Ten top trends from the winter 2022-23 womenswear shows
Just when some light could be glimpsed at the end of the pandemic tunnel, with physical catwalk shows making a come-back, the fashion week season was disrupted by the war in Ukraine, extinguishing the festive feeling. The Fall/Winter 2022-23 collections that showed on the New York, London, Milan and Paris runways from February 11 to March 8 2022 - originally intended to herald renewed business energy, and a new normal that is now instead plagued by fresh uncertainty - featured two distinct registers, mixing practical, comfy clothes, especially suits and cocooning oversize coats, with colourful, sexier and much more glamorous outfits, a hymn to the femininity that has been kept cloistered in the last two years.
Sportswear has featured less and less frequently in women’s collections in the last few seasons, and the trend is growing stronger as the pandemic wanes. After two years in which loungewear was a lockdown must, women are keen to wear dresses again, and to dress up. An inclination marking a widespread return to structured garments. Suits, skirt suits, statement jackets and overcoats, made in tweed and other fine wools typical of menswear, are now ubiquitous. Notably cut in ample, comfortable volumes that are nevertheless extremely elegant.
2. The hourglass jacket
This tailoring mood is conveyed most clearly by the hourglass silhouette, a symbol of femininity par excellence. A morphology that was very much the norm in the 1950s, and has now been modernised with broader shoulders, a slimmer waist and rounded volumes at the hips. Several designers have worked in this direction, with their jackets and with hourglass-shaped dresses and corsets, like Dior’s revamped ‘new look’, followed among others by Sportmax, Courrèges, Jil Sander, Proenza Schouler and N°21.
3. Boudoir belles
Alongside tailored items, featured in all collections, lingerie is making a strong come-back, introducing an array of ultra-feminine items with tulle and sheer effects galore. Body suits, corsets, bustiers, petticoats and even skin-tight Catwoman-style jumpsuits, first glimpsed last summer, are all the rage. And so are bras, which have now taken over from bralettes and often spill out, fully visible, from the neckline. Designers have notably gone to great lengths to create unusual, plunging necklines. To heighten the boudoir feel, vertiginous platform shoes, which made a first appearance in the summer 2022 collections, are now a winter wardrobe must.
4. Mini miniskirts
A new mood, much freer and uninhibited, is dawning in the post-pandemic winter 2022-23, as women unabashedly choose to dress as sexily as they want. The skirt, whose length has symbolised so many battles, has shortened another notch, ending up just shy of the derrière. And is worn ideally with thigh-high boots and maxi coats.
5. Wool stockings
This taste for provocation and for pushing boundaries translates itself into a rebel teen mood, as designers clearly attempt to win over younger women. Many collections are targeting Gen Z kids, aiming for a schoolgirl look (already spotted last winter) which gives a contemporary twist to long socks, woollen stockings and gaiters that rise up along the thighs, as well as woollen tights, seen at Chanel, and opaque ones in bright colours, matched tone-on-tone with short outfits.
6. Tank tops
Seen on a number of runways, knitted tank tops with crew neck and large straps are the height of chic, undoubtedly the must-have item in next winter’s wardrobe. Preferably in the classic version, a white cotton tank top worn over a pair of jeans, leather trousers or a skirt, for an understated but uber-cool allure.
7. Head-shrouding garments
The typical adolescent-style jacket or hoodie thrown over the head, the latter being completely covered and shrouded in the garment, is something several designers have explored. In addition to being a nod to younger consumers, this trend, which is neither very practical nor one of the most aesthetically pleasing, can be seen as indicating a need for protection. Garments cover the head and envelop the upper body, and assume a triangular shape, like a tent or an oval.
This approach to morphology, designed to hide the neck and part of the head, was first adopted at January’s Paris Haute Couture Week by Viktor & Rolf, with silhouettes whose collars and shoulders were exceedingly elevated, the models’ necks lost within them. This season, the same approach was followed notably by Coperni, Dolce & Gabbana and Richard Quinn.
8. Bouclé wool
The need for protection is also expressed via the designers’ work on volumes, especially in very long, ample overcoats, and in cocooning shapes, with plush-effect dresses and clothes. Wool is knitted using all kinds of techniques, yielding bouclé, worsted and shaggy effects, and is increasingly replacing fur, now banned by the majority of labels. Yeti looks are by no means unusual.
9. Thigh-high boots
They are the essential accessory for winter 2022-23. Thigh-high boots are absolutely everywhere, featured in multiple colours, wallpaper fabrics, suede, silvery hues and even embroidered. They come in lace-up, dominatrix-style leather (Ambush, Del Core), in fairy-tale warrior or horseman versions (Balenciaga, Isabel Marrant, AC9), with a sexy twist in black or red leather and latex (Act N°1, Andreadamo, GCDS, Courrèges, MM6), tightly swathed around the legs (Emporio Armani, Ermanno Scervino, Givenchy) and even in the guise of angler-style waders (Chanel).
10. Maxi clutch bags
Micro handbags are about to be replaced by a new, equally coveted type of it bag: the maxi clutch. Like large, soft pillow-shaped squares, hand-held or carried under the arm, maxi clutch bags cropped up notably at Calcaterra, Acne Studios, Bottega Veneta, Diesel, Sportmax and Gauchère.
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