If art mimics life, so do textiles. And if life has been colored by COVID-19, so, too, has the fabric of our beings and our clothing.
“Everybody wants to have more joy in the clothing, I think that’s what it’s all about. It’s beautiful, easy shapes, it’s beautiful color. If it’s a print, it’s gorgeous florals, it’s super appealing plaids and ginghams, everything is very happy. We’re trying to be happy,” said Sharon Graubard, founder and creative director of trend forecasting firm MintModa. “One thing that’s super key this season is movement. We’ve all been at home, we’ve all been in sweats or in loose house dresses or jumpsuits, onesie — it’s all about movement. So as we go back into the world, it doesn’t have to be sweats, it doesn’t have to be that casual but we want to move, so the fabrics reflect that.”
Skin Flattering Nudes
Nudes will be key for spring and the definition of what hues constitute nude is expanding just as it has in cosmetics. And, as Graubard said, these shades will be “great for jerseys” — particularly skin-friendly, comforting jerseys that are airy, light and showing up in new textures like fine-ribbed, dry-handed and modal blends. The hues will also feature in silks and knits.
“We’re still interested in expanding that nude range. If you think of Rihanna’s [50 shades of Fenty foundation], we’re seeing that more in fabric and garments, even in footwear,” she said. “I call it cosmetic shades because it doesn’t have to match you…it’s skin-flattering. Skin-flattering nudes are a big thing and great for jerseys.”
Not Pastels, but Tints
While pastels come with the sweet connotation, spring 2022’s pales will be more elevated than that, according to Graubard.
“It’s not like a pack of Necco candy, they’re very water color kinds of tints…we’re going to see a lot of those,” she said. Think Rodarte’s spring 2022 finale and the flutter-sleeve slinky dress sent out on repeat in varying shades of pale. “It was pure white and then cream and then a slightly darker cream and then a tint of lilac, a tint of pink, a tint of yellow — each one was a different very, very light tint and it was so moving, it was so pure, it was almost goddess-like.”
Here Come the (almost) Highlighter Colors
Along with the pale shades, expect to see Day-Glo colors softened with white.
“Almost like neon or Day-Glo, like a Day-Glo yellow but it’s whitened so it looks like white was added to it if it was a paint,” Graubard said. “So super, super pale Day-Glo yellow, super pale Day-Glo pink, it’s like a yellowy green, almost a highlighter chartreuse, but it has that little bit of almost fluorescent to the color, so those are really used almost all over but also as accents.”
‘We’re Still in Love With Pink’
Though pink has made its presence felt on recent years’ runways, the color isn’t going anywhere soon.
“Pink is like a fetish object. I mean, you can’t get enough of it. And it’s bright pink, it’s pale pink, it’s flower pink — I saw one of the reviews refer to somebody’s [design] as Pepto pink,” Graubard said, adding that it’s part of fashion colors getting closer to cosmetic shades. “There’s also a lot of super-shocking pink, but I’m calling it ‘activism pink’ because a lot of the feminist groups have taken to wearing pink pantsuits. So pink is no longer like a mother-of-the-bride color, it’s gotten like this political outspoken [slant] maybe it’s weaponized femininity, everything…is being repositioned as far as its meaning goes. And the pinks also look really great on satins and lustrous fabrics because that adds depth and intensity to the pink.”
British actress Carey Mulligan was case in point with her Valentino look at the Met Gala last week.
‘The Beautification of Beige’
Beige hasn’t typically been known for its beauty, but spring 2022 might change that.
“I’m calling it the beautification of beige,” Graubard said. “There’s a lot of beige and naturals and wonderful creamy beige tones and tan that look very good. I would say more than gray, it’s more of those beige, natural, muslin kind of tones, khaki.”
Jewel-toned Glitter and Glimmer
Glitter, it seems, may be the antidote to the drab days of staying in place.
Tom Ford, for one, put the glitter, glimmer and shimmer of textiles front and center for spring 2022 in various jewel-toned hues.
“Tom Ford did casual silhouettes that were all glittery…he did super glittery knits, glimmer, glitter, satin, even gold and silver. It’s not for evening, it’s for day. It’s not expressing glitz, it’s more expressing joy and freedom, so that glimmer is super important,” Graubard said. “Tom Ford did this in jewel tones, which is another thing that used to be considered very missy and not very forward, but the jewel tones are kind of repositioned to look fresh and hip, especially for spring because they’re darker than a normal bright, they’re more saturated.”
Another thing following the trend of cosmetic-like colors and effects, according to Graubard, are mesh, tulle and sheer-stocking mesh with sparkle and shimmer. “It’s almost like a body cosmetic,” she said.
David Hockney Swimming Pool Aqua
Maybe it’s the daydreaming of Caribbean seas or actually escaping to them as the lockdown emergence getaway of choice, but aqua is securing its spot in the coming season’s textiles.
“Teal and aqua are emerging — I believe aqua is a new color this season,” Graubard said. “It’s always there, but [now it’s] like David Hockney swimming pool aqua blue.”
The crisp white shirt is the staple with staying power — it even found its way onto the red carpet with Alicia Keys’ custom AZ Factory look for the Met Gala.
“I think it’s part of the movement toward woven,” Graubard said. It’s people’s way of moving away, however slightly, from the unstructured sweatpant. “Definitely the white shirt, bigger shirts, easy shirts are a big thing — the white shirt in new ways,” which Adam Lippes featured in his spring 2022 collection.
Cotton textiles will be king for the crisp white look, whether sheer or cotton voile.
Tie Dye, Shibori and Craft
Tie-dye has been a pandemic staple and instead of letting the look fade, it’s finding new life in knits.
Turning to craft collectives, designers like Joseph Altuzarra refreshed tie-dye and shibori for the season by creating it on knits and silks.
“Craft is a big thing, whether it’s shibori, tie-dye — there’s a new thing going on called flower bundling [where] they make bundles of flowers and then wrap fabric around it and the flowers actually imprint themselves on the fabric,” Graubard said, adding that natural dyes are “huge this season and it’s affecting color.”
“We’re seeing a lot of the vegetal on the deeper end of things, the indigos, kind of beet root colors, greens — greens are a big story, dark greens, vegetal greens, that’s a big thing. Even golds like saffron kind of colors and then flower colors, very delicate kind of petal colors…but these are a little more muted.”
Ginghams, Plaids, Stripes and Engineered Knits
Outside of just color, Graubard said engineered knits à la Phillip Lim, macramé in keeping with the craft movement, terry, summer tweeds, “nubbly” bouclés, plaids in light colors and striped shirting will be key for textiles in spring 2022.