Viral moments are fashion’s most coveted currency (after, you know, actual currency). By now, designers understand that most of us consume fashion week content from our social media feeds, and that in order to cut through the digital clutter, you have to give the people something to talk about. And for Spring 2022 couture week, the conversation went in many different directions — from Chanel’s equine model to Schiaparelli’s gold-headed handbag and Viktor & Rolf’s Nosferatu-inspired wear.
Across all collections, this season’s haute couture found itself at the intersection of levity and austerity with a hint of futurism. See for yourself with our roundup of the most viral runway moments of couture week 2022.
Azzaro: The continued rise of couture for men
Thanks to the likes of Dolce & Gabbana, Raf Simons, Givenchy, and now Azzaro, men have finally been included in the couture conversation. In fact, one could argue that they have become the most exciting gender to watch on the red carpet, as seen at the VMA‘s and other star-studded events. The latest ornate offering from Azzaro is sure to make an appearance this upcoming award season, as we can totally picture Machine Gun Kelly in this metallic moment.
Chanel: There’s a horse on the runway
For its SS22 Couture collection, Chanel transformed its runway into a manège as brand ambassador Charlotte Casiraghi galloped down the catwalk. The equestrian, Monaco royal and granddaughter of Grace Kelly wore a Chanel jacket made of black tweed and sequins, paired with black jodhpurs and tall riding boots. In the front row, attendees witnessed the opening act from behind phone cameras, and so needless to say, the stunt sent social media ablaze. As for the horse? She’s an icon, she’s a legend and she is the moment.
Fendi: A wearable history lesson
For Fendi’s Spring 2022 Couture collection, creative director Kim Jones took a Roman holiday to the ancient city and brought back the most stylish of souvenirs with him. In case you missed one too many of your high school history classes, there’s no need to panic. The references to the Italian capital and its history are a little less than subtle while including a slight sci-fi twist— case in point: this dark and stormy dress, decorated with a painterly renaissance motif.
Jean Paul Gaultier: A texured trip through time
Let’s be honest, Y/Project artistic director Glen Martens put the haute in haute couture with his reinterpretation of a Jean Paul Gaultier collection. “For me, couture means pure beauty and elegance,” he said. “Looks that have no business being on the street.” And Martens definitely delivered on that mandate with 3D metal flowers, tailored pinstripe suits and Belle Époque fabrics, with references to Gothic statues and the styles of the Victorian and Medieval periods. A surreal collection, Martens’ runway artistry received plenty of praise across social media.
Schiaparelli: Off with their heads
No, I’m afraid this is not a joke. This decapitated gold-headed handbag is part of Schiaparelli’s sci-fi-inspired spring selection. Starting couture week 2022 off with a bang, creative director Daniel Roseberry sent an array of galactic heroines down the runway, complete with Saturn’s rings, sun-like symbols and nods to the brand’s 1930s heritage. While we have learned to expect the unexpected at this designer’s demonstrations, I don’t think anyone could’ve predicted a bejewelled brain. As it’s already been trending on social media, let the meme-games begin!
Valentino: Couture is for all ages, stages and sizes
Haute couture runways have historically been walked by a very specific type of model — white, perhaps gamine, and most certainly young. Valentino creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli hoped to challenge this notion in the Anatomy of Couture, “a show that removes constraint and crosses age, background and shape.” The designer told Vogue he specifically sought out 10 house models with different body types to create varying silhouettes. The result was a decidedly more progressive runway show fit for fashion’s body positivity push.
Viktor & Rolf: Necks are overrated
Coco Chanel once said, “Nothing goes out of fashion sooner than a long dress with a very low neck.” Perhaps, creative directors Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren took this quote a little too far for their Spring 2022 Couture collection, as models’ necks were entirely encased in fabric. Serving more Count Dracula than Edward Cullen, the inspiration behind the adorned assortment was actually the vampire from the 1922 silent film Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror, as an ode to people hiding from COVID and “going out into the world again but cautiously.”