5 Style Trends Marking the Start of 2022

Yestin Arvin GochuicoStaff Writer

New year, new me—and new clothes too. The relentless COVID-19 pandemic marked last year’s fashion, so designers had to follow by producing garments focused on comfort, minimalism, and convenience. This year, it’s going to be much wilder.

Life is seeming to turn back to normal with vaccines and booster shots rolling out continuously, and a flood of Americans are returning from home to their physical workplaces with button-up dress shirts. 

Pop culture, emulated by Gen Z crowds, can also be blamed for the rise of retro silhouettes permeating into streets and offices. 

Designers are no amateurs, and runway shows—from luxury label Tom Ford reviving disco glam to AMI exhibiting hope during the pandemic—have ridden the waves set by such precedents.

Straight from New York, London, Milan, and Paris, we’ve spotted five style trends that will shape the course of your wardrobe this spring to summer 2022, also known as S/S 2022.

Bubble Hemlines and Sleeves Are Back

Puffed bubble silhouettes for womenswear are having a comeback this year. We’ll likely see the revival of voluminous and bell-like skirts and sleeves reminiscent of the late 1950s evening wear.

The collection of Luxury label Carolina Herrera had a moment during New York Fashion Week (NYFW) S/S 2022, as American supermodel Lulu Tenney was seen walking on the runway draped on a red ballgown with a deep V-neck and exaggerated puffed sleeves.

On the other hand, Adam Lippes S/S 2022 collection seamlessly incorporated the same sleeves in casual wear, comparable to cottagecore motifs. In a minimalistic and toned-down rendition of the trend, the models wore puff-sleeved button-up shirts and dresses matched with warm and earthy tones, intricate lace fabrics, and floral embroideries.

Eccentric Cutouts

Cutouts all over garments were spotted in womenswear and menswear this S/S 2022.

Openwork detailing is a defining trend in high fashion, especially with designers known for their experimental and avant-garde designs. 

Revealed during Paris Fashion Week, Rick Owens S/S 2022 menswear collection embodied revealing cutouts on beach bodysuits.

The show culminated with a model dressed in a white bodysuit top and covered in a black see-through knit wrap with matching skinny jeans and leather platform boots.

For womenswear, American designer Prabal Grung presented a white dress with waist cutouts and a bubble hemline tutu skirt in his runway show during NYFW S/S 2022. T

rends are all interconnected—with converging designs appearing more in future releases.

Gender-fluid Clothing

The rejection of binary stereotypes is sweeping the fashion industry, making way for inclusive garments. Gender fluidity in fashion, regarded as a trivial subculture for a long time, is now becoming mainstream and for a good reason too—dismantling gender constructs.

Several designers have challenged such boundaries throughout history behind shadows. Now, the runway is stepping into the light by adopting a gender-fluid approach, incorporating both masculine and feminine elements in a single ensemble.

S/S 2022 collections from brands Vivienne Westwood, Private Policy, Balenciaga, and others had their renditions of blurring the gender line, but a notable collection was from designer Helmut Lang during NYFW S/S 2022. 

The label, known for its deconstructive pieces, usually releases ready-to-wear collections for men and women separately. This time, it opted for a singular unisex range with garments reimagining traditional office attires—ruffles and heels contrasting with boxy and angular tailoring.

Y2K Fashion—Again

We’ll be seeing a lot of exposed navels this year, as Y2K fashion is not ending anytime soon. According to Google Trends, “Y2K” is one of the top searched keywords in 2021 for fashion.

The style movement characterizes the re-emergence of the late 1990s to 2000s retro-future concept: pleated miniskirts, corset tops, velour tracksuits, and the (in)famous low-rise jeans.

Seen as one of the most iconic fashion “swaps” to date, luxury fashion house Fendi and Versace debuted in secrecy their “Fendace” Pre-Fall 2022Collections during Milan Fashion Week S/S 2022, which set Instagram pages ablaze with the Y2K mania. 

A fashion “swap” is different from collaboration; reflecting on their mutual love and friendship, designer Kim Jones and Donatella Versace had switched roles to create two collections at the respective fashion houses: Fendi by Versace and Versace by Fendi.

American supermodel Gigi Hadid flaunted a silver sequin-embellished low-rise skirt and a camisole top with matching thick silver and gold details. It’s the Britney era all over again, and we’re loving the moment!

Hadid also modeled for Tom Ford S/S 2022 runway show, reminiscent of the same disco glam aesthetic with bright colors and shimmery textiles. Other brands followed suit: Dolce & Gabbana, Etro, Blumarine, and more. The Y2K trend is inescapable.

Fluid Tailoring

A critique from the past year is an abundance of sweatpants. Now, designers are revisiting pre-pandemic office menswear—with a little twist. 

Classic suits are getting revamped next season with more laidback cuts: boxy blazers, wide trousers, and oversized dress shirts. 

The shift from clear-cut tailoring to relaxed form-fitting clothing is because of the pandemic; since people have become accustomed to work-from-home comfort, designers are making waves to preserve it into formal pieces as people relocate to physical offices.

The late designer Virgil Abloh, who served as the first African American artistic director for the luxury fashion house Louis Vuitton and broke racial boundaries of the luxury fashion culture, saw the vision too.

Louis Vuitton S/S 2022 Virgil Was Here tribute collection immortalized Alboh’s industry-defining garments, not just setting fashion trends but honoring his unprecedented mark in the hypebeast culture as a creative visionary. Before his passing, Abloh explained to Vogue Runway how the often uncredited impact of Black hip-hop and jungle music in fashion influenced his design. 

The models during his final show wore flowy trousers and boxy structured blazers with bright accent colors—akin to 1980s hip-hop tracksuits.

Another major luxury designer brand AMI also sported the look on its S/S 2022 collection entitled “L’Échappée Belle,” which means “a great escape.” The models displaying oversized charcoal blazers paired with tie-dyed trousers and sheer undershirts were the highlight, incorporating upbeat and sensual designs to formalwear.

The brand’s designer Alexandre Mattiussi expressed to online publisher Fashion Network how we are “living a moment between two worlds.”—a preceding world set by COVID-19 isolation and a succeeding world manifesting “hope and energy.” His collection embodies escapism, celebrating life’s move from danger to near-normalcy with party culture.

Several brands did the same: Ermenegildo Zegna, Etudes, Jacquemus, and others. There’s no question that we’ll be seeing a different kind of Wall Street attires these coming months.

Americans returning to their regular routines from the dreadful panic surrounding COVID-19 became the center stage for this year’s trends. 

As we continuously withstand the challenges brought by the pandemic, designers around the world have shown that culture headed by fashion can never be stunted, even in the face of nature.

Photo Courtesy of Vogue Runway