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Time to slip into something sassy…
POP! SIZZLE! PING! It’s impossible not to get excited finding words to sum up the Spring/Summer ‘22 fashion trends – the strappy, beach-bound styles.
First off, we see ongoing fascination with the metaverse and all things digital… but wait, it’s not only virtual worlds that we can escape to! The prospect of a VERY REAL HOLIDAY and lying on a sandy beach (at last!) brings a sense of joyous freedom to these challenging times.
Moving out of lockdown has seen the fashion industry react in different ways. Many brands are picking up where they left off pre-pandemic while some remain on a mission towards sustainability and environmental concerns… a craft and eco-conscious mood lingers. Meanwhile other influential super league fashion players have pressed ‘pause’ on racing ahead to pull crazy trends out of the fashion box; instead, Burberry, Ralph Lauren, and Armani recognise the need to slowly entice customers away from sofa-friendly comfort. The result? Easy going tailored pieces with a polished, preppy twist, and some not as new as they look.
As we get back to our regular, fashionable gait, we can start to familiarise ourselves with a new selection of separates like the ‘shacket’ (a shirt/jacket hybrid) and ‘coatigan’
(cardigan/coat). These can be worn over stretchy leggings or yoga pants now studded with sequins, or with a sheer panel à la Strictly Come Dancing.
And all this creates the perfect blank canvas for a statement watch – to keep you on time for much longed-for meetings with friends, family, and flights to sunny climes.
A younger fashion customer is feeling nostalgic, fashion-wise. Noughties trends (known as ‘Y2K’) merged with club-inspired pieces from the 1980s, and supermodel looks of the 1990s, are all starting points. Any excuse to throw off that sloppy t-shirt and trackkie pants that remind you of Covid times, I hear you say; it’s not only your swimwear that demands sliced cut-outs, bare mid-riffs, slinky asymmetric dresses or – a huge trend this summer – minis.
And having binged on TV boxsets of dramas packed with amazing costumes (from Peaky Blinders to Game of Thrones, to Bridgerton), there is growing appetite for ultra-feminine details: bodice-ripping billowing frocks with puffed sleeves; frills, lace and a babydoll silhouette.
Here are the 5 key womenswear trends to watch.
TREND 1: THE BIG REVEAL
Let’s start with a trend gaining pace as we head into summer - this Instagram-friendly look is the aforementioned ‘sizzle’ and ‘ping’. For many, the prospect of flying off to Greece, Rome, or a sophisticated UK staycation will be incentive enough to start planning a new wardrobe.
Holidays beckon and, because virtually everyone I know is heading south this summer - I would offer this advice: keep it simple - but strappy. Tops, trousers, and dresses must have a cut-away section, a strap of sorts, or feature some asymmetric detail. A one-shouldered (or one-sleeved) top will instantly update your wardrobe.
For early evening strolls in town, the mood is super sassy: lacing and corset-style tops with bare shoulders. Eveningwear for the daring includes exposed midriffs, low slung cargo pants and flowing, flirty skirts slashed-to-there. Hemlines are micro or maxi with a nod to noughties maximalism.
Colours range from neutrals to predominantly swirling prints in underwater blues and mint green. Update tired animal prints with Greek Island and Jacques Cousteau mermaid tones, or mother of pearlized pastel pales.
Watch style match tip: add diamante for some holiday bling!.
TREND 2: BOLD TAILORED SUITS
Shoulder pads are back! A reaction to sedentary sofa dwelling brings a trend that makes a bright, colour statement. American popstar, Camila Capello, wore an eye-popping blue shade of trouser suit to sing at the Concert for Ukraine in Birmingham last month.
She teamed it with a tiny bralette top (a bikini? - you see…thinking of that beach holiday again). Her wide-legged palazzo pants were teamed with heels. Matchy suits with easy to wear, slightly oversize jackets, stop you from being mistaken for a candidate in The Apprentice.
Watch style match tip: purple, cobalt blue or red will see you through summer.
TREND 3: BABYDOLL
Puffed sleeves, prairie dresses, high-necked collars and Lady Diana pearls belong to this rustic trend. According to We Thrift, Pinterest searches for what is being called ‘Regencycore’ (chiefly inspired by Bridgerton) have increased by 566%.
Customers are also seeking out brands that are taking sustainability seriously, such as Chloé, one of the first high fashion brands to be certified B Corp (as are Albaray, Reformation, Bee & Sons and Baukjen). Recycled, upcycled, or made from sustainable fabrics, flouncy milkmaid dresses look craft loving.
There is a strong Sixties vibe to minis – or maxis, like the dress worn by Kate Middleton on her trip to the Bahamas. Details like ruching, smocking, cute sleeves, and tiered skirts are key. Blue and white cotton shirting also fits the dolly dresses championed by British designer, Molly Goddard - and Norwegian rising star, Fam Irvoll.
Watch style match tip: pinks and rose golds work best for the babydoll.
TREND 4: POLISHED PREPPY
It might look like a clever 21st century take on ‘smart casual’ but Emporio Armani’s latest ICON capsule collection is inspired by styles from the brand’s archive. The idea that some styles never go out of fashion beats at the heart of slow fashion; why would you ever get rid of these versatile pieces?
Many other designer’s including Celine’s Hedi Slimane, and Dior’s Kim Jones have come round to Armani’s ‘gender-neutral’ womenswear; this season includes pieces with roots in sportswear, like long cricket jerseys, draw-string trousers or pleated tennis skirts. Silhouettes are modest and fluid in sensual silky textiles: crêpe-de-Chine linen and pure cotton jerseys. These are joined by tailored hoodies and sweatshirts in the highest quality fabrics, from niche brands like Acmé De La Vie (meaning the pinnacle of life) from South Korea.
Watch style match tip: leather straps channel the classic mood.
TREND 5: VIRTUAL FANTASYIf you were to peep into the wardrobe of a Marvel super heroine, or pop star who takes fashion inspiration from gaming - you’d see something of this trend; not to be confused with augmented reality or dressing up your avatar for the digital world.
Singer songwriters, Billie Eilish and Dua Lipa, are rocking real time versions of the liquid metallics and spangly dresses Gary James McQueen used in his ground-breaking virtual fashion show, Guiding Light. Colours include ‘highlighter’ yellow, fuchsia and ‘astro green’. Micro minis expose plenty of thigh; bra-lets and frilled off-shoulder looks.
The mood is deliberately playful, from glittering make-up to kinky boots; if you can find the real thing from vintage – then even better!
Watch style match tip: go for glow-in-the-dark and digital display smart-tech.