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Paris Fashion Week FW22 best bits by Jethro Nepomuceno
Illustration Jethro Nepomuceno

Paris Fashion Week AW22, these were your best bits

From Rick Owens, Balenciaga, and Ottolinger, to The Row, Miu Miu, and Louis Vuitton, we’ve rounded up the must-see moments from this season’s shows

It’s the final pit stop of the season and fashion pilgrims are elbowing their way through Paris to bathe in the healing waters of French design. Even New York stalwarts like Vaquera and The Row have journeyed to the European capital, aligning themselves with blockbuster labels like Balenciaga, Valentino, Saint Laurent, and Chanel. Not to mention Marine Serre, Di Petsa, Ottolinger, and Botter, the city’s emerging vanguard. 

Yet it would be remiss not to contextualise AW22 amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – which is no more than three hours away by plane. How on earth will designers respond to the declaration of war? Should they? Can they? As protests gather outside show venues and fashion’s role in a crisis faces intense scrutiny, La Fédération de la Haute Couture et de La Mode has encouraged attendees to “experience the shows of the coming days with solemnity and in reflection of these dark hours.” 

As always, we’ll be covering the latest fashion week happenings as and when they occur – make sure to follow @dazedfashion for more breaking news.


Last month Rushemy Botter and Lisi Herreburgh announced that they were parting ways from Nina Ricci in order to spend more time on their own brand. At Botter, their practice goes beyond the confines of the runway, building coral farms in the Caribbean as they endeavour to make ecological progress a bedrock of the brand. It should come as little surprise, then, that one of this season’s most eye-popping pieces emerged as a long-line blazer stamped with a skull-ified Shell logo. Political commentary found its way onto the laps of guests, too, with show notes dedicated to the war in Ukraine. Fashion, Botter explained, “could provide the world basic coordinates for reimagining a future together,” making an example of this with colourful, beaded fringing on boxy leather jackets, polo shirts, and caps, which distended over the face into halter necks. Styled by Dazed’s Fashion Director Imruh Asha, these pieces were made to resemble Black hair, to symbolise triumph over adversity. Elsewhere, candy pink suiting, phosphorescent balaclava-caps, and sour green, oversized rugby shirts, all drew inspiration from the jubilant and collective coming together of carnival.


Di Petsa’s women are often described as goddesses, enveloped in swathes of white fabric, creased and draped around their body like a Grecian statue. And this season, Dimitra Petsa embraced her own mythology, forging a collection indebted to “Mother Persephone”, the wife of Hades and queen of the underworld. As such, pregnant models and new mothers walked onto AW22’s swamp-like runway in the designer’s signature wet-look pieces, baring their baby bumps in chiton two pieces and sodden minidresses. But the designer also pushed back on her trademark technique, making way for sinuous jersey dresses hoicked around the body’s contours in revealing slits, utilitarian corsetry, and crinkle-effect columns. Water was a reigning motif, as always, with the show climaxing in a cathartic downpour, as clingy, asymmetric clubwear was daubed in flecks of liquid, gathering around the nipples as if the models were lactating.


While many labels have found themselves wandering blithely into the metaverse, Maria Grazia Chiuri has been looking to innovate IRL. “How can the past serve as a starting point to invent the future?,” the designer pondered ahead of her AW22 show, before transforming the maisons' most beloved pieces – like Monsieur Dior’s Bar jacket – into inflatable exoskeletons. Made in collaboration with D-Air Lab, which specialises in protective workwear, Dior proposed wearable airbags and LED bodysuits alongside wasp-waisted tailoring, lacey frocks, brocade peplum dresses, monogram-wadded cape coats, and billowing, tulle gowns reminiscent of Sex and The City girls in Marakech. It all formed part of the label’s “Next Era”, which was brandished across high-top trainers, motorcycle gloves, and detachable armour – an idea that was carried through to corsetry, which was worn like sturdy, hourglass belts over fuzzy and asymmetric-panelled trench coats.


