Staying loyal to the legacy of Alexander McQueen, Sarah Burton tread through the autumn season with the classic essentials of sleek, clean-cut tailoring, effortlessly laced with a hint of contemporary detail. The brand’s signature galactic print was featured once again, with the meshing of warm honey hues contrasted by a gradient coal black. Remaining consistent with the ever-evolving notion of degendered fashion, the collection included a black one-shoulder dress featuring a distinctive silhouette derived from its unique crumpled texture.
Horrors have been inflicted on many with the war in Ukraine, a fact that resonates particularly with Balenciaga creative director Demna Gvasalia, a former child refugee of the war in Abkhazia, Georgia in 1993. With a heavy, heart-wrenching attitude, figures stride through a snowglobe simulation in oversized suits, some wrapped in towels and underwear and others clutching heavy reflective totes mimicking the classic symbol of waste – a bin liner – as a simultaneous confrontation with the issues of climate change and the Earth’s eventual loss of snow.
An emphasis on protective wear – an ironic yet fitting metaphorical motif for present times – ran throughout the Balmain AW22 show, originally designed as a response to online body image dysmorphia and inspired by the recovery gear creative director Olivier Rousteing wore after being injured in a house fire. Most pieces possessed sharply cut silhouettes, with a specific emphasis on the shoulders, along with a generous use of denim, leather and strategically placed padding.
Created in honour of the 10th anniversary of Berluti’s ready-to-wear line, this latest collection’s concept was centred around unconventional masculinity in fashion. The campaign, shot in the streets of Paris and inspired by former Berluti clients Marcello Mastroianni and Andy Warhol, featured young models who resembled ambitious fresh graduates in an array of tailored separates, sturdy leather briefcases and gleaming polished leather shoes.
Boss’ chief brand officer Ingo Wilts continued his reimagining of the house’s signature look with a blend of tailoring, sportswear and evening wear. Camel, black and white provided the colour palette while the activewear-infused tailoring offered a sophisticated modern aesthetic. While emphasising leather, wool and silk, Wilts also offered more casual alternatives in the form of patterned shorts- and-shirt pairings.
This season, Riccardo Tisci staged his collection directly across from London’s Houses of Parliament, a tribute to European democracy, as the collection was centred around the power of the crowd. “I wanted to show that people can come together to change the world, and that creativity can generate positivity,” the chief creative officer said. Shown together with the women’s collection, the menswear collection celebrated youth, Britishness, diversity and inclusivity in a range of signature checks, coats and trenches.
The Celine Boy Doll collection, in the presence of Blackpink’s Lisa, BTS’s V and renowned actor Park Bo-gum, was especially distinct this season with Hedi Slimane’s particular stress on contemporary/ progressive masculinity. Among an array of leather pieces, scads of crystal fringes oscillated under the ceiling lights as models strode confidently in classic platform leather boots while rocking dandy small-framed shades.
Craig Green returned to the runway after a two-year hiatus in a semi-derelict warehouse in East London with unbridled joy and experimentation. A real-life manifestation of claustrophobia and physicality in clothing, the collection navigated between the notions of comfort and suffocation. Notable elements were the eccentric silhouettes, choice of texture and almost psychedelic colour palette, brought out in fluorescent inflatables, tufted cloaks and woollen sweaters.
In a perfect blend of minimalistic attire and intricate pattern detail, this season Kim Jones approached his designs with inspiration from architectural pieces, as well as “the purities of the beginning of the House, always keeping the joie de vivre at the heart of Christian Dior’s clothing.” The collection was about reworking the archive and instinctively translating it into somewhat contemporary masculinity. While the designs reflected the evolution of the house, the transition from its original femininity to masculinity was as evident as ever. The timeless designs were inclusive of earthy tones ranging from black to lighter greys and browns, all expressed in handsomely tailored plaid blazers and iconic Bar jackets with geometric details, perfectly finished with a reworked Dior beret.
