The front rows, as usual, made the headlines at the fall 2022 runway shows. Kim Kardashian wowed at Prada and Balenciaga, and all eyes were on Rihanna at Gucci, Off-White, and Christian Dior. But now that the season is over, what Vogue editors around the world can’t stop talking about is the fashion. From New York to Paris, the garments that designers proposed have a revitalized pragmatism and grace, with none—or at least fewer—of the logos, wacky prints, or gimmicky silhouettes that have defined recent seasons.
Fall 2022’s best clothes are pieces to live in that reflect their wearer’s sense, intellect, and beauty. Designers rebelled against last year’s minis with hemlines that dropped to the floor, creating statuesque shapes at Saint Laurent and Rick Owens. Suits were defined by genderless, oversized blazers that hung from widened shoulders at Prada and Louis Vuitton. Lingerie dressing was toughened up with crystals and embellishments at Miu Miu and Paco Rabanne, and corsets took on protective forms at Christian Dior and Balmain. In many ways, fashion went back to basics—the suit, the skirt, the slip dress, and an overwhelming number of white shirts or tank tops styled with medium-wash jeans.
The season was not without a little flair. The austere sweetness of Pierre Cardin’s flat bows re-emerged at Jil Sander and Valentino, and designers like Jonathan Anderson at Loewe and Hillary Taymour at Collina Strada injected levity and movement into their collections with vrooming car bodies or form-swallowing fringe. Even Hermès, the bastion of serious luxury, edged into kink with knee-highs and brushed wool sweaters just begging to be stroked.
That’s the thing about fall 2022’s most wantable clothes—they come to life with you. Run down the street in Bottega Veneta’s kicky midi skirt. Dance so your Altuzarra paillettes clang and jostle. Let your Balenciaga train whip with the wind. Clothing is just an accessory to your story—where are you going next?
Hemlines Hit the Floor
After the rise—literally and figuratively—of the Miu Miu miniskirt, the only natural evolution was revolution. Saint Laurent, Louis Vuitton, Sacai, and more pushed longer, floor-sweeping lengths for fall 2022. For those who need a little extra height, Rick Owens and Altuzarra have the platforms to boot.
Sleeves Are Sloping
A cocoon-like, ’30s sleeve appeared at Dries Van Noten, Courrèges, and Tory Burch, amongst others, proving that a structured, molded silhouette is the new, elegant shape of 2022.
Corsetry Gets Tough
The technologically savvy bodices at Christian Dior and metal bustiers at Balmain are pushing corsetry into the future—less mode of seduction, more mode of protection. Donatella Versace naturally sexed hers up at Versace, while Alessandro Michele gave his a sporty twist at Gucci with an Adidas collaboration, but the message remains: The corset is here to stay.
Shoulders Make the Suit
Oversize, bold-shoulder tailoring may have emerged on the catwalk several years ago, but brands from Balenciaga to Vetements are proving the look is still alive. At Louis Vuitton and Valentino, blazers were pumped up to gigantic proportions while Off-White’s touching tribute to Virgil Abloh included Karen Elson in a Virg-ified Le Smoking…but of course Saint Laurent had its own big time version by Anthony Vaccarello. Think of these bulky blazers as a new way to take up space.
Brushed Knitwear Begs to Be Touched
Comfortable knitwear gets a come hither spin for fall 2022—and not in the way you think. Fluffy, brushed mohairs, angoras, and wools seen at Loewe, Hermès, and Kiko Kostadinov are the types of fabrics you can’t help but stroke. These are sweater dresses best shared.
White Shirts and Blue Jeans Keep it Classic
Is there a fashion combination more timeless and quintessentially American than the white shirt and jeans? Matthieu Blazy remade it in leather for his Bottega Veneta debut, while Americans abroad Matthew Williams at Givenchy, Eli Russell Linnetz at ERL, and Conner Ives did the look their own way. Ditto for the Americans at home; Telfar’s winning combo of a long white dress layered under a denim mini will surely be inspiring street style in New York and beyond.
Lingerie Shimmers and Shines
A simple slip dress isn’t going to cut it this fall. Simone Rocha, Erdem, and Nensi Dojaka have remade theirs to drip sequins and crystals while Miu Miu, Fendi, and Eckhaus Latta add shimmer to transparent layers. All the better to see you.
These Clothes are Meant to Move
Loewe’s car dresses are surely destined for the sidelines of a Formula 1 race, but fringes, paillettes, and trains from Collina Strada, Halpern, and Sunnei are ideas meant to move with you. Matthieu Blazy referenced Umberto Boccioni’s Futurist sculptures at his Bottega Veneta debut—even when static, these clothes have motion embedded within them. Giorgio Armani’s short beaded fringe took on a new electric motion too when he presented his show without music, only the jingle of glass beads to soundtrack his finalé.
Tanks Take Off
Coats? For fall? Not this season. Instead, tank tops and singlets ruled the runways from Chloé to Prada, appearing in classic white or extended to the floor as a sporty dress like at Glemaud and Patou.
Bows Go Retro
Luke and Lucie Meier’s flattened bows at Jil Sander evoked the work of Pierre Cardin; Pierpaolo Piccioli similarly reimagined a vintage Valentino shape comprised almost entirely of ribbon. Sweet, graphic bows also turned up at Schiaparelli, where Daniel Roseberry paid homage to Elsa Schiaparelli’s trompe l’oeil knitwear, and Chopova Lowena, where Emma Chopova and Laura Lowena kept it quirky with rows of knotted trim.