The dates for Hollywood’s highest honors may have shifted this year, but awards season anticipation still remains high among both filmgoers and fashion lovers. With Oscar nominations announced, the Grammys set for April, and a slew of other cinema and music events on the horizon, expect to see a surge in show-stopping red carpet fashion, whether the ceremonies are conducted in person or in a virtual format.
And while 2022’s reimagined calendar may be keeping everyone on their toes, it also presents an opportunity for celebrities and their glam squad teams to think outside the box. Established luxury houses will be sure to make their presence felt during the many major events that will occur in the coming weeks, but there’s a wealth of fresh talent whose creations deserve the spotlight. Young designers have been enlivening celebrity wardrobes during their off-duty and Instagram moments—and now, they’re ready for their closeup.
Below, find 17 labels that are more than ready to reshape the red carpet in 2022, and in doing so, help to create a more diverse, glamorous, and most of all exciting awards season.
One of London fashion’s brightest young stars, Maximilian Davis already has plenty of standout red carpet looks to his name. Back in June, the striking black and red gown he made for Michaela Coel turned heads at the BAFTAs thanks to its minimalist design and daring backless silhouette, while Dua Lipa opted for one of his dresses at the British Fashion Awards in November, describing him as one of her “favorite young British designers.” With clothes that celebrate Black excellence, his Trinidadian roots, and the innate beauty of the human form, Davis’ label will be sure to continue garnering attention from celebrities this awards season.
Vietnamese-American designer Bach Mai has an illustrious fashion pedigree. A graduate of Parsons and Institut Français de la Mode, he honed his skills at Oscar de La Renta and Maison Margiela before debuting his eponymous line in 2021. Mai’s expertise in couture is evidenced in his dresses, which merge old-world techniques with a modern sensibility. Each gown he creates is exquisite. Whether your favourite is a slinky bias-cut look in velvet with the texture of liquid metal or a sculptural halter dress with a voluminous skirt, there’s no denying that his creations captivate. Early adopter Tessa Thompson wore several of his designs during her press tour for Passing—here’s hoping it will inspire her peers, too.
There’s a reason Edvin Thompson took home the CFDA’s American Emerging Designer of the Year award in 2021. The Jamaican-born designer’s pieces have a bombastic energy that comes through on his runway, but equally so when celebrities wear them. His spring 2022 collection paid homage to his Afro-Caribbean roots by reimagining Rastafari iconography. At the Met gala, Thompson’s versatility was on display thanks to the regal embellished white suit he created for model Alton Mason and the fiery fringed number he whipped up for sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson. Both looks were imaginative and appropriately over the top, bringing the kind of excitement the red carpet needs more of.
Any designer who gets the Jennifer Lopez seal of approval has done something right, and the 25-year-old London-based designer Grace Ling has already earned a place in the superstar’s repertoire of sexy performance looks. When Lopez took the stage on The Tonight Show last week, she wore a custom cropped leather blazer, bralette, and draped skirt all designed by Ling. Lopez’s dream team of stylists, Mariel Haenn and Rob Zangardi, think highly of the Singapore-born designer’s wares. Still, exposure on the nation’s most popular late-night program—plus buzzy Instagram account Up Next Designer—should put her on every stylist’s radar.
In her graduate collection, titled “Wetness,” Greek designer Dimitra Petsa both mastered and reinvented the wet-look dress. Since then, her ability to make fabric seem both dripping and plastered to the body has won over fans as wide-ranging as Candice Swanepoel, Lizzo, and Gigi Hadid, who wore a Di Petsa dress for a pregnancy photoshoot. Initially entering Central Saint Martins to study performance art, Petsa is unafraid to approach subjects that others designers might consider taboo. Her “Wetness” collection, for example, centered feminine moisture and bodily fluids in an attempt to rebuke societal control over women’s bodies. The resulting pieces are as powerful as they are visually pleasing—yet another reason why the most fearless stars have embraced them.
Gen Z couturier Sohee Park creates sartorial works of art that respect the environment. The 25-year-old designer’s commitment to sustainability sees her regularly utilize deadstock and recycled materials within her ethereal collections. A Central Saint Martins grad, Park was behind one of 2021’s most exciting red carpet moments when Gemma Chan wore her handmade creations to the London premiere of Eternals in October. The piece nodded to the celestial superhero Chan portrayed onscreen with a crystallized crop top and a dramatic hood. The look immediately went viral, with the internet buzz serving as a testament to Park’s epic talent.
