Following the pandemic, the sky is the limit when it comes to runway shows.
From the most glamorous resort destinations and beautiful couture moments from Valentino to a culture-shaping, Instagram-viral Coperni show featuring Bella Hadid dressed by spraying Fabrican Spray-on fabric, WWD’s top 10 runway shows of 2022 display the megawatt experience that has emerged from the traditional industry-attending runway format.
WWD staff’s criteria show that it’s not just about the dazzling clothes, but also locations, showmanship, originality, clarity of purpose and vision, relevance, emotional impact and immersive experiences that expand far beyond showtime through social media’s wide reach, driven not only by the brands themselves but through influencer and celebrity partnerships.
From Bottega Veneta’s standout spring 2023 collection featuring Kate Moss clad in a leather plaid shirt and jeans to Rick Owens’ parvis of the Palais de Tokyo-set seductive spring spectacular, these runway shows ticked all the boxes with a distinct point of view.
Here, WWD’s top 10 women’s shows of 2022.
1. Bottega Veneta Spring 2023
“Matthieu Blazy’s sophomore collection was pure dynamite — a highlight of Milan Fashion Week,” reported WWD’s Miles Socha.
“Watching Matthieu Blazy’s sophomore show for Bottega Veneta, propped on a colorful chair by Italian design master Gaetano Pesce, was edge-of-your-seat exhilarating, one of the highlights of a Milan Fashion Week short on fashion fireworks. And it wasn’t because Kate Moss was back on the runway but because the clothes were pure dynamite: considered, luxurious, sophisticated and slyly inventive, always offering more than what the eye first perceived.”
2. Gucci Spring 2023
Alessandro Michele’s spring runway collection for Gucci — his latest, and last for the storied house as creative director — was reported by WWD’s Booth Moore as a “poignant statement about solidarity in a deeply divided time.”
“It was a gorgeous, and deeply introspective, moment for Michele,” Moore said of the show’s 68 pairs of model look-alikes — all of them actual real-life twins — that came together from opposite sides on the runway, joining hands for a final walk.
3. Louis Vuitton Cruise 2023
Nicholas Ghesquière was once again drawn to California to debut his Louis Vuitton resort collection in the plaza of the Salk Institute of Biological Studies overlooking the Pacific Ocean in La Jolla.
“Nature does put on a good show,” WWD’s Moore wrote. “Which is one reason why Nicolas Ghesquière was drawn to California once again to present his resort collection for the French fashion house. That and the dramatic Brutalist architecture of the research institute founded by vaccine pioneer Jonas Salk and designed by architect Louis Kahn. The mirror-image blocky concrete buildings with a trickling “River of Life” running through the center plaza, and out to the ocean beyond, made for a superbly scenic backdrop, which is really what resort shows are all about: the photo op.
“Ghesquière’s runway gestures were equally grand. The collection was inspired by the California landscape, desert nomads and surf rats, with his signature sci-fi cinematic touches right at home against the stark sunset vista.”
4. Loewe Spring 2023
“Jonathan Anderson settled on either shrunken or supersized silhouettes, and both were sensational,” Socha said of Anderson’s spring collection for Loewe.
“After a gripping Loewe men’s show in June that exalted nature and technology in tender and disquieting ways, here was another spectacle that made you think about both — and dazzled you with fashion fireworks.”
5. Valentino Spring 2022 Couture
“Pierpaolo Piccioli’s latest haute couture collection for Valentino, an haute experiment in dressing women with a variety of body frames, is sure to rouse interest among design students, diversity proponents — and anyone with more than a passing curiosity about why we find some bodies more beautiful than others,” Socha wrote.
“The Italian designer decided to break the couture tradition of fitting collections on a single-fit model and embrace a broader spectrum of humanity in terms of age and body shape. He relished the challenge of creating couture outfits that would best dignify and exalt the beauty of each individual, achieving the purpose of couture in the first place.”
6. Dior Cruise 2023
“On a day when religious processions snaked across Seville to mark the Feast of Corpus Christi, Maria Grazia Chiuri staged her own spectacle in the Andalusian city, taking over the vast Plaza de España with a fashion and flamenco show for Dior’s annual cruise collection,” reported WWD’s Joelle Diderich.
“Chiuri delivered one of her most accomplished collections to date, rife with desirable clothes and exceptional craftsmanship,” she added.
7. Rick Owens Spring 2023
“The designer seduced with a fountain, fog, gorgeous colors and frothy silhouetted,” Socha described of Rick Owens’ spring show.
“I’m saying there are different aesthetic options,” Owens explained backstage amid eco-tulle skirts so vast they stood on their own. “It’s a protest against conventional judgment. And this is what I have dedicated my life to.”
“And what a ravishing fashion protest it was,” Socha added.
8. Jil Sander Spring 2023
“Lucie and Luke Meier served up one of the highlights of the week with a charming collection that combined pragmatism and Hollywood glitz,” WWD’s Sandra Salibian wrote of Jil Sander’s coed spring collection.
“This was a display of fashion force, which exhibited the charm of the Meiers’ codes. Precision, a sense of ease and proportion, research into fabrics, crafty details and a unique color sensibility inform their approach.”
9. Chanel Cruise 2023
“Virginie Viard, creative director of the French luxury brand since [Karl] Lagerfeld’s death in 2019, set about writing the next chapter of the story with her cruise collection, which was equal parts homage to Princess Caroline [of Monaco], and tongue-in-cheek wink to the pop culture aura of the land that spawned a thousand Lagerfeld photo shoots,” wrote Diderich of Viard’s Chanel cruise show, which was set in Monaco and boasted a celebrity-filled audience (with the likes of Kristen Stewart, Tilda Swinton, G-Dragon, Sofia Coppola and Vanessa Paradis).
10. Coperni Spring 2023
“Technology and fashion have always been uneasy bedfellows, but if anyone can make science sexy, then it’s Coperni designers, who partnered with Manel Torres, the inventor of the Spray-on fabric, for the performance,” Diderich reported of the Coperni designer and married couple Arnaud Vaillant and Sébastien Meyer’s show-closing performance featuring a nearly naked Bella Hadid in “the world’s first live-action spray-on dress.”
“Beyond the ‘wow’ factor of watching Hadid walk down the runway in her instant dress, the show raised all kinds of fascinating questions about how technology will change the way we clothe ourselves not only in the virtual world, but IRL,” Diderich added.