Fashion, you’ll be relieved to hear, is inching ever closer to normality. There were more IRL shows during the recent Spring/Summer 2022 menswear run than in the past two seasons put together, and the designers seemed happier too, with the vast majority demonstrating a renewed creative energy not seen during the repeated lockdowns.
The best news, however, is that the clothes on show were also considerably more exciting to look at, write about, touch and – the hope is – wear than the stuff which walked the digital and phygital (sorry) runways of recent seasons.
Thus, here at British GQ we’ve spent the past few weeks distilling all of the most important trends to be born of the forthcoming season so that you have a comprehensive buying and dressing guide when spring 2022 eventually rolls around.
From big love for sleeveless garments to the rise of cut-out vests, we’ve got you (and everything apart from your arms, apparently) covered.
1. Wait, your coat’s not a cardie?
From left: Jil Sander, Hermès, Prada, Erdem, Dunhill
Chances are that you live in UK, so you’ll know that most of the time the temperature in this country is teetering on the brink of being too warm for a coat and too cold for a T-shirt. (It’s the price we pay for living on an island governed by the whims of the Gulf Stream, people). Fortunately, the world’s savvier menswear designers have this season come up with the clever idea of creating coats out of cardies. Cardigan coats! Coats that are in fact cardigans – otherwise known as heavy-knit cardigans.?
As comfortable thrown on with some Issey Miyake sweatpants for a long day spent working from home as worn over the top of a suit, the best could be found at Dunhill, where creative director Mark Weston teamed his nana cardies with razor-edged two-pieces, and at Jil Sander, where pastel hues were order of the runway.
2. All about that sleeve-free life
From left: Rick Owens, Burberry, Courrèges, JW Anderson, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, Erdem, Etro, Homme Plissé Issey Miyake, Paul Smith, Giorgio Armani
We’ve been banging on about the sleeveless trend for a while now, so forgive us for starting again. The shift first came to our attention when a whole host of designers including Prada and Marni started showing neat sweater vests, while, more recently, Riccardo Tisci dedicated his whole menswear collection to the power of an exposed bicep.
For the Spring/Summer 2022 season, the trend has gone into overdrive, with sleeveless knitted numbers shown at Erdem and Paul Smith, smart waistcoat styles worn with nothing else walked at Courrèges and Giorgio Armani, and tailored sleeveless blazers and biker jackets proving quite the thing at Burberry, where the trend remained at its strongest.
3. Skirts and tunics and skorts, oh, my!
From left: Loewe, Rick Owens, Burberry, Prada, Fendi, GMBH
We’ve long been of the mindset, here at GQ, that men should have as much freedom to bare their legs (and their smalls, if they so wish) as women, and, now, finally, it feels as if the world’s menswear fraternity is falling into step.
Taking their cue from dress-wearing men everywhere – from Kid Cudi and A$AP Rocky to Ezra Miller and Harry Styles (not forgetting all the kameez, lungi and dhoti-wearing dudes around the world too) – a satisfyingly wide span of brands got in on the trend for the Spring/Summer 2022 season.
At Burberry and Prada micro-skorts were order of the day, while at Fendi, GMBH and Rick Owens gown-like tunics were the thing. If you plan on wearing your own skirt, kilt, tunic or tabard next summer, well, go for your life, because you’ve only got one.
4. They’re suits, but not as you know them
From left: Hermès, Louis Vuitton, Lanvin, Wales Bonner, Giorgio Armani, Dries van Noten, Dunhill, Ermenegildo Zegna, Fendi, Homme Plissé Issey Miyake, Paul Smith, Wooyoungmi
It’s no secret that the way in which we dress for work has irrevocably shifted. When once it was all about a grey sharkskin two-piece worn with a shirt five days a week, now even the most sartorially autocratic workplaces are beginning to loosen their ties.
It’s perhaps unsurprising, then, that the brands which traditionally placed tailored garments at the heart of their seasonal offerings have entirely rethought their approach to “the suit” for SS22, choosing, for the most part, to create easy-wearing two-pieces that can be as readily worn on the sofa as they can in an office or for a quick pop round to the corner shop.
At Hermès, Dries van Noten and Tod’s, three-button suits in light cotton and linen had a low-key appeal, while the two-pieces finished with shirt jackets, rather than blazers, shown at Giorgio Armani, Homme Plissé Issey Miyake and Fendi were right on the money (which is important, as they won’t come cheap).
5. Tutti-frutti er’thang
From left: Canali, Qasimi, Moschino, Etro, Dolce & Gabbana, Casablanca, Fendi, Dries van Noten, Louis Vuitton, Hermès
Turns out the world’s most important menswear designers are equally as bored of grey marl, navy towelling and black jersey as we are. Proof could be found in the extraordinary array of colour on display on the runways in London, Milan and Paris.?
At Fendi, Casablanca and Louis Vuitton, colour-bleed rainbow patterns could be found on oversized intarsia T-shirts at the latter and in the form of hooded safari jackets cut from the finest leathers at the latter. At Dolce & Gabbana and Moschino, garish patterns inspired by Italian summers found their way onto suits, while at Etro and Hermès degradé fruit salad sweet shades made for ultra-desirable sweaters.?