Dries Van Noten
In a somewhat unexpected reaction to what is going on in the world, this collection evoked a youthful and wild Covid-free house party. Dries Van Noten focused on the struggles of the younger generation amid the pandemic, particularly their thirst for interaction. Translating them into a chaotic swirl of clothes, Van Noten featured abstract patterns of warm leopard and Hawaiian-inspired hibiscus prints, as well as long puffer coats followed by vibrant faux fur outerwear.
Centring his designs around the Dunhill staple of sleek suiting and sharp silhouettes, creative director Mark Weston presented an array of cashmere and corduroy, along with a hint of the Japanese kimono sleeve paired with an occasional leather pillow-like briefcase. The distinct silhouette of each look was evident, even more so with the draping of slit-cuff slacks peeking out from underneath and resting on the surface of polished Oxfords.
Paying homage to authentic occasion wear, Silvia Fendi pointed to the classic wardrobe as the cornerstone of fashion even amid the pandemic, describing it as “something that should be celebrated even more than before.” While the venue was filled with a fog of calming grey, models flaunted earthy sleeveless intarsia furs and pants in coated oxblood leather, with leather gloves to match the outerwear. Each look had an underlying twist while keeping the traditional Fendi touch.
The astonishing array of velvet was the central feature of this season for Giorgio Armani, a glamourous unravelling of slim-cut, pattern-sprinkled tuxedos with the added allure of velvet trousers. The consistent theme of midnight blue was enhanced by the sound of jet-black Oxfords striking the catwalk – “My decision not to use any music in the show was made as a sign of respect to the people affected by the evolving tragedy,” Armani said of the war in Ukraine.
The reverberations of gender fluidity are as prominent as ever at Gucci. As Alessandro Michele continues to flaunt his androgynous take on fashion, the line between femininity and masculinity becomes progressively blurrier. Meanwhile, the creative director presented an equally chic mash-up of high fashion and sportswear in this season’s collaboration with Adidas. Corduroy suits and velvet tuxedos were decked out with vibrant logo patterns, with the requisite Adidas stripes on shoulders and sleeves, paired with office-ready leather shoes and elegant sneakers.
“A way of dressing, of mixing things, of feeling good and of feeling seductive” – this season, Véronique Nichanian delivered slight dandyism and nonchalance in the form of elegantly loose leather pants that mimicked the movement, Tuscan lambskin linings framing outerwear collars and smart knit sweaters followed by the classic tuxedo in a longer length.
In a creative response to her osteopath, Isabel Marant’s unusual amalgamation of grunge and luxe is distinguished by practicality, as an array of light-wash denim trousers countered the gentle colour blocking of knit sweaters and lumberjack plaid. A highlight could be the reversible coat, wielding the dual options of a waterproof khaki and plaid wool, finished off with the iconic Isabel Marant bucket hat.
Simon Porte Jacquemus echoed the lunar quality of his southern France setting in this collection, with models in flowing white and cream linen strutting down the valleys of the region’s salt mountains. Its title, “Le Papier,” hid a bold assertion of newness under a deceptively blank canvas, all without forgetting his signature cargo pants and puffer vests. This sentiment of a tranquil white page bursting with possibility was echoed in his dramatic tailoring, which struck a tasteful balance with the sophisticated statement neutrals.
Incorporating a more sensual edge to their usual characteristic elegance, Luke and Lucie Meier stayed loyal to their emblematic crochet, juxtaposing it with bold tailoring to create a striking silhouette of masculine edges melding with woollen frills. Of particular note were the sharp contours and rigid lines, as well as the fine embroidered detailing.
A progressive celebration of youth and a bold subversion of gender norms, Jonathan Anderson’s collection was as unexpected as it was unique. Adorned with the likes of kindergarten-ready shoes and a pigeon clutch, models donning hoop-hemmed dresses and asymmetrical rompers exuded a vibrant, multicolour spirit that alluded to Anderson’s silly, party atmosphere.
With an emphasis on authenticity, brilliantly shown through artistic director Nigo’s determination to source all the denim from Japan, this season’s collection included long plaid coats, washed denim and belt buckles in the shape of Kenzo’s signature tiger. The collection was a refreshing, modern take on the brand’s rich history in Nigo’s own unique style.
