London once again proved itself to be the capital of avant-garde fashion. Autumn 2022 revealed a fabulous symphony of reinvention, innovation and good-old madness.
Here are our picks of the best shows at London Fashion Week Autumn 2022
Women in sports have long inspired David Koma’s collections. Last season, it was Adeline and Augusta Van Buren, who were the first women to cross the United States on motorbikes in 1916. Season before that, it was Allette Kellermann, who popularised synchronised swimming. This time around, the designer adopts his newfound British identity and summons the spirits of a trailblazing football player Lily Parr to be his muse. Athleticism seeped through Koma’s sui generis sensuality – harnesses of diamantés and silk macramé roses adorned oversized bomber jackets and bodysuits in black, red and blue.
Edward Crutchley embraced the wearable drama of 80s goths in his Autumn 2022 collection. Crutchley employed crushed velvet in everything from gowns to boiler suits and bomber jackets, which uncovered a rarely before explored dimension where Victorian Lolita meets Y2K goth grunge. The opening look – a hole-ridden knit dress – was a straightforward reference to the works of Rick Owens, yet in an iteration less chaotically apocalyptic and more palatable for casual fans of the avant-garde. The scene-stealer, for us, was the purple knit menswear look that turned a cropped cardigan into something resembling a corset that was connected to the tiniest speedo imaginable.
Indian designer Kaushik Velendra once again proves to be the pioneer of the new wave of men’s tailoring. The designer made a mark for himself with the round shoulder pads, sometimes realised in plastic, that resemble a deconstructed version of 18th-century epaulettes. This season, Velendra embraces shimmer and doubles down on sensuality with cropped jackets and sheer inserts (the suit with gauze bishop sleeves and harem pants can only be described as delicious). The 34 looks outlined the designer’s vision of Homme Fatale, not at all veering into blatant eroticism but staying within the rigid framework of class, the character that he created was not Conan the Barbarian but Paris of Troy.
Richard Quinn’s Autumn 2022 collection should have been shown during the Couture week – so grand every single one of the garments was. Quinn’s signature fetish elements met the silhouettes from the golden era of Parisian Haute Couture. Gigantic hats and floral prints adorned various iterations of Cristobal Balenciaga-inspired looks. Some of the said hats merged with gimp masks (hi, Thierry Mugler) and resided over dresses and bodysuits. References more modern were also prominent in the collection, like Viktor & Rolf’s ‘neckless’ coats and dresses inspired by Nosferatu that debuted during the latest Couture season.
After a long hiatus, Christopher Kane is finally back showing at London Fashion Week. Kane has always been known for encoding mating references seen in the kingdoms of flora and fauna into his silhouettes through masterful deconstruction and textural manipulations. Autumn 2022 is no exception. Bondage-inspired bodices, corsets and latex dresses strutted alongside fur-trimmed sheer dresses and knit tops. The look that received, perhaps, the most publicity due to its ingenious construction was a tiered metallic skirt under a long T-shirt dress with a latex bustier and cutouts. It was a true testament to the designer’s calibrated and effortless take on female form and sexuality.
Michael Halpern’s return to the runways of London presented a strengthened sense of community, as attested by his staging the Autumn 2022 show at the Brixton Recreation Centre. As expected, the looks utilised a generous amount of glitter, whether upon Victorian gowns or high-waisted tailored pants. The collection was largely inspired by the various generations of Hollywood divas – the sleeveless hooded dress in green silk summoned the images of Grace Jones at the height of her glory. Cream scuba dresses reflected the designer’s attempt – a triumphant one by all means – of veering into minimalism.