Models pose in the backstage of the Philipp Plein Fashion Show during the Milan Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2022/2023 at on February 25, 2022 in Milan, Italy.
Models pose in the backstage of the Philipp Plein Fashion Show during the Milan Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2022/2023 at on February 25, 2022 in Milan, Italy.
Image: Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images for Philipp Plein

Eccentricity, joyfulness and spontaneity are all back in style following a period of restraint forced upon us by what seems to be a never-ending pandemic.

Super sexy cutouts, micro-minis, stripes, new boho, fringing and bold colours are just a few words describing 2022’s fashion trends .

While these trends are what we expect spring to look like the fact that many are creeping into street style already is evidence that the fashion calendar no longer dictates what we wear, when and how, as we head into the colder seasons in the southern hemisphere.

Indeed, a look at any street style images from the recent AW shows in New York, London and Milan, where it remains cold, shows that few are bothered by the weather, baring skin all the same.

It’s perhaps worth noting that social media has long upended the fashion month-led trend cycle, anyway. Runway shows beamed across the planet inspire street fashion trends almost immediately. Lines between seasons and regions have blurred, forcing a faster runway to rail response, especially where fast fashion is concerned.

A full six months ahead of reports that governments around the world are contemplating “endemic covid-19”, designers had already begun to anticipate a world beyond the confines of our homebound comfort. For two years, loungewear is reported to have been the fashion industry’s top performing style, forcing brands to incorporate it into activewear. Loose pants with drawstrings, for instance — what some refer to as “slob-chic”.

Like many of us, designers have long begun imagining a return to normal life, being around others, enjoying the outdoors, attending social events and eating out. The result? Tutti-frutti brights with zesty limes, heated scarlet shades, joyful daffodil and variations of harbour blue all making appearances across designer collections.

A model walks the runway at the HALPERN show during London Fashion Week February 2022 on February 19, 2022 in London, United Kingdom.
A model walks the runway at the HALPERN show during London Fashion Week February 2022 on February 19, 2022 in London, United Kingdom.
Image: Estrop/Wireimage
A model walks the runway at the Gucci fashion show during the Milan Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2022/2023 on February 25, 2022 in Milan, Italy.
A model walks the runway at the Gucci fashion show during the Milan Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2022/2023 on February 25, 2022 in Milan, Italy.
Image: Estrop/Getty Images

These colours punctuated the styling at Bottega Venetta, Stella McCartney, ACNE Studios, Christian Sirriano and others. Not to mention “innuendo” and “poinciana’” Pantone’s descriptions of the hot pink and heated deep orange hue making a commanding appearance in Versace’s SS22 range.

According to the colour institute, these colours demonstrate a “free-spirited optimism, and a feeling of new liberation, unleashed in dynamic, stand-out shades, quenching our desire for spontaneity, uplift[ment], and joy”.

Beyond colour, as if to harken back to the 60s, or — perhaps more fittingly — the roaring 20s, hemlines have gone all the way up. The influence of fetish-wear is also so abundant that it’s hard to miss just how sexy the runways are.

A model walks the runway at the Versace fashion show during the Milan Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2022/2023 on February 25, 2022 in Milan, Italy.
A model walks the runway at the Versace fashion show during the Milan Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2022/2023 on February 25, 2022 in Milan, Italy.
Image: Daniele Venturelli/WireImage

On hemlines specifically, beyond post-pandemic responses to dressing up, we can perhaps look to the Hemline Index, a theory often attributed to economist George Taylor, suggesting a correlation between the economy and skirt lengths.

Skirt lines rise in good economic times and fall when things get a little rough. While very little scientific evidence of this exists, it may be vital to note that it certainly held true back in the 1920s.

A brief shortening of skirt lengths also occurred around 2012 when the Great Recession was perceived to have been behind us. I would personally posit that skirt lengths are far more related to optimism and other forms of seismic change.

The trend in the 20s followed World War 1; in the 60s it became a symbol of women’s emancipation; in the late 70s, it marked the end of an era of unrest and the long-going Vietnam war; in the early 2010s, as it does now, it follows periods of global uncertainty, economic and otherwise.

A model walks the runway wearing Eckhaus Latta fall fashions during New York Fashion Week at Old Essex Street Market on February 12, 2022 in New York City.
A model walks the runway wearing Eckhaus Latta fall fashions during New York Fashion Week at Old Essex Street Market on February 12, 2022 in New York City.
Image: John Lamparski/Getty Images

As it stands, few are seeing the benefits of a rebounding economy, but certainly, finding one’s groove once again due to the restoration of individual liberties ought to birth at least some optimism, surely?

Whatever the case is, current trends demonstrate a return to the kind of playfulness and body consciousness that’s been missing from our closets for at least the last two years now. Sex looms large as tabloid mainstays like Megan Fox advance a trend to bring sexy back, prompting questions from the likes of Vogue India, asking: “Does the rise dominatrix couture signal the onset of an era of sex positivity?”

It’s worth seeing how far these trends will go in the mainstream. For what it’s worth, the fashion industry is, in its ever-extravagant glory, charting a way forward and it all seems based on the idea that the time has come for us to reclaim time lost to having no fun.

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