With more in-person shows taking place and more attendees crossing international borders, London, Milan and Paris fashion weeks were the closest to pre-pandemic normalcy as they have been since 2019.
The abundance of denim on the runway added to the familiarity. From using denim as a grounding piece for more courageous designs, to shredded, embellished and deconstructed statement pieces, the universal fabric was a part of the most talked-about Spring/Summer 2022 collections.
The buzziest collaboration of the season, Fendace, produced some of the most logo-laden denim looks. The Versace and Fendi mashup, which saw Donatella Versace swap roles with Kim Jones, Fendi’s women’s wear artistic director, featured patchwork denim printed mini-skirts, low-rise trousers, bra tops, shorts and jackets. Double logos, oversized belt buckles and pops of hot pink exuded the collection’s quintessentially Italian excess.
Denim carried into Versace’s main line, inspired by the fashion house’s silk foulard. “The foulard is a fundamental component of Versace’s heritage and character,” Donatella Versace stated. “It’s acted as a canvas for our iconic prints and is worn in multiple ways from knotted tops to headscarves to bag accessories, it’s a way of adding Versace attitude to any look.” Inserts of the lively colored silk foulard interjected Versace’s loose-fit light-wash jeans and short shift dresses.
Similarly, fellow Italian label Etro used patterned fabrics as patchwork details on long denim vests and slouchy jeans with drawstring waistbands. The fabrics tied back to blazers and accessories.
There was no shortage of color and decorated denim from Philipp Plein. The designer paired pastel jeans with crystal-embellished skull sweaters and layered novelty patches on distressed and whiskered jeans. The pieced construction used by Marine Serre added depth to pink- and purple-hued denim jeans and belted jackets. Loewe’s deconstructed jean jackets and matching balloon-hem skirts were presented in indigo and overdyed brown. The same fabric was used for backless dresses with molded metallic bodices.
Though there was less colorful tie-dye compared to prior seasons, dye effects and bleaching added a youthful look to Weinsanto’s lace-up denim tops, long skirts and balloon pants. Extreme shredding impacted the runway as well, seen on Dsquared2’s jackets and cropped jeans and Ludovic de Saint Sernin’s flare jeans. Frayed hems enhanced the movement of Annakiki’s denim gown made with cascading ruffles.
The Y2K era of denim found its way onto the catwalk, thanks to Blumarine’s denim butterfly tops and low-rise jeans. The label also constructed slip dresses and mini-dresses with denim-printed chiffons. Metallic trims added a glam factor to Genny’s polished dark denim pieces. Meanwhile, crystal-embellished light-wash jeans, denim shorts and mini dresses by GCDS were full of pop-princess vibes.
MSGM captured a summery feeling by pairing relaxed denim with retro floral and gingham prints. Cropped cardigans and puff-sleeve tops were worn with slouchy jeans and laidback flip-flops. A denim set—tank and shorts—was trimmed with multi-color floral appliqués at the neckline and the top lines of pockets.
Positioned as an elevated version of utility, safari references filtered into women’s collections. The flap pockets on Elisabetta Franchi’s sleeveless denim dress and fitted jean jacket were emphasized by denim and leather handbags and multi-compartment belt bags.
Despite designers’ pointed references and themes, loose-fitting jeans and double-denim ensembles maintained their place leading trends in London, Milan and Paris, folding seamlessly into collections.
Head-to-toe denim looks doubled as effortless uniforms for women. Act N.1’s long jeans featured front yoke details. Petar Petrov’s take on workwear included simple jean shirts—some with flap pockets on the chest—with carpenter jeans. Similarly, Bally showed workwear jackets and shirts and cropped jeans in the same wash.
Vintage washed jeans and long shorts added a grunge element to tulle maverick Molly Goddard’s baby doll tops. Low-rise, wide-leg jeans that puddled over models’ feet were the companion piece for Missoni’s belly-baring tops. Valentino continued to focus on wearable and relatable luxury with white blouses and blue jeans.