At just 20 years old, Georgios Trochopoulos has become a staple amongst pop’s biggest names, with Miley Cyrus and Dua Lipa wearing his unique striped knits, which curve around the body in skin-revealing swirls while leaving just enough to the imagination. Stripes are an eternal fashion staple, but Trochopoulos’s texture and transparency add a new verve. After the success of his viral party dresses, it’s only a matter of time before he makes his way onto the red carpet.
Having already made his way into the Metropolitan Museum of Art with his Central Saint Martins graduation collection, “American Dream,” Conner Ives is continuing to make history. The 26-year-old may be based in London, but the optimism and ingenuity of his sustainably crafted designs are all American. Adept at remixing vintage materials into new ideas, Ives has added zest to the wardrobes of fashion forward-thinkers like Rihanna, Adwoa Aboah, and Natalia Bryant, so it’s only a matter of time before the rest of Hollywood catches on.
Angelina Jolie made a welcome return to the red carpet in 2022, and in the process, she introduced Hollywood to the work of Harith Hashim. In October, the Beirut-based designer created Jolie’s look for Variety’s Power of Women Gala, an elegant tiered silk plissé gown in a rich coffee shade. The romanticism of Hashim’s designs has made him a finalist for Fashion Trust Arabia’s 2021 prize—and the perfect person to outfit Tinseltown’s ingenues.
Lavie by CK
Lavie by CK designer Claude Kameni’s stunning West African prints are as sumptuous as they are eye-catching, making them perfect for awards season. In March of 2021, Viola Davis stunned at the Golden Globes in a custom off-the-shoulder gown by Kameni and a coordinating necklace from Pomelatto. Equally arresting was the blue and orange patterned number Laverne Cox wore to host Essence’s Black Women in Hollywood awards in April. Her use of traditional motifs is a hallmark of her work, but the rising star designer is also adept at creating dramatic silhouettes—no one does a mermaid hem quite like Kameni.
Nensi Dojaka’s dresses are not for the faint of heart. It takes confidence to pull off one of the Albania-born designer’s sheer, skin-baring gowns, but thankfully, there’s no shortage of bold celebrities eager to wear them. Law Roach collaborated with Dojoka on a sleek beige number with a heart cutout for Zendaya to wear at Dune’s London premiere in October. Since then, stars like Dua Lipa, Jourdan Dunn, and Emily Ratajakowski have put their spin on Dojaka’s sultry designs, making her one of the buzziest new additions to Hollywood’s red carpet repertoire.
Robert Wun has been quietly dazzling fashion insiders since the launch of his eponymous label in 2014, but he’s currently having a major moment. Already worn by Naomi Campbell, Billy Porter, and Blackpink’s Lisa, Wun’s compelling “Armor” collection would make waves on Oscar night. Thrillingly original, the designs created by the Hong Kong-born, London-based Wun stand out from the fray. Where some would channel futurism by referencing the starkness of sci-fi, his dresses—with their rainbow colors and plentiful pleats—reflect a more exuberant path forward.
Jackson Wiederhoeft’s collections offer a dreamy sense of escape. The Thom Browne alum understands the importance of fantasy, and each piece he creates is guaranteed to transport the wearer into his unique world of ethereal beauty. Capable of going soft and delicate—his atypical take on bridal wear is stunning—or hard-edged, he’s decked Lady Gaga out for music videos and given Jodie Turner-Smith a modern take on the medieval parquet print while promoting Anne Boleyn. Given the breadth of his talents, celebrities and their stylists ought to take note.
Change moves more slowly in Hollywood, but celebrities are now paying attention to Thebe Magugu and his impressively versatile oeuvre. After Magugu won the LVMH Prize in 2019, the entire fashion community took note of the Johannesburg-based designer’s talents. In July, while jetting to the Hamptons after Lollapolloza, Miley Cyrus wore one of the sleek red suits from his fall 2021 collection, inspired by South African spirituality. Magugu does so much more than suiting, Thandiwe Newton has shown the versatility of his separates wearing his dresses and skirts to multiple events and his take on Oscar night dressing would undoubtedly be intelligent and elegant.
Innovative knitwear is in short supply, so when Chet Lo burst onto the scene with his Central Saint Martins graduate collection, “Cnidarias Wife,” young Hollywood took note. Soon, the 24-year-old London-based designer’s trippy 3D knit dresses and crop tops were popping up on the likes of Doja Cat and SZA. Having interned at Maison Margiela and Proenza Schouler, Lo understands what makes a statement look. His popcorn tops and their geometric shapes are conversation starters, whether Kylie Jenner is posing in them on Instagram or Dua Lipa is wearing one out to dinner. For a more outré red carpet moment this awards season, Lo is your guy.
This article was originally published on Vogue US.