New York Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2022 kicked off on Sept. 7 after three seasons of virtual shows due to the pandemic. Despite the barrier of required proof of vaccination, the show was a welcomed return to normalcy.
With LaQuan Smith displaying his collection at the Empire State Building and Monse at the Pier 62 skatepark, designers brought their inspired works to grand venues to celebrate the return. The overarching feelings at the shows were excitement and happiness for the chance to be present in person, though underlying worry was noted due to being in crowds again, especially when some people are unmasked.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul sat front row at Prabal Gurung’s show in Robert F. Wagner Jr. Park, which sent a sure signal that, though much of Fashion Week felt familiar from the past, there was a definitive shift in what purpose the shows served. People had a new appreciation for shows after a few seasons of watching through a computer screen. Similarly, the shows provided a direction of where fashion is heading after a year lacking in self-exploration, marked by the pandemic-related uniform of work-from-home pajamas. Evidently, the Spring/Summer 2022 New York Fashion Week was particularly important in many ways.
A standout show was Ulla Johnson’s collection, which she displayed in soft morning light at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens. This floral backdrop could not have been more perfect for the feminine prints that Johnson sent down the runway and, typical to her brand, Johnson embraced interesting structure with stunning patterns.
Though difficult to choose from an entirely impressive collection, an exceptional look was an olive-green dress set with a pleated skirt and a buttoned, collared jacket. Though the look itself was simple, Johnson accessorized with two bags slung over the model’s body and another tote bag that the model carried. Set against the lush green Botanic Gardens, this piece was striking yet simple enough that it could be worn on the street without drawing too many curious stares. The trend of layering bags seen here will likely become more common in mainstream street style. Johnson’s compilation of multiple crossbodies and belted waist bags created a sense of casualness and had the added benefit of additional hands-free storage.
One final look worth mentioning was a calf-length white and neutral dress with three tiers of different patterns. The top part was a belted white blouse with billowing sleeves and corset detailing. Under it was a tablecloth-esque skirt, and under that was another light skirt, which had beautiful neutral tones on flowy organza. Overall, the look perfectly displayed the theme present throughout the whole collection of mixing structured details with nature-inspired elements to create flattering, feminine silhouettes that blended in with the Botanic Gardens.
With Carrie Bradshaw wearing plenty of Carolina Herrera in the “Sex and the City” (1998–2004) 2021 reboot, the Carolina Herrera Spring/Summer 2022 Collection designed by Wes Gordon was a must see. The collection was extremely classy, yet Gordon managed to throw fun elements into all of the pieces through oversized belts, exaggerated sleeves, funky earrings, shimmery plaid fabric and loud patterns. The show opened with 11 completely black-and-white looks before shifting into a spring color palette consisting of mostly red, pink, orange and yellow tones and patterns. A standout look was a striped orange two-piece ball gown with fabric flowers climbing up the neck.
Another great show came from a newer designer named Theophilio under Edvin Thompson. Though Thompson is currently in Brooklyn and draws inspiration from New York style, the designer is known to bring in elements from his native Jamaica as well. The concept for the Spring/Summer 2022 show was to take viewers on Air Jamaica, and Thompson carried through on this theme by including a color palette of mainly red, green, black and yellow. One of the best looks was a two-piece red and black-striped set with a long-sleeved top. Thompson accessorized with over-the-knee black boots, and the look represented the combination of the Jamaican-inspired color palette with a New York silhouette.
Though the Ulla Johnson, Carolina Herrara and Theophilio shows stood out as some of the best, all of the shows at New York Fashion Week shared a sense of new inspiration and excitement. It was refreshing to see the vast display of looks and how designers answered the question of what will be worn in the post-pandemic era, with their answers varying from prioritizing comfort after wearing pajamas for over a year to dressing as over the top as possible to make up for lost time.