As models swaggered and smized through a wipe-clean, inflatable maze, the inimitable gruff of Azealia Banks began to thrum. “I’m ripping the runway, serving the runway, eating the runway, pumping the runway,” she snarled, making way for a collection that was equally as boisterous and bad-mouthed. This season, the presiding look at Ottolinger is that of a polar-apocalyptic baddie, in padded velour two pieces, cinched puffer jackets, and hulking yeti boots, all careening lines and feral straps. Nobbly knitwear swerves over the body in arctic caveman vests and fuzzy skirts, while tendrils flare from rough-hemmed sleeves and waistbands. Hirsute-handled bags were sculpted as though carved from chunks of snowy, celestial rock, while rugged, neon sunglasses made appropriate attire for a solar implosion. Elsewhere, the label’s more avant-garde approach came through in 3D-printed, oil-slicked bodices, sculptural down dresses, and cross-body, faux-fur harnesses.


Anthony Vaccarello sacked off the high-octane, 80s glamour of SS22 and the indie sleaze-esque, Peaches-inspired avant-gardism of AW21 to travel further back in time this season, as he drew inspiration from radical activist and publisher Nancy Cunard, who dressed way before her time. This made for an Art Deco-inflected 1930s made-modern collection made up of easy jersey column dresses stacked high with bangles, mega-slim spandex trousers much like the signature ones that permeate many a Saint Laurent offering, and a swathe of enormous faux fur coats. No prizes for guessing where the show took place: as has become a tradition, the label’s latest outing was staged inside a box facing the Eiffel Tower, the windows of which dramatically opened to reveal the landmark as the clock struck eight.


The Row woman has always been a little off-kilter, a firm believer in American tan tights and wonky silhouettes, but this time, she leaned full tilt into quirk and eccentricity. The collection swept through parquet-floored salons in fringed blanket dresses, swaddled outerwear, and nunnish, veiled caps. Much like the models, who were enfolded in layers of sculpted fabric, their distended and droopy sleeves lolloping over wrists, handbags were sent out with little napkin hats. Monochromatic, languid silhouettes conjured the spirit of Yohji Yamamoto, while Margiela’s presence could be felt in back-to-front camel coats and deconstructed, subversive shirting. But the dominant look this season was puritanical, all jaunty wigs, elongated collars, and austere, shapeless skirts – reaffirming that punitive type of poetry that underscores the best The Row collections.


Numbering 105 looks, Balmain sent out the longest collection of the AW22 season so far. While it could have done with a little editing, Olivier Rousteing had plenty to get off his chest. Last year, after a fireplace exploded in the designer’s home, leaving him with significant burns across his body, Rousteing took a prolonged break from social media. During that time, he realised just how far he had hitched his self-worth on the internet’s validation. And as such, the premise of this season was to provide an armour against Instagram, narrated in three acts. First, a fight, as told by a bevy of breakdancers, then vulnerability, embodied by swish, lace dresses, pale satin corsetry, and creamy biker jackets, and then, protection, symbolised via leather, exoskeletal jackets, hulking platform boots, and hard-shelled bodices, which exploded into full-bodied tulle skirts. Almost every outfit came topped with breastplates, some tactical, others golden and shiny, others rubbery and muscular. Obviously the collection was designed before Russia invaded Ukraine, but Rousteing acknowledged its military undertones, writing in the show notes: “I keep in mind this collection’s message: united in solidarity, we can rely on the power of hope and truth to push back against hate, lies and aggression.”


Photos from Jonny Johansson’s AW22 show gave a much-needed jolt of humour to the fashion season, with guests desperately poking their heads above the conversation pits they had been made to sit in – craning their necks towards models like baby birds at feeding time. Of course, mother birds famously regurgitate their own food into the mouths of their offspring, which is a handy metaphor for this season’s self-referential Acne collection, which gleefully revisited and repackaged its denim roots. Alongside uber wide, slim, and bell-bottomed trousers, there were patchworked paper bag skirts, overdyed column skirts, moto-boiler suits, and a pannier-hipped, upcycled denim gown which closed the show. Elsewhere, languid, distended knitwear was slashed and frayed, while fringed-curtain dresses swept around the body in granny prints, and enormous leather blazers, redolent of Acne’s earlier collections, seemed to swallow models. Tattered, twisted, and jaunty, Johansson doubled down on one of the prevailing moods for the AW22 season – sexy, grimy, nihilism. 


