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Y2K Sweeps Runway and Fast-Fashion Trends

The biggest trend story of 2022 may be fashion from two decades ago.

Y2K, the futuristic, pop star-inspired fashion from the early aughts, ranked No. 3 on Tagwalk’s list of global trends for F/W 22-23. The fashion search platform used the tag “2000s” for 336 looks, including Y2K crop tops by Aniye Records, Collina Strada’s bodycon dresses and Marine Serre’s take on the “Penny Lane” coat, which belongs to both the ’70s and ’00s.

“While some designers gave us a peek into the future, referencing the metaverse and Space-Age dressing, several were still looking to the past, reliving the Y2K era’s glory days,” Edited stated.

In some cases, style and color references are specific to moments in pop culture. “Polly Pocket pink” and baby blue washed over designs at Blumarine and 16 Arlington, while Coperni was among those channeling “Euphoria” with crop tops, low-waists and cutouts, Edited added.

Indeed, “Euphoria” has gripped the attention of Gen Z and TikTok users. The hashtag “euphoriaoutfit” has 58.4 million views on the video platform. The controversial HBO high-school drama was recently named the most inspirational TV show for viewers makeup looks and fashion choices by marketing research firm Uswitch, which analyzed Google search data from the past 12 months.

During the first couple of weeks of February, fashion search platform Lyst reported that searches for “cutout dresses,” a style frequently worn by “Euphoria” actress Alexa Demie’s Maddy Perez character, increased 42 percent and searches for cropped cardigans rose 18 percent.

The show’s influence is evident in H&M’s new studio collection for spring. Studded denim miniskirts, jeans with corset lacing and rhinestone-trimmed cutout dresses are among the bold looks featured in the fast-fashion retailer’s premium line.

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“There’s a new mood of exuberance in the air making us all want to dress up in fabulous clothes again. It’s reminiscent of the va-va-voom spirit that defined fashion in the 1980s up to the early 2000s,” said Ann-Sofie Johansson, H&M creative advisor.

While the Y2K trend is already being adopted by retailers across every market sector, Edited said the noughties revival is showing no signs of slowing down. Despite the pleas of high-rise-loving millennials, low-rise jeans were central to Diesel’s Milan Fashion Week debut, and they have already been copped by trendsetters like Dua Lipa and Julia Fox. Connor Ives chopped off waistbands for a sexy, undone look, while Christian Siriano went ultra-low with a pair of patchwork jeans for Gloria Vanderbilt.

While low-rise jeans are a Y2K hallmark, another signature silhouette is coming into play: the low-rise miniskirt. “Micro miniskirts were a hero piece at Versace and Christian Cowan,” Edited stated. Leather, ombre and fur-trimmed miniskirts were featured in 16 Arlington’s collection. Blumarine added tiers of ruffles and cutouts to miniskirts.

The miniskirt was the piece de resistance in Miu Miu’s collection for a second consecutive season. Low-rise miniskirts in white were part of the label’s tennis-inspired collection. The style was also interpreted in black leather.

The miniskirt was the piece de resistance in Miu Miu’s collection for a second consecutive season.
Miu Miu WWD

Meanwhile, the label’s ultra-low and ultra-cropped pleated miniskirts from its S/S 2022 collection have been the go-to magazine cover look in 2022. Nicole Kidman wore the Miu Miu skirt and matching bra top in Vanity Fair’s Hollywood Issue. Zendaya wore it in an editorial for Interview Magazine. Paloma Elsesser wore the skirt and Miu Miu’s chopped sweater in the cover of i-D.

During the week of Feb. 23—the week Elsesser’s cover came out—Lyst documented 900 searches a day on its platform for Miu Miu skirts. In fact, demand for miniskirts on Lyst is at a three-year high.

Y2K’s zany side is also revealing itself through colorful furs and rhinestone embellishments. David Koma decked out models in crystal-embellished rugby shirts and racing stripe dresses, while MSGM and Patbo applied crystals to loose-fitting jeans.

The 2000s trends are already making an impact in retail. Edited reported that arrivals of bedazzled tops have increased 313 percent year-over-year, thanks in part to fast-fashion retailers like Shein and Zara offering a variety of going-out tops. Embellished dresses at Lulus contributed to the style’s 364 percent overall growth. The blingy look is also on track to dazzle in the accessories and footwear categories this year.