Grab your toolbox: Top Trends from New York Fashion Week FW22

Anna-Louise McDougall
Last Updated:
August 31, 2023
4 min

Two years after the last “normal” New York Fashion Week Autumn/Winter season showed, the runways were staged, the front rows filled, and the after-parties buzzing. Albeit with a metaverse in tow. There is a palpable cultural shift coming to New York fashion’s scene, it just hasn’t fully realised itself yet.

That’s not to say it isn’t evolving. The week was exciting, beautiful if even a little dangerous (Julia Fox!) despite notable shows off the schedule from the likes of Marc Jacobs, Tom Ford, and Thom Browne.

New York favourites Proenza Schouler, Eckhaus Latta, Peter Do, Gabriela Hearst, Dion Lee, and Maryam Nassir Zadeh all delivered. Hood By Air returned for the first time since 2017 eponymously as Shayne Oliver, and Wes Gordon debuted for Carolina Herrera.

New York provided a fresh take on classic fall pieces, as Tory Burch told Vogue Runway, the point was “to give women a toolbox”. There’s perhaps trepidation on reflection of the week, as we cautiously ask, was there anything really new? Is a fresh take on the classics what we wanted? In all honesty, are commercial wins, traditional shapes, and beautiful techniques kind of a sigh of relief? There is a change in the air, but it’s saying a resounding “not sure, yet”.

There is a change in the air, but it’s saying a resounding “not sure, yet”.

Yes, there have been (loud) whispers referencing the return of “indie sleaze” and/or “twee” championed throughout the 2010s, and before Frank Ocean’s normcore. A time when Alexa Chung and Alex Turner were a thing, Agness Deyn was ‘it’, everyone listened to Klaxons and watched Skins strangled by a pair of Tsubis (before the K). A golden age of techno, digital cameras, Sam Ronson and Jeremy Scott.

Most importantly it was a time of widespread irreverence.  Life was easy, right?

Is this upcoming ‘shift’, merely due to the fact that the creative directors are tired of designing WFH wardrobes, hybrid lifestyle wear, and luxury sweats. They miss the widespread irreverence.

The Pantone Color Institute released its NYFW Fall 2022 trend report with Tiger Orange, Samoan Sun, and Martini Olive shades “that illustrate our need to break free of restraint and embrace the joy of being alive." We’ve heard this before.

We think Michael Kors said it better to Vogue as the “antithesis of sad slipper life.” In addition, LaQuan Smith noted that his sales went up “87 percent for bodysuits and catsuits. I was like, ‘Where are these women going?’”.

... sales went up “87 percent for bodysuits and catsuits. I was like, ‘Where are these women going?’”.

So, with the ever-present push-pull of creating commercial pieces vs being original, as a brand you must: please your loyal customers, attract new ones and blow up the socials with an incredible moment of newness.

It’s hard. So the best bet was for NYFW to do what it does best, and no one did this better than Peter Do if you believe the ‘it’ accounts of social media pronouncing PD the show of the week. And we believe.

There was artistry, whimsy, supermodels, age, shape, and cultural diversity (unlike 2010), and some pretty clear trends. Here’s the need to know, now.

Leather Everything

NYFW FW22 models - leather trend
Dion Lee, Coach, Peter Do, Gabriela Hearst

Khaite stormed out with the slick neo-grunge thing alongside a Nirvana soundtrack, which was pretty confusing for her Katie Holmes fan set - but we saw this coming from the NIN soundtrack last season.

Anyhow, leather abounded in waisted coats, waistcoats, wide-leg pants, bustiers, maxi, and mini skirts. The main rule? Wear it head to toe.

Shearling coats

NYFW FW22 models - shearling trend
Michael Kors, Eckhaus Latta, Peter Do, Dion Lee

NYC never forgot about the statement coat, which Michael Kors deems the New Yorker’s “calling card”. Khaite’s Catherine Holstein said backstage, “...if they’re emotional about it, there are no price boundaries,” in reference to a $12,000 shearling coat Kendall Jenner wore that racked up a 140 long waitlist.

Shearling is the sustainable way to do it, as seen in every kind of length, from oversize motor jackets to clutch coats.

Fluid suiting

NYFW FW22 models - fluid suiting trend
Proenza Schouler, Michael Kors, Peter Do, The Row

Peter Do stunned his audience with very wearable, very directional suiting.  Hitting the nail on the head in terms of commercial and creative.

Hitting the nail on the head in terms of commercial and creative.

Proenza Schouler offered glorious trousers, Michael Kors showed loose camel-coloured pantsuits, and The Row delivered on the oversized Olsen look for the chicest NY winter. The maxi skirt was another mainstay solution for the working wardrobe, seen at Peter Do, Tory Burch, and Carolina Herrera.

Breakout trend: Mermaidcore

NYFW FW22 models - mermaid trend
Khaite, Eckhaus Latta, Altuzarra, Bevza

Scaling, wet-look tresses, netting, fluid slips, and shimmering makeup; the sea-ridden damsel emerged as a theme du jour. Perhaps Altuzarra most obviously adopting the mermaid style with Gigi Hadid’s full-length gold-scaled gown, pirate-chic crochet pieces, blouses, and an overall sense of tie-dyed creatures from the deep.

Will we see similar patterns emerge as we head to London? Will the traditional and classics simply be refreshed, or will the punk spirit rear its fantastic head? Because if anyone knows irreverence, it’s the Brits.

Industry & Trends
Subscribe to Style Arcade
Arrow pointing north-east