From London to Milan to Paris, Jack Moss rounds up the best collections of the Spring/Summer 2022 menswear season
The simple pleasure of a holiday was the starting point of Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons’ new collection, accompanied by a short film which saw models emerge onto a Sardinian beach from a lacquered red corridor, in surreal style. The silhouette was brief – rolled-up romper suits, thigh-bearing ‘skorts’, low-cut tabard-vests – capturing a recognisable desire to shed the skin of the last year. “To expose yourself to nature, to go to the beach – it’s freedom,” they said.
“How you see things, and from where you see them, has never been more important,” said Silvia Venturini Fendi of her latest collection, which responded to a year of stasis by drawing inspiration from her immediate surroundings – namely, the Fendi HQ in Rome. The soft, sun-soaked shades of the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana and its city-spanning views coloured a carefree collection, with midriff-bearing cropped blazers offering a playful take on warm-weather tailoring.
Jonathan Anderson transported the viewer into a teenager’s inner sanctum, the bedroom, for his latest outing. Likening the collection to “taking a hairbrush and singing into the mirror, going into your wardrobe and trying things on”, the designer captured the joy of youthful experimentation with riffs on menswear staples – oversized hoodies, skimpy running shorts – in bold colours and playful prints, from flowers to strawberries. “The glorification of being who you are or what you want to be,” Anderson described.
Kim Jones is known for his high-profile collaborations; this week’s show saw his first with a musician, the American rapper Travis Scott. “A conversation – between two friends, two cultures, and two different eras,” said Jones of the collection which melded Dior’s Parisian roots with the open plains of Scott’s home state, Texas. Sinuous stand-collared tailoring – in luminous shades of pink and green – met roomy basketball shorts and ‘Dior Jack’-emblazoned T-shirts in the landmark collection, set to shift the designer-celebrity paradigm for seasons to come.
This season Grace Wales Bonner looked towards the tradition of West African studio portraiture – notably, the photographs of Sanlé Sory who worked in Burkina Faso (then Upper Volta) in the 1970s. Liberated from France in the 1960s, the portraits captured “a culture in a golden age” whereby new art forms, including volta jazz, energised the country. “Flamboyance and majesty,” was how the designer described the collection itself, which melded 70s-inspired shapes with the carefree ease of 90s minimalism.
A bold amalgam of inspirations – and a promise from the designer to let his imagination run wild – made this Virgil Abloh’s best collection at the house yet. Titled Amen Break after a drum break by funk and soul group The Winstons which is now the most-used drum loop of all time, Abloh likened the collection to sampling – hence a dense list of cultural touchpoints in the colourful collection, tracing a link from the early days of rave to martial arts and Wu-Tang Clan. “People don’t know that the drum pattern in their favorite song was from a very specific soul song,” Abloh told US Vogue. “It’s a sampler that makes it possible.”
Dries Van Noten said his latest collection emerged from his desire to get back to real life, to see people, to party again. Photographing the collection around his home city, from centuries-old squares to neon-lit dance floors, the clothing was an attempt to capture this hedonistic, going-out mood. Silhouettes were voluminous, perforated fabrics added strange surface interest, and blurred prints reminded of driving through a city fast at night.
“A message of electrifying hope and optimism,” said Anderson of his rave-tinged Spring/Summer 2022 outing for Loewe, presented in a series of images by David Sims. Like at his eponymous label, Anderson found inspiration this season in the sartorial experimentations of teenagers – his own, he remembers, was an orange nylon jacket and velour trousers from TK Maxx that he wore to a school disco. The collection itself captured this sense of abandon with a pile-up of colour, print and shimmering details, marking perhaps Anderson’s freest collection at the house yet.
“We wanted to explore what whiteness is, maybe because we’re tired of exploring what our brownness is,” Serhat Isik and Benjamin Alexander Huseby told Vogue of their latest collection, which playfully riffed on the archetypes of WASP and country club dressing on an entirely BIPOC cast (ballroom categories were one point of inspiration). White denim jodhpurs, riding boots and prim, tied-up shirts and sweaters followed this rationale, reinterpreted in GmbH’s sensual, nightclub-ready signature style.
You would be forgiven for thinking that the desert landscapes which backdropped Burberry’s latest collection were in far-off climes, in reality, they were the Millennium Mills in east London’s Royal Victoria Docks. Riccardo Tisci mined this urban mood to push his conception of Burberry into a bold new direction – one inspired by days raving in his twenties – with sliced-sleeve trench coats, leather aprons and skirts, and a multitude of straps, some wrapping around model’s chests like rib cages.
A slimmed-down London Fashion Week was not without its impactful moments – case in point, Ahluwalia’s Part of Me, a collection which celebrated Black and brown hair, “the artistry, the politics, self-expression,” as she explained. Presented in a film by Akinola Davies, the collection’s boldly-hued prints took their motifs from the photographs of hair and braids (a collaboration with Lagos-based artist Dennis McInnes), while hybrid tracksuits and denim continued to be Ahluwalia signatures, refreshed here with an upbeat, going-out mood.
Rick Owens returned to the shoreline of Venice’s Lido di Venezia for his latest collection, titled FOGACHINE. Wanting to capture a feeling of hedonism – though not of the type which forgets the lessons of the pandemic so far, Owens assured – models walked the beaches emitting clouds of fog from their pockets, each fitted with their own miniature fog machine. It gave proceedings an otherworldly air, echoed in the clothing – wide-leg white trousers, flowing sheer shirts and sinuous spiderweb knits, demonstrating a softer side to Owens’ oeuvre.