The AW22 trend report: The new season looks you need to know

Ellie Goodman

11 March 2022

Another fashion month has come and gone and while summer swiftly approaches, these are the biggest trends to know for Autumn/Winter 2022

11 March 2022 | Ellie Goodman

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t’s official: fashion month is back. After two years of watered-down hybrid – or phygital, if you will – fashion week schedules, Autumn/Winter 2022 saw the return of blockbuster catwalk shows en masse. And what a return it was. From Miu Miu’s menswear revival and Gucci’s latest collaboration with sportswear giant Adidas, to Balenciaga’s blizzard – which saw Kim Kardashian don a full look of branded gaffer tape – and Pierpaolo Piccioli’s monochrome pink presentation for Valentino, designers across the globe shook off the shackles of pandemic fashion and embraced the joy of dressing up.

Elsewhere, this season saw Matthieu Blazy’s debut at the helm of Bottega Veneta – a show that included a simple jeans and tank top ensemble crafted entirely out of leather – while The Row took its first turn on the Paris schedule, and Off White paid tribute to Virgil Abloh with a star-studded cast which included supermodels Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford and Karen Elson in the late designer’s final collection.

Surrealism took a turn on the runway at Loewe, Botter and, of course, Schiaparelli. Apres-ski chic returned in the form of Coperni’s hybrid balaclava jumpers and Poster Girl’s extra-large snow boots. Snake print, babydoll dresses, double denim and the micro-mini proved Noughties nostalgia isn’t going anywhere, while veils and face coverings from Richard Quinn and the graduates of Institut Français de la Mode remained as an echo of masks of seasons past.

From The Matrix-inspired leather looks and power shoulders, to eye-catching colours and the return of the corset, these are the AW22 trends to know.

The silhouette: Go big or go home

Louis Vuitton
Acne Studios

This season, when it came to shoulders one thing was clear: the bigger the better. Everywhere you looked, oversized coats and blazers were the order of the day. At Saint Laurent they were thrown on over slinky bias-cut slip dresses and ultra-sexy skintight leggings, while at Louis Vuitton, Nicholas Ghesquière put a Diane Keaton-inspired twist on the trend, sending his down the runway styled with Oxford shirts, floral ties and baggy trousers. Coach’s shearling iterations were worn with XL graphic T-shirts and shin-grazing skirts, and at Acne Studios they were paired with everything from flared patchwork jeans and distressed knit bodysuits, to sheer shirt dresses and knee-high boots. No matter the aesthetic, the message was clear: move over puffer coats, the power shoulder is back with a bang.

The vibe: Oh my goth

Christopher Kane
Givenchy

Flattering, versatile and eternally chic, black has always been a favourite of the fashion set, and this season was no different. Whether in latex, leather or lace, designers embraced their dark sides, sending out looks that Morticia and Wednesday Addams would certainly approve of. Givenchy’s Matthew M. Williams channelled teenage misfits with his layered tees, complete with Metallica-style branding, while Calvin Luo’s leather trench coat was embellished with nose-ring hardware. At Balenciaga, Demna Gvasalia evoked The Matrix with his post-apocalyptic second-skin bodysuits, floor-length coats and wraparound shades. Sexy as always, Christopher Kane’s cut-out latex dresses looked tailor-made for Zoe Kravitz’s Catwoman. Black is definitely the new black.

The colour: Marvellous monochrome

Stella McCartney
Valentino

Once reserved for neutral hues, this season’s monochrome was anything but. From New York to Paris, models took to the runways donning vibrant shades from head-to-toe, with hardly a pastel or muted tone in sight. Versace’s was vampy crimson, neon pink and lime green, at Stella McCartney it was ultraviolet, mustard yellow and deep burgundy. Valentino debuted a new Pantone shade – dubbed PP Pink in honour of creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli – for its tonal ready-to-wear outing this season, while Tom Ford, Elie Saab and Richard Malone followed suit with their own eye-catchingly chromatic creations.

The key piece: Cool kid corsetry

Versace
Gucci

Though forsaken by feminists a century ago, the corset made a major resurgence on the runways for AW22. Having garnered buzz thanks to Tik Tok teens, this trend has been growing on the streets for a while, but this season was the first time the style was adopted en masse by luxury designers, regardless of brand DNA. They made an appearance at Fendi, rendered in sumptuous leather and paired with sharp suiting, while at Versace corsets were incorporated into everything from mini dresses and slinky tops to workwear and even puffer jackets. Elsewhere, Balmain, Gucci and Christian Dior took a different approach, looking towards classic sportswear styles and American football padding for a modern take on the trend.

The blast from the past: Maybe baby(doll)

Simone Rocha
Brandon Maxwell

Not merely a flash in the pan, this season showed that the Y2K revival is here to stay, and the darling of Noughties nostalgia this time around was the babydoll dress. In New York, Brandon Maxwell’s was sleeveless and prom dress-inspired, while Coach sent out a slew of babydolls in muted lace, clashing checks and cute crochet. Giambattista Valli’s ultra-short Sixties iterations and Molly Goddard’s take were as frothy as expected, while It-girl favourite Nensi Dojaka stayed true to her eponymous brand’s identity with a lineup of sexy cut out styles that dared to bare. Simone Rocha fused hers with leather biker jackets and overcoats for an unexpected take on a brand signature, accompanied by plush velvet styles and the ever-present silk taffeta. Which way to the nearest tea party?

Read more: The must-see looks from Paris Couture Week Spring 2022