The mound of crushed tin cans that grew from the centre of Nicolas di Felice’s runway was not a comment on waste or recycling, as one might assume, but the reimagining of a car junkyard that once laid the scene for a 1973 Courrèges campaign. As if emerging from the rubble, crumpled aluminium earrings swung from the model's heads, who pounded the parameters in silvery, thigh-high boots, as warped, metallic-looking structures enwrapped mini dresses. There was a slightly harder edge to this season’s offering, with the elbows on puffer jackets and pea coats angular and emphatic, while faces were covered in swamping ski-shades. Despite the obvious 60s and space-age references, there was a realism to the pieces, many of which chimed with the skin-baring, mini-everything trend, which came through in wipe-clean mini skirts, slinky, diamond cut-out knitwear, and geometric shift dresses.


Throughout the AW22 season, various pretenders have snatched at the Miu Miu set’s crown, but none more so than at Coperni, where a belted micro-skirt suit made its way down the catwalk. But, then again, Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant have always managed to key into collective consciousness, hooking young crowds onto their Y2K-inflected wardrobe. This season was just as frivolous but felt a little bit more experimental in its approach, proposing hunch-backed tailoring, tuxedo hoods, and denim leg warmers. Halter necks, blazer lapels, and latex dresses were ruched into rose-twists, while hourglass waist coats grew upwards into animal-eared balaclavas. Looks were styled with adidas Gazelles in an unofficial collaboration, but the brand did link-up with off-kilter accessories brand Heven – founded by model Peter Dupont – procuring devil-horned, glass-blown, and metal handbags.


That Rick Owens had a Roman Catholic education is not the least bit surprising – he has spent the entirety of his adult career scratching his way through to the underworld. As models skulled through the Palais de Tokyo, brandishing churchly censers, the designer’s AW22 collection took on a somewhat sombre tone. That is, compared to all the “urine” t-shirts and incandescent headdresses of his January menswear offering, anyway. Beneath the scented plumes of his new Aesop collaboration, languid evening gowns emerged in faded metallic sequins, clinging to the body like a sheath before unfurling into amorphous folds. A few druid-draped jersey dresses underscored the designer’s pseudo-religious leanings while his usual intrepid outerwear was upgraded with alienoid shoulders, goat fur trims, overblown tire-shaped collars, and distended sleeves. In the accompanying press release, Owens wrote: “During times of heartbreak, beauty can be one of the ways to maintain faith,” a sentiment which was reiterated as a trio of teal and mustard pairings made it through the fog.


After sending light-up trenches, Live Laugh Love-esque belts, and t-shirts depicting his models screaming down the runway as part of his AW22 Loewe menswear show, Jonathan Anderson leaned even further into surrealism when it came to his womenswear. In a pleasing brown carpeted space, dotted with Anthea Hamilton’s big squishy pumpkins (which the artist encouraged attendees to touch), the Northern Irish designer debuted a berserk collection for the new season. On the line up? A silver mini that had been stretched over the frame of a toy car, faun-like trousers that jutted from their wearer’s hips, and second-skin tops crafted from the same tactile latex of the show’s invitations. Elsewhere, just-visible high heels had been stuffed down semi-diaphanous dresses, and balloons were basically everywhere: strapped to bodies through bandage-like gowns, turned into half-cup bras, and perched precariously under suede court shoes like they could pop any minute. The result was slightly perverse, a little kinky, and wholly, utterly brilliant.


Swapping out an invite-only crowd for absolutely anybody, Marine Serre showcased her AW22 collection within a weekend-long exhibition at Lafayette Anticipations. The designer had situated an atelier on the first floor, with staff members cobbling together bits of old deadstock, while upstairs, poppy reinterpretations of classic 17th and 18th century paintings were hung on display. Between Girl with a Pearl Earring and Diana the Huntress, a runway emerged, as a sweep of mature models dressed in monochromatic, crescent-moon overcoats began to fill the space. Soon enough, fringed tartan scarves were patchworked into clan-like coats and pastoral skirts, while band t-shirts were spliced into hooded gowns, and panels of surplus camo and second-hand denim were transformed into corseted dress-jackets. Outside, a crush of French teenagers swarmed the gates of the venue, iconising Serre as one of the most exciting names to have come from the capital in recent years.


