Vive la libération! The “out-out” dressing juggernaut is free-wheeling its way into next year, as the world’s top buyers are doubling down on fashion that demands to be seen. If 2021 was about getting back in the game, 2022 is going to see us truly putting ourselves out there – according to the power women setting the shopping agenda at Matches Fashion, Net-a-Porter and Farfetch. “The joy of dressing up has quickly moved into the new sexy trend,” asserts Liane Wiggins, head of womenswear at Matches. “Brands are really focusing on looks to enhance and empower women and make the customer feel positive, but always true to themselves.”
Also giving us all the fashion feels? Vintage. But while this year saw us becoming au fait with a growing number of consignment sites, 2022 will see us hunting down archive pieces with a new, laser-sharp focus. Instead of the Jean Paul Gaultier pieces made famous by the Kardashian-Jenners, it’s all about ultra-specific JPG iconography, according to the Depop sellers in the know.
The predicted rise in craftsmanship is also linked to our growing emphasis on environmentally and socially responsible practices. Consider 2022 the year of doing good, and not giving two hoots about what anyone else thinks. Here’s what’s on the agenda.
Let’s talk about s*x, baby
“There’s a feeling of positivity and optimism in the air,” says Wiggins, likening the vibe to the spirit of the women’s liberation movement in the ’60s, when hemlines were high and swinging miniskirts came in colour-pop shades. Valentino led the mood-boosting fashion brigade, while Versace, Saint Laurent and Givenchy sent the message loud and proud that “skin is in”. “It’s all about reclaiming your power and sexuality in a way that works for you,” continues Wiggins, which is why the trend for super-sculpting fabrics and cut-outs is here to stay.
Young upstarts Nensi Dojaka, Maximilian and Supriya Lele have stolen the spliced-and-diced headlines so far, but now more brands are muscling in on the action and opening up the playing field. “There’s a lot of thought around using fabrics that flatter all shapes in the most effortless, approachable way,” explains Wiggins, name-checking Ganni for appropriating the conceal-and-reveal look for those without a militant crunching routine. “The season’s co-ords emphasise your best features with a focus on new erogenous zones, such as shoulder cutouts, which feel body-friendly.” If you’re already a disciple of the skimpy laced-up look, Ludovic de Saint Sernin’s daringly sheer crystal sheaths are the way to go in 2022.
The cult product to spark smiles in: Valentino’s hot-pink crepe dress and green minidress, which combine the sky-high hemline craze with the dopamine colours that we can’t get enough of right now.
Click clack, party shoes are back
“Over the past few years, shoes and bags have become very minimalist, but this season, it felt like designers were designing for themselves again,” notes Wiggins, singling out Loewe’s walking-on-eggshell heels as being “emotive and fun”. Libby Page, senior market editor at Net-a-Porter, concurs that Jonathan Anderson has the Midas touch when it comes to smash-hit footwear, but says Saint Laurent’s eye-watering platforms are “the definition of high-octane glamour”.
The Depop crowd expects cowboy boots to continue to sell out fast as our Western obsession continues to bubble away, while Asal Tehrani of @Susamusa (aka Bella Hadid’s favourite Depop destination), says bags are going to get even more microscopic, in line with our taste for the flavours of the ’90s and ’00s. Even better to let that fearless footwear do the talking.
The instantly iconic heels to bag early: Loewe’s cracked-egg stilettos.
Very specific vintage
Speaking of the Noughties, nostalgia is here to stay. “With Nicola Brognano and Lotta Volkova leading the parade at Blumarine, the ’00s resurgence we were due for is the perfect playful antidote to the dark times we’re emerging from,” explains Celenie Seidel, senior women’s editor at Farfetch. “The shiny, flashiness of Y2K is perfectly in sync with the current spirit of breaking your own style rules, challenging your signature aesthetic, and feeling a bit wild. Rhinestones, weird denim washes, tiny fluff-trimmed cardigans… it’s all remedial.”
Depop sellers can’t source corsets quickly enough to satisfy demand. “The corset trend is already reaching its peak, but I think it will continue into 2022 with unconventional materials, like denim or pleather, taking the main stage,” says Thidarat Kaha of @archivesix, whose business is still comfortably riding the Y2K train. Kaha is also expecting big business in Jean Paul Gaultier from 1995 to 1997, because “the comfort of a JPG mesh top juxtaposed with the loud and iconic print [equals] high vintage fashion on the go”.
Fellow seller Pascale Eliza Davies, of @pascaleeliza, is also stocking up on Gaultier, expecting the brand’s own re-imagining of its archive to boost the value of original pieces, and ’90s Vivienne Westwood Boucher pieces, which are hard to get hold of and extremely lucrative. Her top tip for the year ahead? Motocross jackets are coming back. Start revving those engines and bag that biker look early.
The retro gems Bella will be papped in first: Old-school Karen Millen and Betsey Johnson already sell well on Depop and have a great trajectory ahead, but the one to watch is Morgan De Toi – “a sexy ’90s classic”, according to @Susamusa’s Tehrani.
Arts and crafts corner
If the #craftcore craze was a tad Gen-Z-tastic for you, the rise of real artisanship is truly worth a look. “Gabriela Hearst leads the charge at both her own label, collaborating with South American craft collectives, and as creative director at Chloé via the launch of Chloé Craft, a limited line of unique, handmade pieces,” notes Wiggins, who says the Matches Fashion customer is passionate about authenticity, before highlighting Proenza Schouler, Wales Bonner, Altuzarra and Chopova Lowena as other labels successfully showcasing the work of centuries-old artisanship. “This product doesn’t feel driven by trend or time, it feels collectible. The pieces all tell their own stories and place an emphasis on global luxury production.” Page also links the global aspect of the trend to our appetite for escapism after too long spent grounded.
The homespun humble brag: Any of The Elder Statesman’s fantastically peppy knits, underscored by surfing enthusiast Greg Chait’s flower power vision.
What a way to make a living
On the flip side, we’re excited to be back in the office – at least on the fashion front. “The idea of workwear has almost become fetishised in the time we’ve been locked away at home,” notes Farfetch’s Seidel. “What was once reality has become some sort of fantasy, and the idea of dressing in office-y tailoring feels like a costume for some sort of alternate reality. Miu Miu’s spring/summer 2022 collection, which was a collision of preppy school uniforms and ’90s minimalist office clothes, speaks perfectly to this.”
Kaha at @archivesix predicts Moschino and Versace tailoring is going to get her customers bidding. “We’re going back to the office and the pub-lic, but doing it in style with suits for everyday wear, suits for Sunday afternoons at Columbia Road Flower Market… très chic,” says the smart Depop seller.
The water-cooler conversation starter: Miu Miu’s cheek-grazing belt skirts, which score a grade A for schoolgirlish charm.
The final memo
“After being confined to our homes more than we could ever have anticipated, people have been itching to re-emerge, feeling bolder and more risqué on the cusp of a new era,” says Seidel. Bring on the big reveal.