Looking Back at How Fashion Evolved in 2022

In 2022, the fashion industry surged back to life. Runway presentations returned to their fullest forms since before the pandemic, with brands like JW Anderson and Coperni staging double-take-worthy spectacles that reminded onlookers of the power of fashion weeks. Brands united for memorable collaborations, some of which saw high-fashion merge with streetwear, while others let sportswear become avant-garde via artisanal craftsmanship. Industry-shifting designers embarked on their first outings at the helms of new labels, while others bid farewell with final deliveries and the announcements of new chapters. Couture pushed the limit in menswear and genderless design, and the quest for a viral moment retained the utmost importance among brands in today’s digital-first domain. Most importantly, however, fashion had fun.

Below, Hypebeast has rounded up the biggest moments in fashion this year.

Runways Returned to Form

Spring/Summer 2023 saw Fashion Month return to form. For the two seasons that followed the pandemic, New York, London, Milan, and Paris Fashion Weeks were lackluster – occasions did not bring the people out as the industry had hoped, and the runway presentations missed the grand flair that makes shows so special. SS23 on the other hand was quite the contrary.

Drama was served in abundance; it felt as if Creative Directors were ready to sell us their stories harder than ever before. The emotional tribute to Issey Miyake had its audience in tears, the angsty attitude at Chopova Lowena made the audience smile, JW Anderson took us to an arcade for an intimate moment, Simone Rocha had the crowd cheering and whooping for her menswear debut, Balenciaga mocked the scene by chucking it in a mud pit, and how can we forget Coperni.

“Coperni’s Spray-Painted Fabrican Dress Will Go Down In the Fashion History Books” – those were our words on the moment that dominated Fashion Month and the glitterati’s conversations. It was a spectacle of innovation and left us in awe, a jaw-dropping, iconic moment that will be remembered in the same vein as a legendary Lee Alexander McQueen show, for example.

This is the energy that oozed throughout SS23, wherever you were. Newcomers to established Houses knocked the runway out of the park this season, bringing back the reason why fashion editors, tastemakers, buyers, and influencers traipse the cities and endure the rain in open-air locations – it was a season of shows to remember because the glamor was there in all its glory.

Don’t Take Things Seriously

Fashion has a tendency to take itself seriously – which is no surprise for an industry dripping in antiquated tropes, societal expectations, classism and hierarchy. But as we explained with Fashion Month’s comeback, this year took a joyous turn, and with that came the ability to have fun.

While the runways showed their silly sides – BOTTER’s condom gloves, LOEWE’s 8-bit T-shirts, Beate Karlsson’s trippy torment, and Gucci seeing double all come to mind – what was translated into the way we dress was an understanding of relaxing, not getting pent up on being papped wearing the “it” item at Fashion Week or hyper-focusing on how one looks.

Instead, we took a leaf out of the footwear industry’s books from last year (thanks, Birkenstock) and started to dress comfortably, accessibly, understatedly – even in situations that would typically require “a lewk.”

With creatives such as Jonathan Anderson and Simone Porte Jacqeumus exploring clothes as art, this concept of having fun with fashion took a more relatable approach when it came to our daily wares – don’t take yourself too seriously. We wrapped up in cardigans and distressed leather jackets and a pair of baggy jeans for front-row moments, or chucked on a divisively ugly dress for a party, and it proved that people who enjoy the fashion world are no longer concerned with such a pristine, perhaps even pretentious image.

Game Recognized Game

In 2022, fashion saw some of the industry’s top players come together for colossal collaborations. Among myriad crossovers, high-fashion met streetwear, box logos merged with the avant-garde and sportswear became luxury with expert craftsmanship. For better or for worse, there were too many partnerships to consume. Nevertheless, here were the highlights.

Fendace, the brainchild of Donatella Versace, Silvia Venturini Fendi and Kim Jones, arrived this year, with a bevy of silhouettes fusing classic Fendi and Versace house motifs. The collaboration marked a legendary union between two of Italy’s finest fashion houses, undoubtedly marking its place in fashion’s history books with bold print.

Elsewhere in Milan, Gucci put out two pivotal collaborations. First, the Italian house tapped German sportswear brand adidas for Fall 2022, welcoming a legion of Trefoil and Three Stripes-branded suits, knitwear, dresses and coats. Later, Gucci paired with Palace, for a line described as “Guccier than Gucci.” In it, the “GG” motif appeared alongside Palace’s Triferg emblem across ready-to-wear and accessories — collectively, the offering became instantly iconic in the world of streetwear.

Supreme is known for a good collab, and this year, the label struck cords with multiple. The brand’s monumental collaboration with Burberry stirred conversations, with an emphasis placed on outerwear and a healthy mixing of both imprints’ design codes. Additionally, Supreme’s Yohji Yamamoto collaboration deserves a call-out, particularly for its statement-making leather jackets.

Louis Vuitton and Nike came together for a range of collaborative takes on the Nike Air Force 1. Within the colorful lineup, the duo welcomed experimental iterations of the classic footwear silhouette in “Met Gold/Baroque Brown/Black” and “Met Silver/Black/Dark Purple Dusk/Topaz Gold,” among others.

Tremaine Emory‘s Denim Tears was much-talked-about, too. The brand tapped Stüssy for a collection that referenced the designer’s African-American roots across matching denim sets, knitwear and sweaters. Shortly after, Emory’s label launched a capsule with Dior, titled “Dior Tears,” which paid tribute to Black artists and creatives including James Baldwin and jazz trumpeter Miles Davis.

