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Seven Sloane-centric style pointers from autumn/winter 2022’s fashion shows

Fashion editor Luke Leitch rounds up the standout moments from the autumn 2022 shows

13 April 2022

Fluffy platforms seen in Bottega Veneta's autumn/ winter 2022 fashion show

Packed tighter than Kim Kardashian at Balenciaga – more on that later – the schedule of seasonal fashion shows in Paris, Milan and London presents an overwhelming overload of information. So we asked runway habitué Luke Leitch to separate the must-wear wheat from the who-cares chaff and identify seven key trends, moments and pointers from fashion month for the autumn season ahead.

Ranger Rebooted: The Urgent Update

Long overdue a dust-down, the seminal Sloane Ranger look was radically reinvented for the 21st Century courtesy of two fashion titans: Burberry and Chanel. Starting with the home-grown, at Burberry, Riccardo Tisci went twistedly British and simultaneously conjured up the best womenswear collection of his time there. Baseball cap/Alice band hybrids and surprisingly sexy evocations of off-duty Sloane staple quilted jackets in black leather were the pieces to pre-register your interest in. 

Over at Chanel, Virginie Viard mused on house-founder Coco’s eureka adaptation of scratchy Scottish tweed to lustrous French bouclé in organically zingy colours. Remembering that Coco Chanel was originally introduced to the wonders of tweed by her British beau the Duke of Westminster made this revival all the more fitting.

Burberry autumn/winter 2022

Corsets Get Cool: The Key Piece

Sloane Street resident Jane Austen would surely have approved of the liberating developments in corsetry this season. At Christian Dior they came attached to Bar Jackets as climate appropriated add-ons, at Versace they provided the “Ooh” to the “La La” of typically ferocious micro-dresses and at Gucci, most surprisingly of all, they came as part of a collaboration with Adidas that was simultaneously counterintuitive and highly desirable. The corset is often used as a metaphor for social subjugation of the feminine, but this season it was reinvented as a talisman of feminine power.

Dior autumn/winter 2022

Daughter Dressing: The Trend with a Twist

Founded only nine years ago, Off-White is luxury’s coolest and most youthful house: the kids love it. The show in Paris was its first since the passing of founder and designer Virgil Abloh, and it went down as what amounted to a joyful memorial meets greatest hits performance. It was very interesting to see Kaia Gerber and her mother, Cindy Crawford, hit the same catwalk and observe that Crawford’s radical taffeta and tailoring demi-couture ensemble looked every bit as convincing as Gerber’s moire puff-sheath: dressing in your daughter’s favourite brand never looked so good.

Off-White autumn/winter 2022. Image: IMAXTREE

Things Can Only Get Meta: The New Influence

Even if you are averse to the metaverse – which is basically a new word for video gaming – there is no question that it is fast emerging as a cultural force in reality. This is why it was smart of Dolce & Gabbana to fashion a dress code that riffed on a style first developed in computer code. This collection anticipated the likelihood of a future in which our online selves and our IRL selves share a hybrid wardrobe, and by translating the dramatic silhouettes, sci-fi decoration, and gleaming screen-like textures that are all the rage in pixels represented a radical real-life aesthetic upgrade.

Dolce & Gabbana autumn/winter 2022

Bright Young Thing: The Freshest Designer

The name on everyone’s lips this season was Matthieu Blazy. Fashion loves the new, so this young Frenchman’s debut collection as artistic director at Bottega Veneta was without doubt Milan’s hottest ticket. But like so much in fashion, Blazy’s ‘newness’ is a seductive illusion; he earned his stripes at Balenciaga, Raf Simons, Margiela, Celine and Calvin Klein. 

For this first collection as the headline act, Blazy slyly referred to many past collections from those houses in which he’d acted as understudy, while instantly adding intriguing oomph to Bottega’s already brimming store of compelling codes. 

A very Calvin blue jean and white tank-top look was effortlessly Bottega-fied and elevated through its fabrication in the softest leather you can imagine. Violent orange furry platforms and eminently feminocentric tailoring whispered of his time learned from Pheobe Philo at Celine, and the full-leather skirts with bold petticoats crafted from riotous leather fringe instantly went down as a new Bottega Veneta classic.

Bottega Veneta autumn/winter 2022

Hem Fight: The Hottest Debate

The so-called Hemline Index was once considered a viable financial theory: the idea was that the rise and fall in the length of fashionable skirt and dress lengths represented the buoyancy of the economy. How last-century is that? For Autumn 2022 the lesson from the hemline frontline is that trends don’t count any more, and no one ‘look’ is ever dominant – womenswear has become as diverse as womanhood itself, and all the better for it. 

Competing highlights included the aforementioned Bottega petticoat piece, Prada’s glamorously grungy mid-length sheer shirts, Saint Laurent’s rapturously received full-lengthers (part of one of Paris’s standout collections), Brunello Cucinelli’s menswear-check minis and Louis Vuitton’s innovatively fabricated T-shirt mini-dresses. Fashion’s most unimaginative question – “What’s on trend right now?” – finally came with a stimulating answer: anything you want to be.

Brunello Cucinelli autumn/winter 2022

Sticky Situation: The Moment

Which leads neatly to the season’s most impressive fashion moment, which happened at Balenciaga. It’s very unusual to hear clothes before you see them, but the first I knew of Kim Kardashian’s presence was an urgent cellophane squeak somewhere to the right of me: it sounded like someone was trying to wrap multiple Christmas presents at once. 

Then out of the dark came Kardashian, walking gingerly and squeakily to her seat wrapped neck-to-toe in Balenciaga branded packing tape. This was on one level chin-scratchingly symbolic (for who is the world’s most packaged celebrity commodity if not KK?), and on another bracingly direct: in tabloidese it was a look that “flaunted her curves”. 

It was also very funny. Backstage the designer Demna Gvasalia said it had taken about an hour to package Kardashian (as well as the model who wore the same tape in the show) and added that it will soon go on sale at Balenciaga for customers to customise their own looks in any way they wish. Personally, I’d advise against going the full Kardashian, but as a way of garnishing your style with a dash of highly amusing high-luxury seasoning, that Balenciaga tape won fashion week.

Kim Kardashian wearing Balenciaga tape in Paris

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