This pre-fall season is the smallest we’ve covered on Vogue Runway in nearly a decade, with around 100 women’s and men’s collections in total. In the past, our pre-fall coverage has taken our critics around the globe. With Omicron spiking this year, some brands are trying to make the best of a difficult situation; others are on taking the season off. The independent Milan designer Marco Zanini said, “sometimes to carry on with reckless stubbornness is not as smart, wise, or brave as to pause and think.”

Even in the best of times, pre-fall has traditionally been a stop-gap season, one that’s more about selling than new ideas. But after two years of pandemic, even the idea of selling clothing has become abstract. At this point, what do shoppers want or even need? The suggestions here revolve around the notion of a useful, simple beauty. Warm textures, sunshine colors, and lots of sexy, essential black clothing are the season’s major storylines, with a bit of kitsch and fun coming in via the continued Y2K revival—now for the boys!—and a renewed interest in deconstructed denim and strange layering.

If the past is anything to go on, these clothes will become the backbone of our springtime and summertime wardrobes, accented by the sure to be big, crazy, and eccentric ideas on the fall 2022 catwalks next month.

Demented Denim

The denim revival is going strong this season, with brands like Diesel, Balenciaga, and R13 blowing up jeans to new proportions. Others, like Louis Vuitton menswear and MM6 Maison Margiela are rethinking denim completely, using trompe l’oeil techniques to evoke the structure of denim on cozier fabrics.

Slice It Up

If LVMH Prize winner Nensi Dojaka pioneered the hot girl LBD, it’s getting new life in the hands of Donatella Versace, Kim Jones, and Olivier Rousteing.  Et Ochs’s Michele Ochs has another idea: the hot girl jumpsuit.

Add Puff and Fluff

Fuzzy and fluffy textures are big news for pre-fall. Jil Sander and Proenza Schouler are incorporating them into trousers and slip dresses, while Christopher John Rogers and Gucci produced show-stopping dresses and coats that puff out beyond three dimensions.

Y2K for the Boys

Aughts nostalgia has reached a fever pitch in womenswear. Now, thanks to Kim Jones at Dior Men and Demna at Balenciaga, guys are getting in on the action too, with low-rise jeans, skater chains, oversize jerseys, and even sexy little cardigans. Well, boys, do you dare?

Taste the Rainbow

Color theorists have proven that a bright outfit can actually brighten your mood. While you can always count on Moschino and Christopher John Rogers to bring the color, Tory Burch is getting in on the act too with a sunny madras that can elevate your vibes to a new high.

A Touch of Tweed

The two-piece suits we’ve seen of late have been replaced by great tweed jackets paired with loose skirts or leather trousers for pre-fall. Think of it as the working-woman’s alternative to a hoodie—cozy as a knit but polished enough for a trip to Paris.

A Knotty Look for Zoom or Parties

Portrait necklaces and collarbone detailing were trending in 2020—any detail visible on a Zoom call was essential. Now, designers like Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen at The Row and Maria Cornejo are finding twisted new ways to bring volume and elegance into a video call frame (and real life!) with knotted and draped silhouettes.

Trust in Plaid

Some things are certain: death, taxes, and the eternal appeal of plaid. The pre-fall collections offer a bevy of punk, prep, and polished plaid prints from Dior, Roberto Cavalli, and Jil Sander that can be worn countless different ways.

And Just Like That…A Retro Ball Skirt Is Back

It might be hard to imagine black tie events coming back—especially with the Grammy Awards just put on indefinite pause—but whenever the red carpet is rolled out again, expect to see full-skirted silhouettes that evoke ’50s glamour like these numbers from Erdem, Prabal Gurung, and Oscar de la Renta.

Jacket, Shirt, Skirt, Pants…Wear ’Em All at Once!

Skirts for men? That’s old hat. The new look is less about a skirt than what else you wear with it. Louis Vuitton, Balmain, Roberto Cavalli, and Thom Browne have all layered up four—or more—garments into their menswear looks for a longline silhouette with a quirky feel.