Suffice it to say, game recognized game in fashion this year.

Designer Debuts and Industry Moves

In the industry’s executive seats, much changed in 2022. At some fashion houses, new creative directors made their debuts on fashion week’s runways; at others, seasoned visionaries saw their last creations march before the glitterati brigade. In either case, the industry welcomed the dawn of new eras for a number of brands.

At the top of the year, the Fall/Winter 2022 season felt optimistic with a number of designer debuts. In Milan, Matthieu Blazy, showed his first collection for Bottega Veneta, succeeding Daniel Lee, whose exit was announced in November of last year. In his debut, Blazy brought a real sense of wearability to the brand, with clean silhouettes donning relaxed tailoring. Meanwhile, in Paris, NIGO took the reigns at KENZO, marking the first Japanese designer to front the house since its founder Kenzo Takada. His debut collection delivered a “real-to-wear” expression that blended KENZO’s heritage with contemporary codes.

The following season, Milan saw four new faces enter the scene. Marco de Vincenzo debuted at Etro, with a collection that showcased the brand’s potential through wider exploration and themes of radical romanticism. Maximilian Davis showed his first collection for Ferragamo, offering an altered take on the brand’s logo and fluid designs made with organza fabrics, sheer knits and liquid silks. Rhuigi Villaseñor shipped his first delivery at the helm of BALLY, sending a hybrid range of vintage-inspired garments down his first runway. Last, Filippo Grazioli offered a palate-cleansing collection for his first outing at Missoni, with safe takes on the house’s codes that tended to a youthful audience.

As many designers began their journeys at new luxury labels, others concluded their stints. Among them, Riccardo Tisci stepped down as creative director at Burberry after almost five years at the brand, and Daniel Lee took his place. At Gucci, Alessandro Michele exited the high seat after a nearly eight-year run at the storied Italian label’s helm; and at Prada, Miuccia Prada and Patrizio Bertelli resigned as co-CEOs of the Italian luxury fashion house group.

While those labels looked to new beginnings, one saw its final days: Raf Simons. After 27 years, the designer announced the official conclusion of his namesake design label in November.

Class in Couture

Over the past few years, the conversation on expanded gender constructs within fashion and style has continued to evolve. From skirts and dresses taking on genderless constructions to men becoming more experimental with accessories, the range of expansions is fostering a broader look at the full extent of gender identity. 2022 pushed the needle even further as Haute couture, which notoriously centers on womenswear, got its feet wet by bringing select menswear ensembles into the mix.

Under the creative direction of John Galliano, Maison Margiela’s Fall 2022 couture show conveyed some of the most gender-fluid designs of not just that season, but for all of modern couture. With what some may deem as expanded ready-to-wear silhouettes, menswear couture collection pieces were comprised of textured/braided high-waisted pants, sculptural overcoats with unfinished detailing, sublime skirts and fanciful multicolored dresses. Another key player this year was Balenciaga’s Fall 2022 couture collection, which dually served as one of the most widely discussed fashion shows of the year. Exhibiting a fusion of futuristic drama and refinement, the menswear-oriented ensembles included a shimmering textured black evening set, ruched tops, oversized wrap coats, cinched hourglass blazers and floor-hugging hourglass tuxedo jackets.

Even Olivier Rousteing’s Fall 2022 couture offering for Jean Paul Gaultier followed suit with slightly dystopic menswear looks inspired by Gaultier’s 1994 RTW tattoo collection. Slightly sheer cotton and silk blend pieces were elevated by intricate multicolored illustrations and varied interpretations of Gaultier’s signature nautical stripe design.

Regardless of the designer, it is clear that there is a growing affinity for not just menswear, but genderless couture creations because quite frankly, there are several groups of people that crave extravagant and fantasy-like designs. With this desire now crossing into couture at the hands of some of the world’s most sought-after houses, it is only a matter of time before Haute couture as a whole is more cosmopolitan than ever before.

Virility in Volume

If 2022 has shown us anything, it’s the unchanging fact that virility is just as important as the product itself today. But how a designer or brand may reach that coveted viral status is up to them. Whether it be a completely original design approach, enlisting the right personnel to wear your pieces or a combination of both, the grasp for virility remains the same. From revitalized brands to accessories, 2022 was one for the books (or blogs).

One of the most successful comeback stories in recent fashion is definitely Diesel under the creative direction of Glenn Martens. Following Marten’s first runway show for the Italian brand in February of this year, the revitalized D logo and ensuing contemporary designs has graced both covers and cobblestone streets. Receiving the Logo of the Year distinction in Lyst’s 2022 Year in Fashion report, Diesel’s re-emergence as a cultural interest has not only been thanks to RTW garments but accessories as well. Standouts from Diesel this year include its 1DR shoulder bag, B-Berny Belt Miniskirt and its logo tank tops – some of which have sold out throughout the seasons.

In the same vein as accessories, J.W. Anderson’s pigeon clutch served as a whimsical example that fashion virility can be rooted in fun as well. The piece first made its appearance in the brand’s FW22 menswear show before proliferating TikTok videos, Instagram posts and several retailers – where the bag completely sold out. But the animal-inspired clutch wasn’t the only bag that made people talk this year. New York-based label LUAR continues to grow in acclaim in both accessories and ready-to-wear pieces. But the brand’s signature Ana bag is what has continuously turned heads, which helped the brand’s founder/creative director Raul Lopez win this year’s CFDA American Accessory Designer of the Year Award.

Although these are just a few examples, it is evident that virility was in abundance this year – begging us to not just open our phones but our wallets.