Is Raf Simons putting enough effort into his own brand, or is it all going into Prada? After winning the 2021 LVMH Prize, what will Nensi Dojaka's first standalone collection look like? Will brands be returning to the catwalk, or will they continue to make fashion films? All these questions and more will be answered in SHOWstudio's S/S 22 panel discussions over the following month, during London, Milan and Paris Fashion Week. Read on to discover your ultimate guide for fashion month – all brands listed below will be discussed and debated in our panels over the following weeks.
LONDON FASHION WEEK
An image from Saul Nash's previous A/W 21 collection became the de facto emblem of fashion film during the pandemic: two men sharing a kiss, dressed to the nines in colourful sportswear. 'I wanted to look at preconceived assumptions about men of my generation, how we are perceived and who we really are,' said the British menswear designer and LVMH Prize 2021 semi-finalist. Twist was short, surprising and hot – this season, the London-born dancer and designer will put on a physical show – let's hope it feels just as novel.
Nensi Dojaka's life changed forever earlier this month. As the winner of the 2021 LVMH Prize (Dojaka will receive a hefty €300,000 grant and a year-long mentorship), the Albanian, London-based designer's spindly, asymmetric lingerie is set for superstardom. Already worn by the likes of celebrities including Rihanna, Adwoa Aboah, Emma Corrin, Bella Hadid and Iris Law, Dojaka's designs first caught Lulu Kennedy's eye back in 2019. Dojaka showed with Fashion East for the past three seasons, but for S/S 22 she will put on her first ever standalone, runway show.
This season, Lulu Kennedy's British talent incubator Fashion East has a newcomer: Chet Lo. The Chinese-American designer is sure to inject a sci-fi edge to the buzzy show, with her futuristic, alien-esque designs. Showing alongside Maximilian Davis, GOOMHEO, Jawara Alleyne and HRH, after two digital seasons Fashion East is returning to the runway. Fittingly, the show will take place at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) – a London hub of artistic and cultural activity, located on The Mall opposite St James's Park.
Known for their functional, military-inspired outerwear, C.P. Company is celebrating their 50th anniversary this year. Chances are you've seen their iconic jackets with googles sewn into the hood on the likes of Rejjie Snow, Slowthai and Skepta. It makes perfect sense that the brand is a hit with British rappers – C.P. Company was founded by the man behind one of Drake's favourite brands: Stone Island, courtesy of Massimo Osti.
MILAN FASHION WEEK
When husband-and-wife designers Lucie and Luke Meier became creative directors of Jil Sander in 2017, the fashion world was not ready for their minimalist, understated brand of laidback cool. Previous to their appointment at the much-loved German label, Luke worked as design director of Supreme for eight years, while Lucie did stints at Louis Vuitton, Balenciaga and Christian Dior. Chances are the fashion power couple will put on a subtle, expertly crafted runway show when they arrive in Milan.
Versace had quite the moment at the Met Gala this year – Lil Nas X wore three gold custom Versace looks, gradually shedding layers as he walked up the red steps to reveal a bedazzled bodysuit and some seriously provocative posing. Following that iconic J-Lo S/S 20 jungle dress runway moment (we are not worthy!), let's hope Donatella brings out another surprise guest this time around.
Marni artistically excelled during the pandemic; for S/S 21, creative director Francesco Risso and Babak Radboy created a compelling, long form fashion-film-cum-documentary called Marnifesto. 'There was something really magic happening in terms of process,' said Radboy in an interview with features editor Hetty Mahlich at the time. 'I wanted to take that crazy, human, risky magic- that was essentially a social process-and make it the way they (Marni) do everything.' Here's to hoping their S/S 22 show will be just as magical, too.
PARIS FASHION WEEK
This season, Matthew Williams will put on his first ever runway show for Givenchy. Having held the post of creative director for just over a year now, alongside ongoing work at his own brand 1017 ALYX 9SM, Williams has dressed Playboi Carti, The Weeknd, Kim Kardashian, Travis Scott and many more in his slick, darkly glamorous designs for the French luxury house. And having just dressed Kendall Jenner and Finneas in Givenchy for the 2021 Met Gala, it's likely Williams will pull out all the stops for his S/S 22 show – after all, he does have the budget for it.
Olivier Rousteing has held the position of creative director at Balmain for just over 10 years now – is it time for him to go? Do we really need anymore of those baroque-looking gold embroidered jackets in 2021? In a surprising move, the French luxury house partnered with Channel 4 to create a sponsored drama series called Fracture, where the entire cast will be dressed in each of Balmain's A/W 21 designs. As fashion film becomes more in vogue, perhaps a whole TV show with teenagers makes more sense than ever, but Channel 4? Random.
American actress Margaret Qualley wowed in white at Chanel's A/W 21 haute couture show, but Kristen Stewart's recent appearances on the red carpet to promote Spencer have received much less favourable reviews. As usual, this season we can expect a pitch-perfect spectacle from Chanel, courtesy of Virginie Viard, Karl Lagerfeld's protégé.
Is Raf putting in too much effort at Prada, and not enough at his own label? Simons' shows during the pandemic have felt underwhelming, while on the contrary, his shows alongside Miuccia Prada have felt ecstatic and fresh. With Raf womenswear having only made it's debut last year, let's hope he amps it up this time.