“Euphoric” and “erotic” – this is how one might describe Anthony Vaccarello‘s resort 2022 collection for Saint Laurent. It’s not only because you can imagine nearly every “Euphoria” character (have you seen the first episode of season 2? Mind-blowing!) wearing all the YSL feathers and sexy, body-conscious silhouettes to their quite dramatic parties (actually, Maddy would perfectly pull it off to school). The collection is totally hedonist and free-spirited, both wearable and spotlight-stealing. There’s a terrific, go-with-the-flow vibe going on here, all high-waisted, floor-sweeping flares, flower power sequins, and hippie headbands. There’s also a confident, palpable sense of sexual empowerment, with LBDs and not so little LBDs bearing all manner of cut-outs and cut-aways, breast-veiling, and other forms of transparency. The model casting also has a message – how smart of Vaccarello to showcase much of this on his long-time friend and house icon Anja Rubik, who has become a fearless advocate for women’s sexual and reproductive rights back home in her native Poland. The collection also mirrors how much the identity of the YSL women was forged through menswear. There’s definitely a heady whiff of those androgynous days when Yves Saint Laurent and muse Betty Catroux shared the same plunge-front shirted, narrow-hipped tailored approach to getting dressed. That was back in the late ’60s/early ’70s, an era iconic to YSL, in which gender fluidity was just one way the old order was rightly collapsing from the challenges thrown down by emancipation, counter-culture, and more bohemian ways of living. Vaccarello isn’t the type to talk endlessly about politics in his work, if ever, but politics are there, without a doubt. What he’s offering here is a clear and confident vision of dressing for a world today that’s equally in flux.
Hello in 2022! How about starting the year with something simple, yet precious and absolutely beautiful? Sophie Buhai is one of my favourite jewellery designers from Los Angeles. Her namesake jewellery collection, established in 2015, has renewed the modernist tradition of solid sterling silver with an emphasis on sculptural silhouettes of substantial weight. Each jewellery piece coming from her brand is made by hand in LA by master artisans using recycled metals to minimize environmental impact. Her signature silver pieces comprise the line’s permanent collection – a series of modern classics that transcend seasons and trends. For resort 2022, the designer works as well with onyx and lapis, creating refined, shell-inspired pendants, beaded necklaces and donut rings. This season, the designer has also introduced nautical-style decorative hair combs, claw clips and chignon holders, all hand-made in France.
“It’s about femininity in all its forms,” said Area’s Piotrek Panszczyk of the New York-based label’s phenomenal resort 2022 collection preview with Vogue. “From hard-core sex kitten to something daintier with pink, daisies, and crystals.” That might sound impossibly broad, but reaching out to all the hot girls, quirky chicks, and vampish women is something Area has specialized in since the brand was founded in 2013 by Panszczyk and Beckett Fogg. The collection spans racy lingerie dotted with crystal bows, chic ivory suiting dangling with crystal fringe, and kitschy denim punctuated with massive brass studs. It’s a lot of look and a lot of drama for a ready-to-wear offering – but Panszczyk affirms it sells. Party options are many this season, with Area creating its own lace from crystal patterns, drawing inspiration from medieval armor for giant studded leather bows and bustiers, and ingeniously embellishing a black minidress with bright red press-on nails for a “rhinestoned at the nail salon” bit of camp. A growing denim offering adds to the label’s ready-to-wear expansion, as do its popular platform clogs and square-toed mules, now adorned with sweet little daisy charms. With the collection landing on Area’s e-commerce site right now, it seems like only a matter of time before bombshells from Miami to Macau start trying out the brand’s manic new femininity.
Daniel Lee and Bottega Veneta parted ways last month, yet before we see Matthieu Blazy’s debut in February, there’s Lee’s resort 2022 collection which is the essense of his work for the brand. Development-wise, the collection predates the spring outing – Salon 03 – that took place in Detroit in October. The ideas here are much more precise and will definitely appeal to the New Bottega fans who will symbolically buy Lee’s final designs. It’s bright and upbeat, awash with juicy citrus and berry shades, and cut in rich, touchable textures. Not quite hedonistic but close; it’s a wardrobe for good times. In place of the directional tailoring that has distinguished preceding collections here, there was denim and corduroy, but done the Bottega Veneta way, meaning that the denim is knitted with jumbo stitching, and the corduroy comes in acid colors. Another no-brainer item that got the house treatment is the puffer; quilted on the bias in glossy orange and Hockney blue leather, it’s no run-of-the-mill jacket. If coming at everyday items with an elevated touch was one part of the Bottega Veneta story under Lee, the other was to emphasize high craftsmanship—to make things at a couture-like level without bending to couture-ish propriety. The hand-crocheted and -beaded dresses here belong to that rubric, even though they’re designed in the bare, easy shapes of beach cover-ups. Likewise, the intarsia shearling bathrobes. A dress underneath one of the robes, in a smaller version of the coat’s interlocking pattern, is cut from classic swimsuit material; together they really do channel the Miami-in-December vibe. And now the big question: after three years of Lee’s reign, which was cut abruptly, where will Blazy take the brand?
Lately, Pierpaolo Piccioli‘s direction at Valentino is towards creating clothes that celebrate life. Parisian cafés hold a particular charm for the designer these days. The Valentino show he staged last month had models walking out of the Carré du Temple to stroll in the surrounding streets, where people were sitting in cafés enjoying the en plein air experience. For resort 2022, which reads as a sort of prequel to the spring collection, the lookbook was shot in the Marais, a lively arrondissement populated by a hip and diverse crowd, in a café called Le Progrès. Its name resonates with Piccioli’s ongoing practice at the label, which he’s trying to steer forward without detracting from its history. “I want to bring life and a sense of reality into Valentino,” he said over Zoom from his studio in Rome. “Bringing it out of the atelier while retaining the savoir faire of the atelier.” Piccioli has been at the maison long enough to know its codes by heart; he has lived through its glamourous heyday, when Valentino Garavani received guests at his Château de Wideville, whose grounds were as perfectly manicured as the high-maintenance crowd that walked them. It was a world as fabulous as it was secluded and inaccessible. “I don’t want to forget the castle, but you have to be rooted in the present,” he said. “I want to bring the castle to the street, so to speak, and bring the street to the castle.” He calls this process re-signification; he feels that his duty as a fashion designer today is to be the vector of a vision of beauty in tune with the times we’re living in. “Beauty today means diversity and inclusivity; I want to encourage people to embrace it,” he said. Piccioli’s message is calibrated to appeal to younger generations, for which such values are a given; at Le Progrès, the cast included singer and TikTok-er Dixie D’Amelio; model and editor of the online platform the Youth Collective Project Amanda Prugnaud; filmmaker Christian Coppola; and actress Tina Kunakey. Every piece of the collection was treated individually to make it stand out on its own, not only adding to its value, but also allowing for the layered, personal styling which is becoming a sort of signature of Piccioli’s tenure. Shapes were simple and “almost elemental, without any grandeur,” and enhanced by elaborate decorations. A slender, slightly masculine white wool coat was appliquéd with floral ramages cut-out in black velvet, while a simple oversized black tee was intarsia-ed with lace as if a dressy blouse were somehow patchworked onto it. Eccentric flourishes were lavished on everyday pieces – feathers dotted sweats, capes, and svelte minidresses; long braided fringes trimmed ponchos; intricate broderie anglaise techniques appeared on slender, minimal tunics; and romantic blouses were encrusted with precious lace and worn with denim. “I wanted to make what is ordinary more imaginative and fantastical,” Piccioli said. “This is just extra-ordinary daywear.”