By Amanda Eberstein
After two years of more understated, casual dressing and the emergence of the “work from home” uniform, the suit is officially back. The phenomenon was on full display during the recent Spring/Summer 2022 womenswear presentations, when nearly every major fashion house sent a dizzying array down the runway, varying dramatically in style, shape and color, from traditional two-pieces to mini skirt ensembles to bold technicolored looks. “People are wanting to get dressed again, and there is something cool about suiting that feels very of the moment,” says celebrity stylist Micaela Erlanger, whose clients include A-listers Meryl Streep, Lupita Nyong’o and Diane Kruger. However, this does not signify a return to traditional office dressing. “I don’t think it’s for work at all,” Erlanger says. “The suit is more versatile and accessible outside of the workplace, and versatile and accessible outside of the workplace, and we are seeing it styled in so many interesting ways.”
For day, designers are offering relaxed options that lend themselves easily to resort or warm-weather life. Take, for example, Chloé, where creative director Gabriela Hearst presented a lemon-yellow silk crepe suit paired with chunky black neoprene sandals, as well as a belted ensemble in organic linen corduroy. Stella McCartney, meanwhile, matched a lightweight twill blazer with voluminous drawstring trousers in powder blue, while Akris also chose blue to highlight another big trend for spring: the vest suit, a more tailored pick that can easily transition from day into night.
“Women are eager to feel empowered and in charge as we return to a new normal post-pandemic,” says British stylist Danyul Brown. “Designers are on board with this and giving them the goods to do so.” Erlanger cites looks from the ‘80s, ‘90s and 2000s as this season’s major inspirations. “This melding of influences lends itself to that stronger, menswear-inspired look,” she says.
The ‘80s power suit was prominent at Alexander McQueen, which featured everything from a black double-breasted tailored coat with statement-making puffed sleeves to a more subdued option in grey checked wool to a deconstructed white blazer with slashed shoulders and waist. But perhaps the buzziest option was a boxy Barbie-pink wool version worn by fashion darling Zendaya to an appearance in December, which delicately towed the line between masculine and feminine, creating a look that was slightly androgynous and utterly cool.
Bright colors could also be found on the runway at Chanel, which channeled the supermodel heyday of the ‘90s with blazers and itty bitty mini-skirts in purple checked and neon yellow cotton tweed. And Versace paid tribute to its iconic safety pin dress—made famous by Elizabeth Hurley in 1994—with a variety of black blazers and suits fastened with oversized rainbow-hued safety pins (a lime green leather mini skirt version also turned heads).
And for those not quite ready to give up pajama dressing at night, look no further than Fendi, where luxe silk blazers and trousers were paired with seductive bra tops, or Dolce & Gabbana, which mirrored Y2K pop stars with a black silk two-piece tuxedo draped over crystal-encrusted lingerie. The eye-catching look was worn by Jennifer Lopez to the 2021 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, proving that—just like the singer—some things only get better with age.
Brunello Cucinelli look styled by Sofia Daguano; hair and makeup by Red Market Salon.