The Fall 2022 Ready-to-Wear Collections: Good Taste, Bad Taste, & No Taste

Telfar Fall 2022 Ready-to-Wear
Photo by Rebecca Smeyne for The New York Times

At the start of NYFW, you couldn’t escape all the articles touting the joy of getting dressed up again. The ongoing mantra was, “Forget athleisure; stow away your sneakers and sweats and get dressed!” The week officially closed with Telfar, which is predicated on athleticwear and sportswear.

It is ballyhooed as “The Show of the Week.” The headline in WWD reads, “Telfar Closes Out NY with a Bang .” Vanessa Friedman titles her end of NYFW article, “It’s Telfar’s World. We’re Just Living In It”. Go figure! Is it any wonder the customer is confused?

As I watch the Fall 2022 collections unfold (they end in Paris on Tuesday) and read the reviews, I sometimes feel like I’m the only one who is shuddering at many of the things I’m seeing. And it’s not a generational thing. I know many women of all ages bristle at some of the ridiculous over-hyped designs that are being passed off as fashion right now.

Fendi Fall 2022 Ready-to-Wear

There were a few really great sharply tailored jackets shown at the Fendi Fall 2022 Ready-to-Wear collection in Milan but it’s basically a study in pastel-hued see-through lingerie. As soon as the show ended, my good friend Sandy Schreier texted, “Oh, great. Just what we need more of right now: flapping thighs”.

I had to laugh, but sadly, this says it all. In fact, Sandy is now in Miami, and she can attest to the fact that it’s impossible to walk down the street or enjoy a meal without someone’s private parts sticking in your face.

There isn’t even a sense of appropriateness. It’s literally a free-for-all.

London Fashion Week
Photo: by Philip Oh

The lead shot on Wednesday, February 24th, featured this image taken by Philip Oh on the 4th day of London Fashion Week. It speaks volumes about where we are in fashion at the moment. I mean, really, Kim Kardashian is on the March cover of Vogue magazine.

Kim Kardashian Milan Fashion Week

This is a woman who became famous after a sex tape she unwittingly ‘starred’ in went viral, and she’s been wholly plasticized through countless surgeries. Kim doesn’t even look real. A wonderful and inspirational role model? Not!

Rihanna arrives at Dior
Photo: Getty Images

Speaking of role models, Rihanna can get away with anything. I am hardly a prude, but this one takes the cake. I’ve seen enough of her pregnant belly (and just about everything else). RIRI, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should!

LaQuan Smith Fall 2022 Ready-to-Wear

You know something’s wrong when WWD crowns LaQuan Smith as “The New King of Sportswear” in New York. The honor really belongs to Peter Do. LaQuan might have added a few more outerwear pieces than usual to his Fall 2022 Ready-to-Wear collection, but let’s face it, it’s still unapologetically raunchy and tacky.

In Vanessa Friedman’s review of Shayne Oliver, Eckhaus Latta, and others, “Good Riddance to Good Taste,” 2/13/22, she observes that good taste is irrelevant at the moment. It sure looks that way. Maybe it’s time to bring it back? Fortunately, fashion is nothing if not cyclical.

Shayne Oliver Fall 2022 Ready-to-Wear
Photo: Michael Janey for The New York Times

The overwhelmingly positive reaction to Saint Laurent proves that I’m not the only one who has seen enough sheerness and tawdry tasteless fashion (on and off the runways) to last a lifetime.

Saint Laurent Fall 2022 Ready-to-Wear
Photo: Courtesy Saint Laurent

This year marks the 60th anniversary of Yves Saint Laurent’s first fashion show. 6 Parisian museums (Centre Pompidou, Musée du Louvre, Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris, Musée d’Orsay, Musée National Picasso-Paris and Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris) are paying homage to Yves with exhibitions featuring some of his most iconic pieces.

Saint Laurent Fall 2022 Ready-to-wear

Anthony Vaccarello paid tribute to his father, who passed away a few days before the show, by leaving a memorial note on each chair. Vaccarello also honors the long-lasting memory of Yves with a strong collection that goes to the heart and soul of YSL. It’s womanly, sophisticated, and the epitome of Parisian chic. And boy, do we need this now!

Saint Laurent Fall 2022 Ready-to-Wear
Photo Courtesy Saint Laurent

Anthony is one of a handful of designers who are paying heed to the grown-up woman who loves fashion and wants to look strong and alluring. On this runway, sheer is handled quite beautifully, counterbalancing the gutsiness of the outerwear.

Saint Laurent Fall 2022 Ready-to-Wear
Photo: Courtesy Saint Laurent

The coats are the undeniable stars; chesterfields, trenches, bombers, and pea coats. They are shown as eveningwear but needless to say, everything would work for day paired with jeans, flat oxfords or sneakers. It’s worth noting that pea coats are being shown in many other collections. They look especially good right now. It was Yves who put them on the fashion map.

Saint Laurent
Photo: Courtesy Saint Laurent

Of course, the tuxedos are cut to perfection, and the luscious faux furs are so real-looking and luxurious. I am reminded of the famous celebrity-driven Blackglama ad campaign which began in the 1980s, “What Becomes A Legend Most?” It was a “Who’s Who” in popular culture.

Saint Laurent Fall 2022 Ready-to-Wear
Photo: Courtesy Saint Laurent

Vaccarello has the good sense (and good taste) to pare it all down and focus on the clothes. The only accessories used are the sleek high-heeled boots, pumps and sandals, rings, and armloads of sculptural bangles.

Nancy Cunard
Photo: Man Ray

Anthony’s muse this season is the legendary fashion icon, shipping heiress, writer, and political activist Nancy Cunard, known for her armloads of bangles. In his show notes, the designer noted that she “dressed audaciously ahead of her time — giving a masculine wardrobe her own indelible imprint.” Indeed! This never gets old.

When I posted a few pictures of the show and Nancy on Instagram, the reaction was immediate. I think the strength and simplicity of the images resonate with many women who are hungry for chic!

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Marilyn Kirschner

I am a long time fashion editor with 40+ years of experience. As senior market of Harper's Bazaar for 21 years I met and worked with every major fashion designer in the world and covered all of the collections in Paris, London, Milan and New York. I was responsible for overall content, finding and pulling in the best clothes out there, and for formulating ideas and stories.

  1. Great article–I agree 100%! I fear we are in for the long haul when it comes to bad taste. Thank goodness there are still designers out there that refuse to go the way of this vile trend.

  2. Truth be told such a well written article.
    I do agree with you.
    Been a Fashion Veteran for many decades.

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