The Fashions That Defined The Look of 2022

The Fashions That Defined The Look of 2022

If last year's biggest It-items had TikTok, resellers and the ongoing early aughts revival to thank, 2022's most popular fashion pieces felt more in line with the trickle-down effect we're used to seeing: straight from the designers' runways themselves.

With a single collection, Valentino and Miu Miu created an entire discourse around ubiquity, virality and perception. Speaking of going viral, Coperni and JW Anderson leaned into the impractical and unconventional with some seriously off-kilter bags.

Of course, not all fashion It-items have a year-long shelf-life. Things like Mugler's sheer bodysuits and Telfar's totes still hold considerable staying power. Yet some buzzy fashion items or trends aren't meant to last, as Gap's Yeezy collab demonstrated this year.

Shocker: Celebs are still one of the biggest drivers of fashion virality, from street style shots (most of which celebs arrange in advance) to the traditional red carpet. Combined with everyone's insatiable appetite for novelty and newness, 2022 showed that the overarching fashion mood continues to be one of organized chaos.

Below, a look back at the fashions that defined the way we dressed in 2022.

The Jean Paul Gaultier Dot Print

​The resurgence of Jean Paul Gaultier's ubiquitous dot prints, taken from the designer's landmark "Cyberbaba" show in 1996, was visible to virtually anyone who attended a fashion party this year. They were everywhere at Kendall Jenner's FWRD Jean Paul Gaultier launch event and the brand's parties during Paris Fashion Week. The company pivoted to releasing collections online based on its many archives, including the "body" print from that same 1996 collection that's also been blowing up lately.

Luar's Ana Bag

​New York-based label Luar had a hit bag on his hands the moment the "Ana" style debuted on the runway for Spring 2022, which subsequently worn by Troye Sivan at the Met Gala that September and Dua Lipa shortly after. Since then, the buzzy accessory, with its sturdy round top handles, compact frame and O'ring metal detail, has been a hit with Brooklyn club kids and fashion insiders alike. It's partly what helped Luar's creative director Raul Lopez win Accessories Designer of the Year for the first time at the 2022 CFDA Awards.

The Miu Miu Midriff

All anyone in fashion could talk about at the beginning of the year was that Spring 2022 Miu Miu collection, which landed on dozens of magazine covers (the most viral being Nicole Kidman for Vanity Fair) and spawned countless memes, Twitter threads, Halloween costumes, think-pieces and even an Instagram account called Miu Miu Set. Suddenly, it was all about the bare midriff and torso again, done in the way of Miuccia Prada's slightly naughty schoolgirl uniform. And stores couldn't keep the belted skirts in stock, indicating that this was no short-lived fashion bubble.

Valentino's Pink PP Collection

The color that launched a thousand eye-rolls this year. It was inevitable that Valentino's Pink PP collection would reach peak fashion fatigue with observers, as countless tweets and several of my group chats can attest. Still, that doesn't diminish the impact this collection had on fashion and what it says about branding and recognition. TheNew York Times' Vanessa Friedman put it best when she wrote that the color made her feel "kind of nauseous" but that in retrospect it was a brilliant strategy from Valentino in that when celebrities wore it, they "erased themselves and made the viewer think: Valentino!"

The Diesel Belt-Skirt

Diesel's turnaround efforts really took shape in 2022, when it moved away from its premium jean mall association into full-on sexy and high-fashion thanks to new creative director (and Y-Project designer) Glenn Martens. One of his most popular pieces was the leather Belt-Skirt, which debuted around the same time the micro-mini skirt trend started to take effect. A TikTok post went viral after the user claimed to have spent $1,000 on the skirt which she couldn't even sit down in.

JW Anderson's Pigeon Clutch

First seen on JW Anderson's child-like Fall 2022 menswear show, which was all about embracing silliness and strangeness, the $890 Pigeon clutch took off thanks to its impracticality and novelty. The bag, which sold out quickly (though you can still preorder it for February), reached peak hysteria after Sarah Jessica Parker's character — known for her taste in quirky accessories — wore it while filming And Just Like That. It's arguably the pinnacle of what was a truly bizarre season for handbags, Balenciaga's trash bag and Coperni's glass bag included.

Gas Station Sunglasses

After years of everyone fawning over the same teeny micro sunglasses, 2022 fully embraced the opposite: giant, oversized styles in all their wrap-around, bug-eyed glory. Writer Laura Reilly declared that she only wants to wear "gas station sunglasses" this year — the ones with heavy reflected lenses Oakley would make a ton of but which the casual shopper could find at their local gas station. Balenciaga's moth-eyed acetate frames debuted in March, and Bottega Veneta and Versace sent their own versions down the runway. But owning the real thing is the real way to do it.

Wacky, Surreal Shoes

It feels like ever since Loewe introduced heels in the shape of soap, nail polish and broken eggs, footwear truly entered its hyper-surrealism era. Thank god for Jonathan Anderson for continuing in that vein this year — the balloon shoes are some of the most bizarre yet fun works of art I've ever seen on a pair of shoes. Pieter Mulier made heels in the shape of crossed legs at Alaïa and Daniel Roseberry continues to work his surrealism magic at Schiaparelli with shoes that celebrate toes.

The White Tank

The humble tank top enjoyed a renaissance this year with numerous versions on the runway, most notably Prada's Fall 2022 show which made the plain ribbed garment the star of its collection, affixed with nothing but its signature triangle logo. The first look of Bottega Veneta's first show under Matthieu Blazy showed blue jeans and a white tank (though it was all made from leather). Julia Fox filmed some DIY tank top hacks on TikTok and Justin Bieber wore one under his Balenciaga suit at the Grammys. And designers like Kingsley are finding new ways to cut, slice and fit one to make it of-the-moment and utterly sexy.

Photos via Getty