Fashion has had to lighten up and learn not to take itself so seriously (and its customers rather more seriously), after being taught a lesson or two, courtesy of the global pandemic.
Designers and brands have come to understand that most of us do not want to return to trussed-up clothing and ridiculous footwear, not now and probably not ever. What we really want is the freedom, comfort and elegance that comes with dressing for ourselves and the way we live now, not following short-lived fads and feeling that we have to comply with anyone else’s idea of a dress code.
And so SS22 welcomes in a new age of relaxed rule-breaking and confidence. There are still trends, but they are simply pointers to shapes and shades, textures and tones – you can, and should, interpret them in any way you see fit.
In terms of colour, Pantone identified an SS22 palette of light-hearted, airy pastels and arresting brights, bringing together soft orchid purple, mint green, acid green and earthy brown from the London Fashion Week (LFW) catwalks, pointing out that they tie in with a new mood of simplicity and spontaneity and reflect a deep connection with nature and the continuing need for comfort and familiarity.
“Capturing this theme of complement and contrast, spring/summer 2022 colours for LFW inspire playful creativity and unconstrained expression that is full of life,” it says.
“Our use of colour is connected to the cultural mood,” says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. “We are looking for opportunities to do something completely different. Colours that celebrate our desire to break boundaries satisfy our fervent need for playful creativity and unconstrained visual expression as we enter into this new, uncertain time.”
So, let us welcome fashion as a solace, a mood-lifter and a comfort in more ways than one. Here are some highlights of trends for this coming season:
Burberry, which makes its iconic trench coats in Castleford, has remade these trusty all-season stalwarts in strong and striking silhouettes that experiment and play with volume. Using classic Burberry gabardine and textural linen cotton, on the runway they were seen cropped away at the back to reveal swimsuits with abstract prints, or to look like an entirely different garment from the back, for example, with flowing cape effects, super-flattering and feminine.
“To me, this presentation really represents the freedom of our imaginations: how we dream to come alive,” said chief creative officer Riccardo Tisci.
Underwear as outerwear
Possibly an example of relaxed dressing going a little too far, summer 2022 sees underwear become clothes to be seen in, sported at Edward Crutchley, Tom Ford, Fendi and David Koma. You could try the look by simply layering camis and embroidered bra tops under blazers and open shirts.
White (relaxed) suiting
Tailoring is far from down and out, although working from home loungewear separates are going nowhere. But oversized jackets in sleek yet substantial shapes, teamed with loose but chic trousers are looking cool and contemporary, especially in white.
Nude tones and greys will be key for spring/summer 2022 as a grounding base, but they pair well with the season’s highlighter and fluorescent accent colours, including neon yellow, lime green (often seen with shimmer) and day-glow pink.
The love for crochet and bold colour continues along with mixing knits with net fabrics and embellishment for mood-boosting and playful looks that promote hand-crafting and artisanal techniques. York designer Matty Bovan showed giant crocheted blanket patches, upcycled-fabric ball gowns and ingenious knits in a collection called Hypercraft, inspired by his family photographs from the 1970s.
Sixties mini shapes
Most of us will prefer to opt for SS22’s easy pleated midis, but hemlines are going up, reminiscent of both Sixties’ A-line and Nineties’ bodycon mini shapes, in statement shades and punchy fabrics. Chanel added an artisan luxe twist with gold crafted tabard styles. Look out also for netted knits.
Relaxed, easy, sporty shapes are mixed up, made over and reinterpreted, with Stella McCartney leading the way with cool and elegant martial arts style jackets with tie belts worn low-slung (another major trend) over printed silk loose trousers.
Cut-outs and straps
This takes the form of tops and dresses with multi-straps and ties across the shoulders and décolletage, and trousers with waist criss-crossing straps. Layer if you don’t dare to bare.
Look out also for: pleated midi skirts; liquid metal sheeny looks; sheer fabrics to layer; frothy fabrics and pretty pink hues for a feminine take; big bulky bags; thigh high boots, feathered trims; lace leggings and embroidered tights.