#10 Carolina Herrerra
One of the most anticipated seasons in recent memory, Spring 2022, revived live fashion shows with a celebration of movement and physical presence – aspects of fashion that just can’t be felt through a photograph or live feed on a phone screen. The return to the runway saw some New York mainstays dig deep, but brands that experienced exciting growth throughout the pandemic made the most of the spotlight.
Rodarte offered a sublime celebration of sophisticated sensuality. Typically more restrained, Proenza Schouler took risks with color and pattern. Michael Kors embraced spring-ready and romantic simplicity. Tory Burch took home the top spot with her personal vision of functional femininity.
#9 Jason Wu
Finding perfection in imperfection is not how anyone would’ve described Jason Wu’s vibe in the Before Times, but a pandemic changes things. “COVID makes you work differently,” he said at his show today. “It felt like we were back in start up mode again, getting our hands dirty.” That idea has become something of a refrain this week; if there’s a fashion upside to the last 18 months, it’s that they’ve reconnected some designers with process: with the act of making clothes, not the pursuit, say, of Instagram likes.
Creating a “definitive New York wardrobe” worthy of the world that is slowly re-emerging is what Catherine Holstein set out to do for Spring/Summer 2022, and she succeeded.
Set in a dimly lit urban jungle constructed in an underground concrete room laden with vines and branches that seemed to have pushed through the pavement (show produced by Keith Baptista’s Prodject), the latest Khaite collection felt appropriately post-apocalyptic.
#7 Tom Ford
#6 Proenza Schouler
When the vaccines made traveling further than the office possible earlier this year, Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough headed straight for Kauai, a favorite destination that they call their “sanctuary.” The island vibe rubbed off on their new collection, which mixed scuba and surfing motifs, a color palette plucked from nature, and a few handmade leis from Maui with their more urban fare.
Over the past 18 months, Kate and Laura Mulleavy have made a promise to meet their woman where she is. When she was at home, they gave her house dresses and silken pajamas, and when she was slowly returning to going out, they sent out floral leggings and sequined mini suits. Their spring 2022 collection was a proper declaration of re-emergence, of spiritual glitz, and of reconnecting to nature.
#4 Gabriela Hearst
In the crowd at Gabriela Hearst’s show today were Naiomi Glasses and TahNibaa Naataanii. Members of the Navajo Nation, they collaborated with Hearst on the woven swatches that were inset into the bodice of a sleeveless dress and the shoulders of a trench. Glasses organized the arrangement (she’s a graduate of the Creative Futures Collective, which is dedicated to empowering creatives from disenfranchised communities), and Naataanii, who is a sheepherder and a weaver, did the hand work, with the help of her mother and daughter.
#3 Thom Browne
Thom Browne is the master of the grand gesture. At his spring 2022 presentation, the audience could be carried off in awe in so many directions: Pegasuses rode penny-farthings, a couple of bachelors haunted a raw wood house, models turned from shrubs into statues—and that’s just what happened on the runway. In the front row was just about every relevant artist, author, and athlete, from LilHuddy to Russell Westbrook to Jeremy O. Harris to Dan Levy to the star of Browne’s fall 2021 collection, Lindsey Vonn. Everyone was in TB, everyone looked smart, elated, and happy to take in a show.
#2 Michael Kors
Love and romance were the dreamy threads that bound together Michael Kors’ Spring/Summer 2022 collection, presented in Central Park in a show that emphasized the forced intimacy of the pandemic and the optimism of love in New York City.
Kendall Jenner opened Friday’s show in a timeless sleek black pencil skirt with a thin leather belt fastened around the waist and a simple bra. Other looks included an oversized pink fuzzy sweater with a wide turtle neck, a modernized circle skirt, a monochromatic checkered blazer and mini skirt, with each piece embodying romantic silhouettes and fabrics in a sophisticated and charming way.
#1 Tory Burch
"I want to come back to the New York shows but to really do in our own ways,” Tory Burch said inside her new flagship store on Mercer Street after her Spring 2022 collection show outside. Burch mentioned the legacy of the American designer Claire McCardell’s invention of sportswear, the highly focused collection of joyful lean shape dresses mixing different fabrics and design elements. For that daily easiness in clothes that address how many young women live today and not how high fashion they want them to live.
Shown on a much smaller scale than in previous pre-pandemic seasons, this collection complements the entirety of the brand’s creative and business plans. It is a way forward to a new era at the brand in the cusp of embarking on a growth path post-pandemic with a firm foothold both in brick and mortar retail to the quintessential e-commerce.
Burch’s approach to her fashion remains apolitical despite all the well-earth-shaking rebellion in society, especially highlighted in unprecedented ways during this ongoing pandemic. This new approach to providing a personal touch isn’t a new approach except that now it is a broad concept permeating the entire company’s ethos. It’s a fashion approach viewed from Burch’s lens rather than one taking on the day’s intricate social-political divides. Sometimes, fashion provides other comforts and reassurances than attachments to social and political activism.