From Kim in Marilyn Monroe’s dress to a dramatic spray-on stunt, fashion has been a wild ride this year, writes Ellie Violet Bramley.
This year has been a rollercoaster, and fashion has been no slouch in responding to the chaos. It shifted between moods of cosiness and glamour, austerity and extravagance, futuristic and nostalgic, bizarre and formal.
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It also oscillated between the casual and the ready-to-go out-and-about, as we vacillated between a post-pandemic desire to get dressed up and apply copious amounts of lip gloss and a more down-at-heel mood, a hangover from all those months in tracksuit bottoms. Simply put, fashion in 2022 has been a wild ride. Here are some items and events that may help make sense of the chaos:
Julia Fox’s amped-up denim
If you’re looking for a fashion icon in 2022, look no further than Julia Fox, the Uncut Gems actor who became a household name – sort of – this year. Despite the fierce competition, one of her more bizarre outfits saw her take a single pair of jeans and cut them up to make a pair of extremely low-slung jeans and a slither of a crop top. She elevated the Canadian tuxedo by pairing it with an Alexander Wang bag made from a pair of jeans – the legs tied together to make the handle – and a pair of knee-high Alexander Wang boots made from… denim. From head to toe, this outfit is perplexing. It spoke to fashion’s love of someone willing to take risks with their appearance. Julia Fox isn’t concerned with “fashion rules,” according to Katy Lubin of the fashion search platform Lyst. “And [she] has been wholeheartedly embraced by the fashion ecosystem as a result”.
Like an alcopop hangover, noughties fashions have remained popular in 2022, with Bella Hadid serving as the poster girl for being able to pull off furry hats and wraparound sunglasses. Everything Y2K was a hit, from micro-miniskirts to bare midriffs, cargo pants to cut-outs, and sparkly shoulder bags to jeans – the lower the slung, the better. Katie Holmes even attempted to revive the dress over baggy jeans look. Lubin argues that the look is “popular with Gen Z shoppers who are inspired by the golden-era paparazzi shots of noughties it-girls emerging from nightclubs”. Those who were too young to remember it the first time around may appreciate the Y2K spirit the most.
Bella Hadid’s spray-on dress
“Technology! Drama! Bella is almost naked! This well-executed show stunt contained all of the necessary internet-breaking ingredients to dominate fashion fans’ feeds “Lubin recalls the moment Parisian label Coperni sprayed a dress on Hadid at its spring/summer 2023 show. The spray was made of Fabrican, a liquid made from both natural and synthetic fibres, and was the result of an innovative collaboration between the best minds in fashion and science. As with many viral moments, it received the most special of treatments: it became a Halloween costume. In case you’re wondering, whipped cream isn’t as effective.
When Margot Robbie was photographed wearing candy-colored cycling shorts in a scene from the new Barbie film, it was a clear call for hot pink. Barbie has “become the underlying style muse of the year,” according to Lyst’s year in fashion report. When designer Pierpaolo Piccioli sent a unique shade of hot, “rampant” pink down the catwalk at his autumn/winter 2022 show, it met its high-fashion cousin, Valentino pink. According to Lubin, it makes perfect sense given the need for “some pure fun escapism into a happy bubblegum candy-pink world” this year. “Hot pink tracks well on social media,” she adds.
The Bear and the white T-shirt
Carmen “Carmy” Berzatto’s plain white T-shirt was cited as the “real star” of The Bear, one of the year’s most lauded shows, and while it appeared unremarkable, it told a story that went deeper than the screen. Groves elaborates: “Carmy’s blank white T-shirt appears to be ubiquitous and hints of the everyday. Menswear forums quickly identified his T-shirt as having been produced by the German company Merz b Schwanen, which creates T-shirts using original loopwheeler cotton cylinders from the early twentieth century.” It’s an origin story that speaks “to the character’s obsessiveness over their dress”. It’s not the first time the white tee has taken centre stage in pop culture – See Marlon Brando in A Streetcar Named Desire or James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause. But it’s possible that this is the first time one has remained so spotless in a working kitchen.
Second-hand Love Island
Indiyah Polack, a UK Love Island contestant, wore a second-hand Ann Summers “Sexy Adult Air Hostess” outfit to take part in this summer’s mile high challenge, proving that anything fast fashion can do, second-hand fashion can do just as well. And it marked a step toward the mainstreaming of secondhand shopping, with all of the outfits worn by this summer’s cohort of “sexy singles” sourced from eBay. It paid off: the site saw a 7,000% increase in searches for “sustainable fashion” in the month following the show. But it hasn’t all been rosy – fast fashion company Shein was named most popular brand of the year, and second-hand fashion still accounts for only 3-4% of the market, according to Vinted’s CEO – proving it needs to become more than just a holiday fling.
The pigeon clutch
Pigeons may not scream “fashion,” but when Sarah Jessica Parker was photographed on the set of the TV show And Just Like That with the JW Anderson 3D-printed pigeon clutch, grotty talons and all, the bag sold out across several retailers. It speaks to the potency of SJP, but it also speaks to our current taste for the bizarre. According to the Guardian, it has only enough space for a travel-sized hand sanitizer “A prop, a stunt, or a meme brought to life. It’s less of a bag and more of a character accessory “. And, while this particular bag isn’t something you’re likely to notice the next time you board the bus, stupid, Tiny bags are the ideal accessory for mocking fashion – and life (on days when you don’t have library books to return).
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