Givenchy had sweaters’ arms dangling every which way.
Another way to stay cool while extending Fall/Winter favorites… the controversial cropped blazer. Loved by some and hated by many, abbreviated blazers did not miss a beat on French runways. Most commonly matched with high-waisted bottoms, the mini jacket was a unisex favorite for the likes of Schiaparelli and Victoria/Tomas.
To balance out micro mini skirts, womenswear collections took a page out of the masculine playbook for an extended short. Nearly reaching the calves, knee-length trousers were one of the few high coverage trends to recur along fashion month in a myriad of opposing styles. Isabel Marant’s interpretation spotlighted beachy sportswear with a board short silhouette, while Lacoste and Lanvin tapped into office chic.
Black & White
Pairing black with white is hardly nuanced, but a chronic presence of colorless looks this season is worth mentioning. Ann Demuelemeester’s collection was entirely without color, a contrast to Dior’s wide array of childlike hues broken up by achromatic designs on occasion. Both ends of the spectrum called on classic black and white aesthetics, even those falling in the middle like MM6.
Sky-high boots have come a long way since Pretty Woman. Most commonly paired with mini dresses, the mega shoe design served as token statement for runway after runway. Fendi concocted an unexpected pastel palette against soft leather, a breath of spring in comparison to Givenchy’s use of archetypal noir. Courrèges clung to their ’60s roots by channeling metallic Space Age in UFO-ready thigh highs.
Sometimes knees need to breathe—at least according to Loewe, Ottolinger, and Victoria/Tomas. Leggings and roomy pants alike were graced with unusual embellishments of knee cutouts accompanied by drawstring closure or surrounding volume. In Ottolinger’s case, remaining surface area was graced with some extra openings.
Monochrome is here to stay. Color-coordinated looks have been holding their staple title for season after season, never missing a beat on the runway. Back in January, monochrome made headlines for the Obamas’ and Bidens’ Inauguration looks by Sergio Hudson and Christopher John Rogers. At Paris Fashion Week, both Loewe and Dior showed various ensembles of singular hues, following Versace’s sundry monochrome looks in Milan.
Relaxed suiting may be the flawless transition getup for easing out of WFH. Loose-fitting slacks paired with a structured yet oversized blazer scream “effortlessly cool,” while preserving comfort and sophistication. Matched with jersey tanks, upscale corsets, and skin-baring tops for spring, slouchy suits may be the new sweat set.
Why blend when you can block? Only considered a trend due to the varying relevance of its featured hues, color blocking has a never-ending grip on nearly every designer. Something about vertically—and occasionally horizontally—juxtaposing multiple vibrant shades provides an element of rudimentary excitement.
Perhaps the perfect compliment to a cutout knee is the cold shoulder. Ideal for spicing up simple necklines, bare shoulder designs were gleefully utilized by Giambattista Valli, Sportmax, Christopher Kane, and more this season. Puffy sleeves or bandage-style straps break up an otherwise exposed arm in a myriad of dresses and tops.
Not exactly a contender for street style trends, hoop skirts had quite the unpredictable spotlight during fashion month. Panniers, also known as “side hoops,” were a majority of Louis Vuitton’s collection and the finale for Vivienne Westwood. Balenciaga nominated the fuller 19th century petticoat structure instead, accompanied by tiered ruffles. Perhaps the resurgence of royal balls will follow suit.