The message is coming through loud and clear from designers for spring/summer 2022 – it’s a girls’ world, and our wardrobes are going to be feminine with a capital F
If you’re anything like us, you’ll be watching the news in all its doom and gloom, having decided that this winter is, in fact, not for you. If you’re longing for days defined by happier times, fret not, as the fashion forecast for SS22 promises to be a lot sunnier than our tracksuit uniforms of late. After months of muted hues and style androgyny, a wave of designers is finally celebrating a hyper-feminine style for the new season.
“Don’t be scared of beauty,” declared Giambattista Valli before showing his latest collection, one of the many going for full on romanticism, at the exquisite Musée d’Art Moderne in Paris. “Sometimes people don’t know how to handle things that are really beautiful.” It’s about time they learnt though, as wardrobes to make even the girliest of girls blush look here to stay. It’s been a while since super traditionally feminine pieces had their moment on the industry’s radar, but silhouettes are soon to be growing in volume, hemlines are (mainly) creeping floorward, and there’s no arguing that pink is most certainly the colour du jour, be it pastel, magenta, rose or fuchsia.
“As work from home continues for so many, I think designers and consumers find a hyper-feminine style uplifting and somewhat celebratory,” Jessica Crawley, ready-to-wear and eveningwear manager at Ounass, tells MOJEH. “I am definitely a fan, and it doesn’t take much convincing for me to wear pink!”
As always, Dior and MSGM deserve bold-hued recognition, while David Koma is also set to become the unofficial king of post-pandemic partywear with more flesh- flashing cut-outs on sculptural dresses in intense neon pinks. He’s been supplying the likes of Hailey Bieber, J.Lo, Zendaya and Megan Fox, known as ‘Koma girls’, with dazzling looks for as long as we can remember, and long may it continue.
Elsewhere, the cocktail of juicy colours at Emilia Wickstead took Leonardo DiCaprio, Clare Danes and their tropical fish tank scene in Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet as inspiration, while Molly Goddard’s collection of romantic dresses are also of particular note – her love affair with smock dresses is still alive and well, this season in a hyper-bright colour palette. “For this trend, especially in RTW, the brighter the better,” adds Crawley. “We’re also seeing plenty of high-impact hues in footwear too, where equally important are softer pinks. Gianvito Rossi, Amina Muaddi, Andrea Wazen, Mach & Mach, Aquazzura, Schutz and Malone Souliers have plenty of strong styles for Spring/Summer 2022, while we’re also seeing plenty of feminine lace-up sandals too, my favourite being from Gianvito Rossi.” Now you’ve got your colour scheme sorted, what next?
“Channeling a feminine trend doesn’t mean just wearing head-to-toe pink,” explains Crawley. “Transparent fabrics were one of the most prominent trends in RTW this season, as were the runway’s cinched waists and side cut-outs.” In fact, everyone from Giambattista Valli to Sara Wong decreed the waist the new erogenous zone for next summer, displaying both conceal and reveal silhouettes that highlight and contour the waist in all its glory. For Valli, this meant romanticism in its purest form, with a flirty and fresh array of pink asymmetrical skirts paired with crop tops, plus ruffles and tulle in abundance.
As for Wong, her Rhythm of Colour collection shown in Milan showcased a contemporary interpretation of the traditional arts of the Miao or Hmong people, famed for their diverse colours and complex embroidered garments. This was interpreted across styles with layer upon layer of frothy tulle, polka dots and statement-making dresses certainly not meant for shrinking violets. “Generally speaking, for spring/summer you can never go wrong with florals, but surprisingly this season we didn’t really see a common theme across brands when it came to prints,” explains Crawley. That’s not to say blossoming blooms are completely remiss – you can always expect to find florals in any Zimmermann collection, and Spring/Summer 2022 is no different. Here they came rendered in the dreamiest of ways, with Nicky Zimmermann and her team photographing bouquets in a studio, then making them bolder, sharper and more abstract across pastel gowns. Inspired by the story of Mathilde Willink, a prominent figure in Dutch society during the ‘70s and much loved for her extravagant style, Bora Aksu also paraded tiered and heavily embellished tulle gowns complete with floral appliqués that were both as eclectic and eccentric as their muse. “If people do not notice you, you might as well not exist,” said the designer in the opening quote of his show notes. Who can argue with that? Certainly not Sophie Mechaly, who also jumped on the 3D floral appliqué bandwagon at Paul & Joe.
For a completely unique take on florals, Jason Wu teamed up with Cara Marie Piazza, a fabric artist who uses natural dyes in a technique that involves placing real flowers on a piece of fabric and rolling it up so they imprint on the material themselves. The result is a blurry, imperfect print across soft, washed fabrics that will make all your garden party dreams come true. “Aside from the prints, it was more about design details and colours, so lots of cut-outs, ruching, transparency and fringing,” advises Crawley.
If the vast majority of your wardrobe is leather and denim, and you’re suffering from a classic case of trends clashing with personal style, there’s no need to worry – you can still pull off a feminine dress with a little simple styling. “This trend is definitely not only reserved for girly girls,” says Crawley. “We saw plenty of masculine meets feminine pieces for those who want to stay true to their aesthetic.”
How about teaming a feminine crop with a pair of loose- fitting trousers or boyfriend jeans à la Molly Goddard? Or alternatively, an oversized embellished tee can look great teamed with a chintzy ballerina skirt or layered over a pretty pink maxi. Whatever your style, the bottom line is women still want to get dressed up, and we don’t plan on letting anyone tell us otherwise.
Featured image: Jason Wu SS22