The Big Apple is Big Again: Trends from SS22 NYFW
Street style, front rows, and Gigi Hadid. New York Fashion Week returned with all the vigour you'd expect from the return to real-time. Discover the standout trends from Spring Summer ‘22.
Street style, front rows, and Gigi Hadid. New York Fashion Week returned with all the vigour you’d expect from a city that didn’t know what sleep was up until two seasons ago. While FW21 tried haphazardly to prove the point of emergence, Spring Summer ‘22 felt like the real deal, it felt new. It was New York, New York.
NYFW found its footing with a new class of innovators and creators drawing inspiration from the reawakened melting pot of the city. With outstanding venues and iconic backdrops, the shows lauded a new kind of femininity - it was pretty, not flouncy. Sensational colour in distorted geo, checked and tie-dye prints, crochet resort sets, and iridescent partywear. Powerful tailoring and every kind of cut-out possible for the skin-baring and the daring. There was something for everyone, not least the commercially-driven somethings that elated retailers and buyers looking to bring the fashion party back to life.
It’s party time in case you didn’t notice, and there’s not a moment to waste. Well, not according to Brandon Maxwell, LaQuan Smith, and the flag-bearer of glamorous nightlife, Mr Tom Ford. Glossy, glittering, and liquid metallic; some presentations appeared to be raining diamonds in neon colours, impossible to ignore.
Tom Ford acknowledged to Vogue, the social media factor in influencing the large-ness of outfits that produce user-generated content at its best.
“Photogenic clothes today by their very nature mean that they are not at all timid… My clothes this season are simple in cut but not in impact,” Ford told Vogue.
And he meant it. Oversized, gilded, and chained, his collection showcased metallic everything in knitwear to satin blazers and crystal-studded chokers. In a similar vein, LaQuan Smith unveiled his collection at the Empire State Building with his signature motorcycle trousers now in electric blue, alongside barely-there bodysuits, and draped halter styles.
Brandon Maxwell proposed sharp, shiny tailoring, next to soft pleated gold lamé skirts, patent leather, and sporty stripes in contrast colours. Meanwhile, Rodarte proposed softer glitz in ultra-feminine silhouettes, sequins, and satin for the Rodarte woman who wants to take their comfort after-hours.
For a number of designers, the idea of garments hanging on by a thread became quite literal. As though, the rush of getting back out to the real world left you with skewiff buttons, a bralette and a mesh cover-up. The shock factor and exposure of skin through mesh, variegated knitwear, fine-gauze jersey, one-legged trousers, and unexpected waist cut-outs was modern, and unadulterated. These body-bearing garments worn on a diverse size and age range of models aimed to frame the wearer's body rather than emphasise it.
These body-bearing garments worn on a diverse size and age range of models aimed to frame the wearer's body rather than emphasise it.
From the extreme mid-riff baring and low-low-riding at Sandy Liang to technical needlework at Eckhaus Latta and sheer everything in juxtaposing colours at Vaquera, Thom Browne and Maryam Nassir Zadeh - the handy work seemed off the cuff, a new breed of New York craftsmanship. And it was exciting.
Lisa Aiken of Neiman Marcus told WWD, “There was a lot of print, a lot of colour in a very wearable way seen in handcrafted and artisanal techniques — tie-dyed prints, crochet, embroidery. It’s about the feel of the human hand in the clothes... The counterpart of that soft femininity is this sexier, more glamorous body-conscious approach.”
Knitwear played a big role in the retro resort-scape of the season with Staud, Rachel Comey and Altazurra producing extremely wearable collections through artisanal techniques and traditional means. Crochet was used across the collections from bold, abstract patterns on bikinis and cardigans, to simpler, sleek dresses and coats.
Gabriela Hearst’s sustainable collection of summer knits were created in collaboration with traditional Navajo weavers from South America. While Comey’s high-spirited prints and jacquards to suit the city’s creatives; exactly like the crew of dancers, artists, writers, actors, landscape designers, and stylists in her show.
The New Uniform
While the shows had a definite tilt toward the celebratory side of life, many designers went back to work, exampled by NYFW standout, Peter Do - in a big way. Do showcased impeccably tailored pieces in pale neutrals and soft pastels. The effortless minimalism was a palette cleanser between the glamour of the week, reminding us that less is more. As he told Vogue, “making your life easier while looking good.”
The effortless minimalism was a palette cleanser between the glamour of the week, reminding us that less is more.
Proenza Schouler paired tailored jackets with fringed shorts, contrasting black structured shoulder pads with canary yellow dresses, complete with loafers, flat sandals and handmade leis that matched the for the new, relaxed, post-Covid take on office (or Zoom) wear.
Thom Browne, who returned to NYFW for the first time in four years, displayed a more deconstructed take on signature tailored shapes. School uniform grey shades with asymmetric sleeve details, and trousers, vests and coats applicable to men, women and everyone in-between.
From Peter Do’s first NYFW show to Rodarte’s signature other-worldy whimsy, and Khaite’s glamorous underground - it was authenticity that ran through the veins of the designers, a major player in the success of the return of real-life shows. Size inclusivity, sustainability and gender fluidity continue to gain momentum, leaning into wider market appeal.
Size inclusivity, sustainability and gender fluidity continue to gain momentum, leaning into wider market appeal.
Fashion from the Big Apple is big again. Femininity is softer, suiting is tailored to the working landscape and after-hours is fun again. The week allowed retailers and designers a sigh of relief because there are places to go and people to be seen by - even if just on social media. Welcome back New York, we missed you.
About the Author
Anna is a writer and journalist, with seven years experience in copywriting, digital marketing and eCommerce. Anna has worked with leading Australian fashion, beauty and lifestyle brands over the past seven years, including sass & bide, Sportscraft, and Peppermayo. She now runs her own freelance business, Papercut Copy, and will never not feel weird about writing her bio in the third person.