The spring/summer 2022 instalment of London Fashion Week, which has just wrapped up, signalled the turning of the tide: welcome to a new year of fashion, one hopefully filled with many promising days ahead after two years spent responding to the consequences of the pandemic. The trends that emerged were joyous and deeply personal — from Simone Rocha’s musings on motherhood following the birth of her second child to the escapist tendencies of young designers on the rise who yearn for revelry and inhibition. Beyond that, there were options aplenty for functional fashion lovers and those with an affinity for glamour: expect rewritten rules.
oversized coats, Richard Malone x Mulberry bags
JW Anderson, Simone Rocha, Richard Malone
Now is the time to invest in Irish design. In the absence of industry heavyweights such as Burberry and Victoria Beckham, our designers led the charge throughout the five-day event with confidence and finesse. delivered flying colours encouraging you to pursue challenging shapes and a forward-thinking mentality that fed through to a sophisticated wardrobe of strong outerwear options for the working woman or those who like to leisure in luxury.
Wexford’s latest is a landmark collaboration with British heritage brand Mulberry. Keep your eyes peeled for his interpretation of the iconic Bayswater and Darley bags which included deconstruction, reworking silhouettes, and applying his stamp to the hardware. In true Malone style, the capsule uses recycled cereal waste instead of new leather. As for the clothes, they were clever and pragmatic — from the form-fitting dress with ruched detailing to flared trousers inspired by the horse rosettes he helped his grandmother make as a child. Of course, his sharp tailoring and leather outerwear were better than ever.
Orlagh McCoskey of Offaly, one half of partywear brand showed their typical flowery, bright fare with dazzling results. conveyed reserved romanticism with supple black tailoring and floaty red trousers, sheer long-sleeves and loose pants in dashing magenta. Both designers posited how women in Ireland and everywhere could move between extravagance and ease with aplomb.
Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi (with roots in Tipperary) of achieved something similar with relaxed tailoring alongside more formal cocktail dresses, with everything spliced together from leftover fabrics. As was the case with Kerry’s who continued to prove himself as one-to-watch with a well-wrought lineup sure to capture the hearts of the more adventurous among us. One of his remarkable oversized scarlet-hued trenches reminds you that wearing Irish is beyond a trend, a badge of honour.
strong shirting with flowing skirts
Roksanda, Erdem, Rejina Pyo, Yuhan Wang
London’s quota of elegant designs is far above its other counterparts. This season, designers seemed to have a renewed sense of self and a clearer vision they wish to communicate.
A technicolour world in shades of elderflower, chrysanthemum, and marigold, argued for defiance and sensuality with billowing volumes in tunics, capes and gowns rendered in recycled taffeta, giving her soigne brand a sense of escapism. Alongside classically feminine shapes like hand-cut dresses inspired by 1950s couture, there were refreshing nods to 1980s men’s suits in a patchwork of striking or soft colours, patterns and stripes — a duality that keeps things interesting.
At , the message was clear: invest in exquisite dresses, mostly grazing the ankle, decorated with botanical prints, broderie Anglaise, and pearl detailing that can be streamlined with brogues or grounded in believable insouciance through the use of simple fabrication: cotton poplin waxed cotton, raw and crushed linens. Celebrating 15 years in business, the designer extolled the virtues of bookish appeal with crisp shirts, gathered waists, and structured pleats. The result is charming and less rarified that feels particularly pertinent to the moment we find ourselves in now.
decorated clothing; outsize proportions
Simone Rocha, Roksanda, Molly Goddard
Three designers in London excelled at accessing emotion through clothing. For , the physicality and sleepless nights of being a mother to a 16-week-old, born during the production process, influenced the ensuing looks of tulle, lace, and broderie Anglaise. A touching vacillation between serenity and darkness, the highlights included lace-hemmed nightgowns in lilac and white, nursing bras embellished with lavish jewels, PVC bomber jackets with a ruffle tracing a bustier in blood red.
designed spring/summer during maternity leave: her outsized tulle confections took cues from the outfits she wore as a child. Here, they took on new meaning. One, an outfit she envisioned her future child wearing, one that could be adopted by any expectant parent or fans of saccharine displays.
Elsewhere, said the collection was partly about “representing a woman’s struggle.” This thought translated to pseudo-psychological clothing that was, in the end, convincingly adaptable. Trench coats and flowing capes laminated with bespoke taffeta fil coupe thread-like fringing, intended in their artfulness and flashy colouration, the designer said to capture “a unique sense of chaos". Meanwhile, exaggerated knitwear offers refuge and fastened yarns evoke the natural fluidity of the female form. Elsewhere, the procession is punctuated with loose-fitting dresses for days when one might desire the comfort of a tent-like dress provides.
lingerie-inspired dresses, form-fitting high-waisted trousers
Nensi Dojaka, David Koma
For many, October 22 symbolises the reopening of society and, in turn, the return of parties. In London in recent years, designers used lingerie-inspired fabrics as a conduit to make a statement on urgent ownership of sexuality, exploring the depths of the négligée and turning it into something more utilitarian. With the looming return of party season, the sartorial currency of underwear-as-outerwear seems to have a renewed sense of purpose.
A precocious talent, ushered you towards the dancefloor with her daringly draped, twisted silhouettes inspired by 90s and 00s style. A men’s tank top is reinvented as a sequin-adorned sheer dress, and skin-bearing bodysuits are accessorised with silver chains.
Keep an eye on young Albanian designer , beloved by Bella Hadid, who recently won the prestigious LVMH Prize, a €300,000 grant including yearlong mentorship awarded to promising young designers. Think about viscose jersey mini-dresses with adjustable straps or oversized sheer shirts, oozing an unmistakable 90s sex appeal. The dynamic duo Charlotte Knowles and Alexandre Arsenault behind toyed with seduction in their figure-accentuating bustiers and lace-up tops complemented by low-rise stretchy trousers and strict tailoring that translated things to the real world.
Elsewhere, you had , who despite the pandemic-induced penchant for tracksuit bottoms and pyjamas, is selling more party dresses than ever. Will you be tempted by daring bodycon dresses in highlighter shades like fuchsia, chartreuse or slinky slips shimmering with Swarovski crystals, embellished with marabou accents and sheer panels? Of course, designers in London think it’s time to get the party started again.
wool cardigans; weather-proof clothing; slouchy tailoring
Margaret Howell, Tiger of Sweden, palmer//harding, Richard Malone
If ever a designer could be described as an essentialist, it’s the heroic practitioner of functional fashion, she registers herself in pieces such as relaxed poplin shirts, compact jackets, and Japanese denim twill. Here, alongside Irish linen, gauzy knitwear, and waterproof jackets, they cleverly riffed on a timeless summer wardrobe in humbly understated. Although fashion offers an abundance of loud moments worth indulging in after two years spent inside, the case for simplicity has never been stronger.
To bridge the gap between the lives we lived during lockdown and the reopening of society, think like . The British designer, known for her tulle creations and intoxicatingly dry sense of humour, was musing about smocked dresses, tracksuit bottoms, grandfather knits, and ballet pumps. In many cases, she combined them all, styling floral print wool cardigans with smocked blouses and baggy 90s-inspired jeans. With ease in mind, she elevated the meaning of casual, giving practicality a glamorous, effortless edge.
Another Irish designer, Bryan Conway, the man behind interpreted Scandinavian simplicity by embracing fluidity in form but never letting function out of his sight: check out his straightforward suiting that sat loosely on models’ slender frames, and evocative silk dresses. Perfect for a return to the office.