Alison Moyet’s “Only You” is perhaps the hardest working song in fashion. Having scored countless runways, like that stomach-soaring SS16 Burberry show, it rang out once more this season, closing Pierpaolo Piccioli’s AW22 offering, which was an homage to the colour pink. The set, a fuchsia-walled enclave, was redolent of Marc Jacobs’ SS15 toy house or Jacquemus’ recent vending machines, but it was essentially Valentino – sumptuous, bold, and just on the right side of saccharine. The designer took an extreme approach, dividing clothing into one of two colourways, hot pink and black, in order to bring silhouette and detail into greater focus. It was all about couturising the everyday, as bubble dresses, oversized suits, slim tabard tops, puffer jackets, and cargo suits made way for ostrich feathers and ostentatious capes. Alongside the show, it was announced that Pantone would officially recognise Piccioli’s pink – a rival to Valentino red? –  which, for a designer who has built a reputation on the back of his deft and evocative approach to colour, makes perfect sense.


Though Matthew Williams’ Givenchy could be so easily described as dark or hard-edged – in gloomy, oversized t-shirts, slouchy leather pants, balaclavas, thigh-high boots, and utilitarian-buckled dresses – according to the designer, it’s all about lightness. And as such, you could spot models coiling their way onto the runway from beneath a transparent stage, which was illuminated in flood lights as if it were a stadium concert. This season, the designer attempted to translate the codes of Hubert de Givenchy into a streetwear-heavy wardrobe, all spliced and tiered t-shirts, rock band graphics, floor-skimming coats, puffer jackets, baggy jeans, and bomber jackets. That’s why, on the more delicate side of things, Audrey Hepburn-worthy pearls adorned wide-legged denim, as sheer slips ballooned into flamenco ruffles, and orb-beaded tops were worn as layered vests. As a former music exec, Williams seems to approach fashion as if it were something to be mega-mixed and mashed-up – blasting high-fashion surface treatments over a slick, real life wardrobe. 


At Vivienne Westwood, feather boas were wrapped around the body like bawdy, buccaneering boleros while thick leather rings travelled up legs like cartoonish, Michelin man boots. For SS22, Andreas Kronthaler delivered a much-needed hit of nonsense. It was silly, not like Jonathan Anderson, whose wit tends to be sweet and familiar, but chaotic and illogical, as if someone had run full speed through a school theatre’s costume store. With Rick Owens sat front row, Bella, Gigi, and Lindsey Wixson flounced about like pagan muses, piled in scarves, headdresses, and pseudo-historical gowns – all fringed, beaded, and draped chaotically around the body to DIY fortune teller effect. Meanwhile, boys in silk dresses, trailing hoodies, layered gypsy skirts, and tinsel-strewn knitwear (adorned by Westwood herself) proffered a collection built on haphazard variety.


Last autumn, Daniel Roseberry designed a tablecloth for a private dinner at Bergdorf Goodman, which he illustrated with all the Schiaparelli signatures: planets, dismembered body parts, bijoux, padlocks, keyholes, and measuring tapes. That eight-hour project proved a catalyst for his AW22 collection, which saw the designer embroider those motifs onto 80s-style denim jackets, pencil skirts, and jumpsuits. While RTW demands more of a restrained approach to design than couture, Roseberry nonetheless proposed Edward Scissorhands gloves, gimpy face masks, and leather torso bags. He’s also pushed his conical bras to the extreme, twisting their tips into XXL spikes fashioned from hard and horsey leather. That trademark Schiaparelli volume was pumped into overblown sleeves, shearling jackets, and veerrry wide beach hats, while more body conscious forms came via girdle shells, lumped onto fuzzy outerwear, skeleton-ridged playsuits, and corset lacing that just crept up the side of LBDs.


