Fashion

Spring’s Top Runway Trends Look To The Past For The Future

After two lonely, locked-down seasons, during which fashion insiders had to make do with viewing short films and online lookbooks from their couches, Fashion Month makes its return, with back-to-back shows, enviably ebullient street style, and trends galore. But while much about the biannual event is the same as it was pre-COVID — lines are still long, seating is still limited, and preening and peacocking still take place aplenty — much has changed since the pandemic ushered runways online back in February 2020.

Back then, nearly everything was oversized and slouchy, with Snuffleupagus-ish silhouettes ready to cloak us into obscurity. That, and the fashion world was obsessed with end-of-the-world wears, eerily in sync with the events that were looming on the horizon. Now, after emerging from a claustrophobic and entirely digital fashion existence, the view is quite different. 

Thus far in the marathon that is spring ‘22 Fashion Month, sartorial staples from the turn of the millennium are reigning supreme, with shrunken dresses, skirts, and cardigans; ultra-low-rise bottoms; visible G-strings; and naked dresses all showing face on the catwalk. No longer are we seeing clothing designed to hide us. Post-lockdown, people want to be seen, thongs and all. 

Designers being a flighty bunch, they didn’t stick to one era. Dipping deeper into the history books, Rodarte, Brandon Maxwell, and Monse were all in the mood for shrooms circa 1973, adding the trippy motif into their spring assortments. Reaching even further back were brands like Markarian, Collina Strada, and Christian Siriano with their myriad Regencycore references — tied, of course, to Netflix’s steamy and ultra-popular drama series Bridgerton. God save the corset

See below just how much fashion has changed since the last round of IRL shows.

Micro Mini

And the hemlines just keep on edging higher up. After a selection of very short fashions at Paris Fashion Week in July — most notably displayed on Bella Hadid at Off-White’s runway show — we thought we’d seen skirts and dresses get as close to the third rail as they could ever get. And yet, on the catwalks at Saint Sintra, Kim Shui, Theophilio, and more, the crops were ever more cropped. But after months and months locked up inside, who can blame us for wanting to show ourselves off. We’re not just pixels — we’re made of skin! Plus, what’s not to love about a girl with a short skirt (and a loooong jacket)?

Kim Shui

Theophilio
Saint SintraPhotography by Neva Wireko.

Tiny Cardigans

Last season’s crochet craze lives on in the form of miniature cardigans. From Markarian’s pin top-style sweater to Brandon Maxwell’s gingham cardigans worn over-the-shoulder, it’s safe to say that designers are giving women more options to be comfy and ready for unexpected changes in weather. After all, a cardigan over one’s shoulder is sometimes the closest thing to a hug. 

Maryam Nassir Zadeh

Brandon Maxwell
Sandy Liang

The Naked Dress

Speaking of showing everything off, nothing does the trick quite like a naked dress. This season, the likes of Maryam Nassir Zadeh, Rodarte, Christian Siriano, and Saint Sintra sent their models down the catwalk in skin-showing dresses that were equal parts slight in fabric and chic, many being constructed out of translucent mesh or lace.

Saint Sintra

Christian Siriano
Eckhaus LattaPhoto: Don Ashby.

Low Rise

Holding out hope that low-rise pants won’t actually make a comeback in 2021? Hate to break it to you, but designers like Brandon Maxwell, Maryam Nassir Zadeh, Collina Strada, Kim Shui, and more just buoyed the oft-maligned pant silhouette by including belly-baring pant styles in their spring collections. There’s nothing left to do now but embrace them (and maybe buy some low-rise undies).

Brandon MaxwellPhoto: courtesy of Brandon Maxwell.

Maryam Nassir Zadeh
Sandy Liang
Collina Strada

Over Undies

That, or you could always just let your underwear roam free, an eye-catching trend that was spotted at shows like Theophilo, Victor Glemaud, Maisie Wilen, and Saint Sintra. Gone are the days when your pants, skirts, and dresses were meant to be worn on top of your undergarments, a pair of standard-issue boyshorts or a bikini lurking unseen below. For spring, fashion’s finest wants you to flash your panties… on purpose.

Victor Glemaud

Sandy Liang
Anna Sui

Bridgerton Extra

One would think that after more than a year at home, fashion would embrace the comfort-first reality altogether. But if spring 2022 trends are any indication, corsets are here to stay. While 2021 corsets were the epitome of Regencycore, in 2022, we’ll adopt waist-worshipping silhouettes in everything from strapless tube tops to structured bodices with flouncy skirts. Sit up straight, here comes the lace. 

Collina Strada

MarkarianPhoto: Dan Lecca.
Elena Velez

Mushroom Motifs

There’s a fungus among us, and we’re not complaining. Let’s be honest: reality is pretty grim right now. So we can’t blame fashion for getting a bit high on mushrooms — or at least, hinting at the possibility. Designers like Monse, Rodarte, and Brandon Maxwell showed mushroom motifs in their spring collections with prints of pastel-colored fungi and cartoon-style ‘shrooms. 

RodartePhoto: Greg Kessler.

Brandon MaxwellPhoto: Greg Kessler.

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