Hat’s off

From balaclavas to gimp masks: we round up the best headgear of London Fashion Week FW22
Fashion | 24 February 2022
This article is part of Fashion Week – London, Milan, Paris, NYC

As storm Eunice swirled ’round the country, the designers of LFW were clinging onto their hats, sending models down the runway with extravagant headwear that elongated silhouettes and – in the case of Chet Lo – pricked the sky. Heads up, here we curate LFW’s best creations to plant on your noggin next season.

Daniel w. Fletcher‘s Rolling Stones-inspired silk wraps
Evoking Jagger & co on the album artwork for their 1973 record Goats Head Soup, in which David Bailey photographed the band enveloped by chiffon veils, Fletcher wrapped his models in silk organza sculptures created by London milliner Noel Stewart. Why the Stones? It was the first gig his dad took him to when he was just an eleven-year-old lad. Interpreted here, Stewart’s towering creations whirled upwards, like souls escaping the body, or Francis Bacon brushstrokes rising to the heavens.

Daniel w. Fletcher FW22 Look 30

Ahluwalia‘s furry hats
Drawing on the vibrant looks of Bollywood and Nollywood, Priya Ahluwalia went big, creating colourful, tactile hats that swooshed around models’ heads – brims worn low creating a sensual wink from each wearer.

Ahluwalia FW22 Look 13

Robyn Lynch‘s technical hoods
The Irish designer’s FW22 man emerged from an outdoors adventure, hiking to highest peaks with enviable ease. Dressing for such a trek, they wore technical sportswear toe to head; encasing their bonces in nylon hoods drawn tight and bandana knitwear that kept their ears warm and focus forward.

“The headwear designed for this collection took inspiration from the Winter Olympics, contrasted with a vibrant lad’s ski trip,” Lynch tells us. “The balaclavas were knitted in the same yarns used throughout the collection and dotted with little motifs of the outline of Ireland. These were both hand-beaded with glass tonal beads or embroidered with reflective tonal threads.

The second layer of headwear seen throughout the collection was a detachable hood made from woven fabrics, these had an adjustable drawstring around the face to scrunch it in and another at the back of the head to keep it in place, even on the windiest of days. All headpieces were finished with an embroidery logo in a reflective thread on the back of the necks. A thing to notice on the models who were not wearing headwear this season; we took inspiration from helmet hair, as if the headwear had just been pulled off after a long day on the slopes.”

Backstage at Robyn Lynch FW22
Photography by Harry Clark

Chet Lo‘s otherworldly ear warmers
Like aquatic aliens from a planet near you, Chet Lo’s women were prickly deities that floated through the designer’s FW22 space. Newly landed on Earth, their first thoughts were obviously: “Damn, it’s cold” and “Where’s the nearest rave?” Cue those oversized, bubblegum-hued ear warmers that hug onto the side of your head like spikey iced gems.

Chet Lo FW22 Look 05

Connor Ives‘ 90s nostalgia
A mash-up of Y2K fashion moments, Ives’ FW22 collection plucked iconic moments such as from shows like The Sopranos and America’s Next Top Model, and distinctive adolescent archetypes – the high school VSCO girl, the gap yah girl. But it all kicked off with the below look inspired by Andrea Sachs’ (played by Anne Hathaway) fashun moment in The Devil Wears Prada, mixed with some swingin’ Twiggy nods: warped patterns and a totally groovy baker boy cap. Yeah, baby.

On the look, Ives said via Instagram: “This look was dedicated to all of my vogue girls who have nurtured and influenced me over the years. Executes a hat to match her coat perfectly. A New York Career woman; willing to do whatever she may have to to get ahead.”

Conner Ives FW22 Look 1

Westwood‘s military crowns
It’s the Year of the Tiger and Vivienne Westwood roars louder than most. This season her deviant designs included a tartan cap cloaked in scarlet red fabric that wrapped the body like a soldier’s sash.

Vivienne Westwood FW22

Matty Bovan‘s knitted helmets
The British designer described his FW22 world as a “fever dream landscape.” Riffing on American pop culture and consumer culture, looks were multi-layered mash-ups of blankets, swirls, gemstones, flags, ripped up billboards. A minority of looks were topped with a handknitted helmet – arming us for the capitalist onslaught.

Matty Bovan FW22 Look 19

S.S. Daley‘s romantic Sou’wester
Headgear tied everything together at S.S. Daley – his exploration into the British stately home was cemented when the checked baker boy caps came dancing down the runway recalling ye oldy days in the fields. But it was a floral Sou’wester that really stole the show, in a classical Daley print with trousers to match it made for a romantic reimagining of Paddington Bear’s go-to accessory. 

S.S. Daley FW22 Look 13

Richard Quinn‘s superhero style floppy hats
If the powder pink carpeted cube at Richard Quinn’s FW22 show wasn’t enough of a statement, his headgear certainly was. Ranging from cocooning hoods to gimp masks, Quinn left no stone unturned in his ode to the extravagance of golden-age Parisian haute couture. Our favourite? A series of exaggerated floppy hats with sweeping brims and eye cutouts reminiscent of Catwoman’s mask (or Allo Allo‘s British soldiers hiding in plain sight) crafted in the same fabric as their looks, a one-stop-shop of vibrant floral.

Richard Quinn FW22

Simone Rocha‘s balaclava chic
The humble balaclava received a glamorous makeover courtesy of Simone Rocha’s Child of Lir inspired collection. Elevated with crystal embellishment framing the face like an ornate mirror – paired with Rocha’s voluptuous white cotton ruffles, a knitted balaclava has never looked so chic.

Simone Rocha FW22

James Walsh’s head-set for the jet-set
The premise of James Walsh’s Central Saint Martins MA graduate collection was simple: make miscellaneous objects into clothes. And so a deck of cards becomes a tactile mini-dress, complete with a heart-motif thigh garter, red latex gloves swell up into bulbous forms that mimick the red comb/mohawk of a chicken’s head, and purple hats literally hatch from the face. It’s a show-stopping model-plane look that caught our attention, forming a make-shift onesie with its thick wings and a working red propellor. As any rapper from the late nineties would say, that’s pretty fly

James Walsh CSM Graduate Collection

Sports Banger’s floral fancy
North-London’s bootleg titan pulled out all the bells and whistles for his momentous return to LFW. Showing off-schedule in his new studio space, with a blistering mix of tunes courtesy of Heras Records (the designer’s own music imprint) signee Klose One, Jonny Banger fashioned up a league of extraordinary fits from inflatable tubes, gowns from construction signs acquired via a request on Instagram Stories, and a particularly camp headdress comprised solely of imitation Chanel toilet seat covers. Chanel No.5? More like Chanel No.2.

Sports Banger FW22
photography by Ollie Grove

It’s no face, no case with Noki’s bold balaclava’s
Chaos is practically Noki’s middle name, if the mononymous designer had one we knew about anyway. With an affinity for unruly deconstruction, the designer decimates branded snapbacks and cuts eye-holes straight out of Sesame Street toddler-tees in his latest collection held at South-East London venue, Ormside Projects. Giving a finger (and a facelift) to logomania, his bonkers balaclavas are quite literally the apocalypse’s answer to high-fashion.

Photography by Freddie Talbot

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