6. Who wears big shorts? You wear big shorts!
From left: Dries van Noten, Lanvin, Giorgio Armani, Ermenegildo Zegna, Fendi, Homme Plissé Issey Miyake, Paul Smith, Wooyoungmi, Casablanca, Dior, Rick Owens, Louis Vuitton, Hermès
If short shorts were the talk of TikTok this year (google “five-inch short rule” for more – we’ve no words left to write), then we’re sincerely hoping that 2022 will be all about the oversized Berumda short.?
The best examples of the big billowing short trend (which is considerably more flattering on older legs, FYI) could be found cut from the finest leathers at Hermès, naturelement, in crisp mohairs and twills at Fendi, Zegna and Wooyoungmi (where the shorts were teamed with overshirts and suit jackets in matching shades), and at Giorgio Armani, Lanvin and Dries van Noten, where the over-the-knee vibe was very sexed-up Blue Crush…in a good way.
7. The resurrection of funereal tailoring
From left: Dunhill, Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Paul Smith, Dolce & Gabbana, Dior
Tailoring has taken a turn this year (see number four for proof), but that doesn’t mean that our brave new, considerably more casual world won’t require us to dress the part now and again. Which is good news for all the designers who sent out poker-straight black tailoring as part of their Spring/Summer 2022 collections.?
At Louis Vuitton and Dior, the most steadfast guy ropes on the LVMH tent, Virgil Abloh and Kim Jones sent out inky-black tailored looks to open their respective shows. At the latter, Jones showed a delicious tailored black overcoat cut to the house’s rigorous Tailleur Oblique block, while at the former a black wraparound suit spoke to the garment interplayer found throughout the collection.
Elsewhere, the likes of Mark Weston at Dunhill, Paul Smith and Dolce & Gabbana all showed immaculately cut black suits, none of which, notably, were worn with shirts or ties (which is exactly the way in which you should wear yours).?
8. Make room for a roomy shirt
From left: Dior, Wales Bonner, Erdem, Giorgio Armani, Dries van Noten
Easy, breezy, floaty, light. We’ve got decades of record-breakingly hot summers ahead of us thanks to the impending climate crisis, so if you’re going to buy one new item next summer, make it a super-light shirt. Not only will one of Dior’s shirt-cum-muumuus, created in collaboration with artist George Condo, or Dries van Noten’s oversized tunic shirt, for that matter, keep you cool in the heat, but buying just one item will also minimise the burden clothing waste puts on the planet, which is no bad thing.?
9. Cut-out tops? So fetch
From left: Rick Owens, Burberry, Courregés, Y-Project, Loewe
The return of Courregés at the hands of designer Nicolas Di Felice has been one of the biggest stories in menswear this season. Not only did the designer reinvigorate the storied Parisian brand with a slick new silhouette for SS22, but he also showed a series of vests with holes cut out of them, which became an instant sensation on Instagram.?
Perhaps unsurprisingly a whole host of equally venerated designers followed suit at the recent SS22 show run – from Riccardo Tisci at Burberry to Jonathan Anderson at Loewe – which means that you, too, should be getting in on the mega moth-eaten look before you can say “giant cedar balls”.?
10. Slip on a personality sandal
From left: Tod’s, JW Anderson, Dior, Qasimi, Dolce & Gabbana, Fendi, Lanvin, Dries van Noten
Perhaps it’s got something to do with the fact that we all wore more slippers during the repeated lockdowns or maybe it’s due to the fact that LVMH recently bought Birkenstock and gave the pursuit of comfort over fashion the platinum seal of approval, but either way, pretty much all the big-name designers have gone mad on the ultra-comfort-focused sandal flex for Spring/Summer 2022.?
At Dries van Noten ultra puffy sandals-cum-pillows could be found on the feet of the vast majority of the tunic-clad models who walked the show; Kim Jones’ Dior model army were shod in cashmere socks and shearling-lined sandals; and driving shoes at Tod’s were replaced with hiking sandals which wouldn’t have looked out of place on the rack at the Tevas store. ?
11. Get with the nu-varsity programme
From left: Rhude, Hermès, Louis Vuitton, Dolce & Gabbana, Moschino, Dior, Burberry
We’re all for the varsity resurgence here at British GQ. From vintage Ivy League sweaters (go, Bears!) to socks worn with ultra-shined penny shoes, there’s something about proper preppy dressing which just feels so now right now.?
As if to prove our point, many of the designers in Paris and Milan put sporty takes on classic varsity jackets at the heart of their collections. At Louis Vuitton, Dior and Moschino, slimmed-down takes on the style came emblazoned with characters signifying the respective houses (varsity jackets were originally called “letterman jackets” due to the school letters appliquéd to their fronts), while at Burberry leather varsity jackets were both sleeveless and angular. At Dolce & Gabbana the patterns were absolutely nuts.?
12. Sunnies at the ready, it’s hi-shine time
From left: Dolce & Gabbana, Etro, Moschino, Dior, Loewe
Partywear is back on the agenda, people. You need only look (but not too closely as you might damage your eyes) at the ultra-shiny lamé, satin and moire silk tailoring found at Dolce & Gabbana, Moschino, Etro and others. Though, for a slightly more civilised take on this new breed of party suit, you might want to look to Dior, where ultra-fine two-pieces hung more like pyjamas, and at Loewe, where silky shirts hung like multifaceted gowns.?
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