Uniting sporty streetwear and sleek glamour this season, Bruno Sialelli’s collection spoke to all tastes with his graphic sweatshirts and tailored cashmere coats. Of particular note were the sphinx-patterned tops and leather sets in vibrant hues of blue and pink. The influence of Art Deco and sci-fi was also evident, with tessellated patterns and stacked sequins, narrow silhouettes and foulard necklines.
Experimenting with concepts of an alternate reality, Jonathan Anderson questioned and subverted the archetypes of male attire through employing trompe-l’œil and LED illumination, creating the sense of movement frozen in time, with “the body as a point of both arrival and departure”. Highlights included the skewed hem of a T-shirt paired with the oppositely askew waistband on a pair of shorts, creating the illusion of a diagonal cut, and transparent leather coats that pushed us to question the comprehension of our current, digital reality.
Virgil Abloh’s final men’s collection was a testament to the visionary’s formative and inimitable eight seasons at Louis Vuitton. Models were dressed in monogrammed jeans, silk two-piece suits and pleated skirts, some clutching bouquet bags and others with floor-length coattails. The collection was a homage to Abloh’s legacy, recalling and highlighting his contributions to the fashion house, and his boundary-breaking interplay between categories such as incorporating “streetwear” into the “luxury” tradition.
With the sophistication of tailoring applied even to knitwear and bomber jackets, Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons elevated basics to new heights of elegance this season. There was a clear focus on the definitive structures of everyday attire as well as unlikely combinations – think bright red leather trench coats and showy mohair accents. “We were thinking about meaningful fashion, pieces that make sense. Clothes that make people feel important,” Prada said.
With standout looks, including shiny latex dresses and a variety of face-covering hats, Raf Simons’ collection was an unsettling, bold dive into the provocative side of fashion. Figures cloaked in blue and red strutted down the runway, holding obscenely large bags and offering an unexpected range of combinations that grabbed our attention.
Displaying classic Saint Laurent sleekness, Anthony Vaccarello’s collection featured a variety of faux furs and black tuxedos, with an overall subdued palette reinforcing his tasteful choice of subtlety over excess. Designed to pay tribute to the 1920s, the collection once again explored the definition of the male in fashion, with models decked out in furs and heels.
This season’s collection featured genderless jumpsuits, softly tailored blazers and sleek
trench coats in neutral tones, a sophisticated simplicity so characteristic of the label. With its wide-legged pants and a creative new approach to knitwear, the brand presented a luxurious take on comfortable everyday clothes for a post-pandemic world.
Having stripped it down to the essentials in the days leading up to the show in response to news of the war in Ukraine, Walter Chiapponi’s “serious, thought-out, calm” collection featured a reductionist approach and the strong Italian heritage that is central to Tod’s. Highlights included long trench coats and thick wool turtlenecks.
Ford’s collection this season incorporated a range of textures, with velvets, satins and faux
furs playing the starring roles. Amethyst, turquoise and sapphire were the colours dominating the collection and featured on trousers, fitted blazers and turtlenecks, and even down to details such as socks and phone cases.
With a blinding collection almost entirely composed of vibrant fuchsia, Pierpaolo Piccioli presented pink as a “manifestation of the unconscious and a liberation from the need for realism.” The monochrome colour palette placed emphasis on the details and shapes of the collection, featuring tabards and tailored suits and a brief intermission of all-black ensembles, including sheer tops paired with baggy pants.
With this collection being the introduction to Versace 2.0, Donatella Versace placed her focus on diversity and progression as the drivers of the future. The collection included high-waisted palazzo pants, vibrantly coloured cheetah-print tops and colourful shirts featuring a new iteration of the brand’s signature Barocco print.
Grace Wales Bonner’s collection this season was titled “togetherness”, a reference to jazz trumpeter Don Cherry and the life he led with his wife Moki Karlsson. Eager to show this “slippage between past and present” and to “bring an Afro- Atlantic spirit to European beauty”, the collection included fitted jackets with floral brocade, chequered coats and pleated skirts, and her signature crochet knit in bursts of colour.