Young designers are often told to double-down on their signatures, to repeat prints, silhouettes, and fabrications so that it becomes the essential grammar of their design vocabulary. For Kenneth Ize, though, who has built an image on vibration-raising aso oke stripes, this goes a little deeper, having founded a factory in Nigeria to keep the craft alive. This season, that hand-woven material was multiplied across spliced tailoring, mini shift dresses, camisoles, and prim 80s blazers. But he also pushed his signature into other categories, too, producing denim hot pants, velour two pieces, macramé cardigans, and tailored jackets that gave way to pleated skirts. In lieu of zingy lines, checkerboard and diamond motifs emerged, blasted over blazers, half-zip knits, house coats, and shrunken vests, while the show closed with a tonal pattern, unexpectedly subded, bearing the outline of the African continent.


As Nicholas Ghesquière’s imagination whirls into its fifth decade, the internet has struggled to keep pace, confused – but nonetheless drawn in – by the designer’s history-bending references and seemingly counterintuitive styling. A clock loomed large at the Musée d’Orsay’s first ever runway show, as the designer took another sledgehammer to the concept of time, honing in on the experience and spirit of adolescence. As such, photographs of young adults in the 90s, taken by David Sims, were embroidered onto jacquard polos and silk dresses, while that familiar, teenage slouch was embodied in outsized rugby shirts, droopy blazers, and sweatpants. Ghesquière's experimental approach aligned itself with the notion of an exploratory, coming of age wardrobe, giving way to wide-brimmed, tweed pannier hips that descended into fringe scarves, roomy pinafores worn incongruously over roll necks, and androgynous, Dad-style tailoring that swamped the body with a tomboyish attitude.


Virginie Viard dedicated this season’s collection to tweed, covering invitations, seats, and the walls of the Grand Palais Éphémère in the maison’s trademark fabric. It spoke to the kind of wardrobe one might acquire when in the throes of romance, borrowing your partner’s coats, shooting jackets, and tailored trousers, and loving how they envelop your frame. Think Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker, only it was Gabrielle Chanel and the Duke of Westminster that the designer was conjuring for AW22. Accessories were crafted from the same tweed as pant suits, blousons, and knee-length skirts, though occasionally that was broken up by a jolt of brightly coloured leather swinging from the crook of an arm. Elsewhere, opaque hosiery, trailing scarves, and wellington boots carved out a niche on this season’s runways, evoking more of a pastoral and bookish mood than we have seen elsewhere.


Beloved of The Modern House estate agents and Tate card holders alike, Margaret Howell debuted its AW22 collection with a no-fuss video, panning over workwear-inspired pieces in shades of plum, blackberry, rust and khaki. Beyond its staples, like the MHL macintosh, which is based on 1960s fisherman coats, this season doubled down on the label’s collaboration with Japanese sportswear brand Mizuno – proffering oversized ponchos, waterproof walking trousers, and packable tote bags. Elsewhere, XXL knitted sleeves, dandyish tailored pieces, and baggy trousers chimed with the current menswear mood, while archival pieces were refreshed, riffing on silhouettes to key into the contemporary, like all the oversized shirts that the designer had plucked from the 1970s. Nothing felt new and that was the entire point, to embody all the warmth and wisdom that has made Margaret Howell such a fixture among creatively-inclined city dwellers for decades. 


At the tail end of Paris Fashion Week, Burberry delivered embroidered invites to its AW22 show, bearing the words “Thank You”. As runway send-outs become increasingly lavish – note Balenciaga’s iPhones and Off-White’s safes – a needlework hoop and its accompanying white rose felt like a palette cleanser. So too did the stark, linen table tops which were dotted around City Hall, proving a runway for Riccardo Tisci’s strongest offering yet. From the darkened stalls, a phalanx of men emerged, wearing clingy column skirts, strapped in shearling, fur, and knitted torso-binds. Womenswear swung between the raunchy – in eyelet-strewn outerwear and lacey bustier-dresses – and the prissy – in patterned scarf-skirts and trench-dress hybrids. The convergence of which was perhaps a pair of tailored trousers, its belted waistband beginning at the bust. Though the label’s wheaten staples made up the bulk of the collection, this ultimately gave way to a bevy of dramatic evening gowns, fuzzy and sculptural, or otherwise festooned in hulking crystal embellishments – all of which felt red carpet-ready.