Body Language: Top Trends from SS22 London Fashion Week

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

The now-or-never-ness at London’s Spring Summer 2022 runway shows was chaos to behold. As though the unknown future of daily life, travel, and nightlife encouraged the London set to design with abandon, unadulterated emotion, and no fear. And even without the likes of Burberry and Victoria Beckham staging in-person events, the shows did not go quietly, proving they didn’t need the major players to make noise. Case in point; the four emerging trends that spoke to dressing, thinking, and feeling of right now - a “now” that will never birth a more fervent reaction again.

Richard Quinn articulated it best, saying, “It was the idea of beauty and tension, and how they work together, after a time when everyone’s been locked up.”

The New Neon

Richard Quinn, David Koma, Roksander, Osman, Molly Goddard

Like their American counterparts, London had reason to celebrate; creativity, positivity, and feelings of liberty combined in an electric shock of colour, not for the faint of heart. The UK capital was a stage for the fearless; irreverent silhouettes, sequined razzle-dazzle, and happy-go-loud colour that appeared - if anything - as something to throw in the face of the mundane that much of the world’s come to know.

Richard Quinn got tongues wagging in supermodel-studded head-to-toe neon (literally), while Roksander displayed overwhelming colour as theatre, through volume created by the dance troupe presenting her collection. Molly Goddard used her maternity leave to take child-like neon to the next level, “I started with the idea of taking five children’s dresses and copying them exactly – just scaling them up massively,” Goddard told Vogue UK.

Heritage Print Redux

KNWLS, Yuhan Wang, Chopova Lowena, Richard Quinn, Erdem

It seems only right that exactly 30 years on from the release of some of the consequential alt-rock albums of all time; from Nirvana’s Nevermind, to the Pixies’ Trompe Le Monde, that nostalgic prints, ladylike florals and plaids in all their patched-up, punkish glory hit the big time at LFW.

A certain strangeness helped to differentiate this time-honoured theme; from the cowboy anarchists at KNLWS, to Simone Rocha’s embroidered tulle dresses fit for a Hole video, to the allover floral printed quirky babydoll styles at Chopova Lowena, and quilting at Richard Quinn. The printed gun holsters at Yuhan Wang were perhaps the most confronting statement of the week; if that’s not punk, then what is. For the more traditional, scenes at Erdem and Emilia Wickstead offered a prettier, old-world glamour on charming prints and romantic florals.

Sliced and Diced

David Koma, Nensi Dojaka, KNWLS, Erdem, Supriya Lele

The spaghetti thin, the key-hole cutouts, the halter necks, and midriffs. It’s not just the New Yorkers who want you to know what they’ve been working on in lockdown. The Y2K revivalism is in full tilt, and sexy is back; welcome the trend-approved way to show off the skin and self-care rituals we’d been hell-bent tending to. David Koma, KNWLS and Nensi Dojaka bet on next-to-nothingness, bodycon silhouettes and midriff-baring cuts for spring; and if partygoers and Dua Lipa are anything to go by (hint: they are/ she is) these Instagram-ready colours and cut-outs will be worth the investment for buyers and retailers.

Wide Leg Jeans

David Koma, Victoria Beckham, Molly Goddard, KNWLS

Lest we forget our beloved comfort in the midst of everything. Wide-leg jeans serve as the directional denim accompaniment to skimpy tops and oversized blazers, and in Molly Goddard’s case, toned-down tulle. It’s the office (of now) approved way to pair with shirts and suiting, for as long as we’ve sat through Zoom meetings, we’re evidently still not ready for the stiffness of skinny silhouettes. From KNWLS to Victoria Beckham and David Koma, a little relaxation goes a long way in the bottom-half department, especially if we’re busy strapping on and tie-ing up the top half.

Key Takeaways

Despite running a little behind on the inclusive runways of New York when it comes to size and age, London was not without its fluidity in dressing and open-mindedness to colour and form. A deep connection to music, pop culture, and heritage permeate the London collections, and this time it was infused with overt happiness.

Looking to colour, brevity, and boldness, there was an unbridled sense of escapism through abstraction, with a heady dose of romanticism. A genuine reminder that reality is what we make it.

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