It’s out with coin belts and in with craftsmanship as this season’s bohemian trend has a luxury makeover
Blame mid-noughties Sienna Miller or the worst era of the Olsen twins, but boho hasn’t always had an easy ride. Often conjuring up images of low-slung peasant skirts and coin belts, the true spirit of the movement — eclectic, free-spirited and instinctive dressing — somehow got lost along the way. Luckily that’s a thing of the past for SS22, with designers treating us to a modern manifestation of louche boho chic with collections that speak to our most fabulous holiday selves. Tapping into aesthetics from specific places across the globe, there’s an overarching mood of luxe, bohemian looks suited to exotic locations. “Bohemia is a leading trend this summer and it’s something that is really resonating with style-conscious consumers,” Heather Gramston, head of womenswear buying at Browns, tells MOJEH. “As opposed to the mid-noughties ‘boho’ offering, this comeback is more elevated, channeling a soft vintage vibe with subtle crochet knits, multi-fringe dresses and flared silhouettes.”
In the crowd at Gabriela Hearst‘s SS22 show were Naiomi Glasses and TahNibaa Naataanii — members of the Navajo Nation who collaborated with Hearst on the woven swatches that were inset into the bodice of a sleeveless dress and the shoulders of a trench. That’s the beauty of the new season bohemian trend – it’s as much about craftsmanship and tactile fabrics as it is about tie-dye and tassels, with rich colours and plenty of detailing you won’t find across any high-street copycat versions. Putting the spotlight on craftspeople while drawing attention to global artisans, Hearst has been spearheading the movement towards slower, artisanal fashion at both Chloé and her eponymous line, proving that ethically-sourced and produced clothes can still be highly covetable. For her own collection, she collaborated with Navajo weavers after a coincidence caught her attention. Non-profit Creative Futures Collective, which aims to support creatives from disenfranchised communities, and former factory owner udy Clancy-Campbell both got in touch with her within the space of a week, in turn adding unparalleled authenticity to her clothes. Natural dyes were also a big focus to ensure her garments were as eco-friendly as possible, producing the pinks and fluorescent greens prominent in the collection, while nearly 40 per cent of her collection was made from deadstock material — a figure she is determined to improve. “Brands are really honing in on craftsmanship right now,” explains Gramston. “Take Chloé’s woven maxi-dress which was made in Madagascar in collaboration with fair trade enterprise Akanjo, or AGR which is putting a focus on crochet and textured knits. Designers are leading by example and mastering their craft consciously.”Gramston also highlights Petit Kouraj, with whom Browns has an exclusive capsule collection this season: “Every intricately fringed bag has been handmade by local artisans as part of a collaboration with DOT Haiti, a community organisation that practices Haitian arts and culture.”
When it comes to aesthetics, as with past seasons, tie-dye is big, as is crochet, sarong skirts and tassels. In fact, crochet was seen throughout a number of collections this season, from bold abstract patterns to simpler striped dresses and structured coats. At Anna Sui it came in the form of colourful tops, floral vests, bags and hats, while at Etro, Veronica Etro worked crocheting alongside panelling, patchwork and embroidery, marrying the spiritual awakening of the 70s with the slickness of the 90s. Here dresses and bicycle shorts came adorned with flower power appliqués, while large geometric patterns that recalled the House’s start in paisley stole the show. In the words of the designer herself, she was portraying “a generation of enthusiastic dreamers embracing lightness, positivity and celebrating life.” Another designer who went no-holds-barred when it came to the season’s new bohemia was Joseph Altuzarra, who welcomed a return to the rich heritage style of the brand’s early days with an eclectic collection full of richly textured clothes. Much more than a subtle nod to the trend, we saw shibori-dyed dresses, sarong-style knits, airy maxi-dresses and drip-dyed separates perfectly referencing the Altuzarra Spice Road palette. A floaty elegance also abounds at Emilio Pucci, with loose-fitting dresses in Little House on the Prairie prints.
Accessorising the boho trend without looking tacky is no mean feat, but luckily crafty bags, belts and shoes have also had a luxury makeover– opt for polished wooden clutches or perfectly hand-formed leather sandals that make for the perfect finishing touches. “The fresh aesthetic feels bright and optimistic, reflecting the overall mood of SS22 collections and a real opportunity to embrace all textures, colours and shapes,” adds Gramston. “It’s easy to dip your toes into the trend through accessorising with decadently-stacked bangles as seen on the Saint Laurent runway, or going all out with 70s style prints teamed with towering platforms. It’s the comeback of the boho of the noughties, but with a much-needed refresh.”
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- Words by Naomi Chadderton