Could you stand a fashion show as war breaks out just over 1,000 miles away? Still in the throes of a global pandemic, the fashion industry echoed Miuccia Prada’s sentiments uttered in a statement released after her Fall/Winter 2022 show. And learn from people’s lives. But at what cost?, people and their neighbors wondered, as they sat in the front rows in New York, London, Milan and Paris, phones ringing with updates on the Russian invasion and the dire situation of the Ukrainian people.
Giorgio Armani held his fashion show in Milan in silence, as a sign of respect. Many brands big and small donated and spoke about the importance of creativity in the face of autocracy. But the now mononymous Demna recognized the elephant on the trail most explicitly. Having considered canceling his Balenciaga show, he reframed it as an act of resistance, realizing that “to cancel this show would be to give in”. This comment was particularly poignant given that the designer was forced to flee his native Georgia in 1993, aged 12, and later sought refuge in Ukraine. Her show, originally conceived as a commentary on climate change, became a response to war, with models venturing down a snowy track, bent against the wind, carrying trash bags (leather) containing personal effects. The last two looks – one blue, one yellow, in the colors of the Ukrainian flag – embodied fashion’s desire to move forward, for better or for worse, no matter the context.
Read more: Key 10 Spring/Summer 2022 trends Know now
Other talking points for fall: gender fluidity, sex appeal, body positivity. Come fall, waists will be cinched and fabrics will be sheer—that youthful twist for the year 2000 and the form-fitting garments that made a name for themselves in acres of bare skin last summer aren’t going anywhere. Suits roll out of the office, upping the glam quotient for evening in luxurious velvets, bold prints and colors that make you want to jump for joy. Knitting is everywhere and goes with everything.
But the biggest fashion trend in the fall/winter 2022 collections? The return of beautifully crafted clothing you can wear anytime, anywhere. Witness the rise of the humble tank top, a wardrobe binder that rarely dominates the spotlight, yet took center stage at Prada, Bottega Veneta and Loewe. Ditto the flight jacket, inflated with sequins, leather and feathers and associated with feminine skirts and thigh-high boots. The oversized blazer, too, had a punch, paired with everything from tiny metallic skirts and latex boots at Versace to loose drawstrings and sneakers at Louis Vuitton. Whether you want to show off or not, these are clothes to go the distance. Enjoy this freedom.