A question mark has hovered over the future of fashion shows since long before the pandemic. But, if the recent spring/summer 2022 men’s shows are an indication, it’s not dampened designers’ imaginations. At all.
Here’s what to buy next season...
Flash the flesh
Prada’s models were filmed stalking a red tunnel at the Fondazione Prada in Milan, before emerging out onto a beach in Sardinia. Miuccia Prada said the show and collection were designed to symbolise, “the notion that living your life can be a euphoric experience.” Co-creative director Raf Simons added:, “This collection is very easy, practical, yet still elegant. There is a lot of swimwear – but also tailoring. Very pure. Very simple.” It was a marriage of timeless wardrobe ideas with a big dollop of excellent Prada sexiness. Boardroom blazers over mini-skirt shorts, all-in-ones with tattoo-like print motifs, colourful leather jackets, knitted vests and floral-print Summer of Love-ready hoodies. Fendi also offered thigh-grazing shorts, often multi-pocketed, sometimes with cropped mid-drifty jackets showing skin – a theme in many of these collections.
“I wanted the collection to capture that free spirit of youth and its honest and daring attitude, that sense of experimentation and fluidity,” said Burberry’s Riccardo Tisci. Cue models stomping through sand – stomping through sand is very 2022 btw – in iterations of the trench, leather halter-neck vests and piercings a-plenty. A series of models rode on one another’s shoulders like warriors before descending into a holding area to partake in a kind of warehouse rave. One colleague summed it up as “very Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.” Quite.
Rick Owens’ work has always had something of the warrior about it and his excellent show staged in Venice did not disappoint. Owens proposed many of his signatures, including bulbous shouldered jackets, super long fluid trousers and cut-away bodysuits to striking effect.
Let’s go, disco
Awkward beauty, club culture and artist Florian Krewer where central themes to Jonathan Anderson’s latest twist on Loewe. “This season is about the action of having fun,” he said. This manifested itself in neon, trousers made of rope, circular cut-out tops, sequins and glitter. “In some of the outfits we’ve gone full disco ball,” he quipped.
What would Travis Scott wear?
Dior’s Kim Jones muse this season was musician and regular front row guest Travis Scott. Their live show in Paris featured a Texan landscape – a nod to both Christian Dior himself who visited Texas in the late 1940s, and Scott who was born in the state and owns a label called Cactus Jack. Flared trousers (a Scott-ism), a palette of pink through acid green and brown and signature Jones tailoring all appeared alongside hand-painted shirts by American artist George Condo.
The hype sneaker
Virgil Abloh, men’s artistic director of Louis Vuitton, took to the streets of Paris for a walk about to celebrate his latest offering. While Abloh’s work at Vuitton is a celebration of diversity from myriad touchpoints, the key clothing takeaway here was a suit that the designer himself wore: a short, neat jacket with belt, trousers with slashed ankles. Basically, a suit inspired by a tracksuit, a riff on his sportswear roots. There were also dresses and earmuffs. Though it is arguably his collaboration with Nike on a series of remixed Air Force 1’s that look set to cause the biggest noise amongst loyal followers.
One of the season’s most exciting menswear reveals came from Courrèges designer Nicolas di Felice who delivered a knock-out, perfectly edited collection of minimalistic staples, great denim and a very pleasing ribbed beige jumpsuit. Simple, effective, chic.
Erdem, the acclaimed London based Canadian womenswear designer who had dipped his toe into menswear for his H&M collaboration, launched his first full eponymous line. Shot on a beach, near Dungeness, sleeveless striped tanks, floral prints and shorts with hats gave off a cute Bloomsbury-esque eccentricity.
Hermes’s collection was a masterclass in effortless expensiveness, from lightweight jackets and Bermuda shorts to a palette that featured bright egg yolk yellow against more organic pinkish greys and browns. Meanwhile Jil Sander featured strong shapes and modern silhouettes, in an excellent range of hues including pink, lilac, tomato red and a wonderful soft green. Sir Paul Smith went all in with Tuscan terracotta and orange sunrises.
Simon Chilvers is creative director of MATCHESFASHION.COM