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Pre-Fall 2022 Denim Report: Bold Versus Classic

Denim’s two sides are revealed in pre-Fall 2022 collections. On one side, designers like Brandon Maxwell and Max Mara are finding beauty in the fabric’s rich indigo hues and timeless appeal, while on the other labels like R13 and Balmain relish the destruction of denim and voluminous proportions.

The result is a battle of bold versus classic, and it’s resulting in a hodge-podge of fits, finishes and styling.

In a nod to ’90s minimalism, Brandon Maxwell found a middle ground between women’s slim and slouchy fits that paired effortlessly with basic knits. Max Mara refined denim for work by opting for slim fits and clean washes. The brand made a strong case for denim work shirts by pairing the Bermuda style with a classic button-down shirt and navy blazer.

Nili Lotan channeled past decades in a collection that spanned ’70s trouser jeans to ’90s straight and skinny fits.

By mixing cropped jean jackets with checked blazers and adding subtle patch pockets to jeans, Veronica Beard offered a collection that has city and country appeal—a theme that began to bubble up last fall. Dark wash denim with wheat-color stitching added a Western vibe to Cinq a Sept’s zip-up jumpsuit and button-front strapless dress. A tomato red cropped jean jacket added a pop of color.

In a collection that mixed Americana with British eclecticism, center creases and ankle-skimming lengths added a polished look to Dior Men’s relaxed vintage-wash jeans. Louis Vuitton’s men’s collection, among Virgil Abloh‘s last designs, centered on wide fits that puddled over sneakers.

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Trompe l’oeil denim prints on skirts and trousers added a touch of novelty to MM6’s otherwise serious military-inspired collection. Meanwhile, jeans with long inseams and baggy legs keyed into category’s ongoing comfort makeover.

Jeans with elastic waistbands and wide legs introduced an element of coziness to Chanel’s collection. A ruffled hem and pale, cloud-like washes amplified the quality.

Balmain’s pre-Fall 2022 was the definition of maximalism with leather moto pants, neon houndstooth prints and pearl embellishments. The collection was also dense with denim, spanning a form-fitting jean skirt with corsetry details, shredded and bleach jeans and unfinished miniskirts. Perhaps a nod to ’90s hip-hop duo Kris Kross, back pockets and logo patches were placed on the front of ripped wide-leg jeans and denim shorts.

R13 received the destroyed denim memo as well. The line included overalls chopped just below the knee and raver jeans with gaping holes.

Acid wash effects—this time in black—continued to be a part of Norma Kamali’s story. Denim circle skirts, cargo joggers, puff-sleeved jackets, sleeveless boiler suits and puffer coats were styled with black tulle, lace and leather for a full-on ’80s punk revival.

Hot off its Fendi collaboration, Versace styled slim and slouchy cargo jeans and jackets with an eclectic mix of logo tees, colorful scarf prints and satin heels. Denim also made its way onto a trio of top-handle handbags embellished with gold hardware and Medusa ornaments.

Diesel exuded a similar energy with a collection including everything from multi-print stirrup jeans, pants with built-in shoes and low-rise miniskirts to trompe l’oeil denim print shirt-dresses, skirts, bags, trousers and shirts, some of them in a “mixed material mélange with ‘real’ denim,” the brand stated. The line also featured some of Diesel’s brand-new accessories, like denim slingback heels with D-ring toe ornaments, bags made with recycled materials and reversible belts.