Merriam-Webster, the American reference book, named the word "gaslighting" the word of the year 2022 in December. This refers to a form of psychological violence; the victim is deliberately deceived until he begins to doubt his sanity. At some point, it loses touch with reality. The term comes from a British play, "Gaslight", from 1938, which was followed by two films with this title in the forties. It's about how a husband systematically drives his wife crazy.

Searches for this term on Merriam-Webster's website had increased by 1740 percent last year – for no specific reason. Maybe it has to do with the fact that the deception is in the air. This is shown, for example, by film and series hits such as "The Tinder Swindler", "Inventing Anna" and "The Dropout" - again and again they are about true events from the past years, in which on the one hand brazen, on the other hand fascinatingly cold-blooded cheating.

The fashion follows: At the shows for this spring, there was cheating and deceiving. At Bottega Veneta, Matthieu Blazy made his debut as chief designer, among other things, with trousers made of fine leather that bore a deceptive resemblance to jeans. In addition, a shirt, also made of leather, which looked like a thick flannel shirt. Kate Moss wore the look. Only on closer inspection, perhaps only when touched, could one recognize the deception.

It's not so easy to keep track of things today

Meanwhile, designer Glenn Martens at fashion label Y/Project also played with this deceptive effect by printing double rib on T-shirts and denim on blazers. If anything can be read into this confusion of materialities, it is the message that it is difficult to keep track of things today. This also applies to fashion. For example, has the collection, which is praised as so sustainable, really been manufactured under fair and gentle conditions? Or is this a case of greenwashing, which deliberately deceives consumers? And are the influencers really so enthusiastic about the products they hold up to the camera on Tiktok and Instagram? Or are these images and videos just part of a larger advertising partnership?

Back on the catwalks: The models in the show of the Spanish fashion house Loewe wore trousers, hoodies and T-shirts that looked so pixelated, as if they were not textiles, but pictures that someone had downloaded from the Internet in too low a resolution.

Offline self and online self

The interpretation: The world has become more confusing. There are at least two of them. Chief designer Jonathan Anderson pointed out that the online world always runs alongside the real world and that it can sometimes be difficult to separate these two parallel worlds from each other. For many people, social media is already inextricably linked to their offline lives. Many also present themselves in both worlds – and in the end deceive each other with their online look, especially with the help of filters. The first fashion houses are already offering the corresponding avatar fashion for the online self, which can be bought in the metaverse.

Jonathan Anderson transported these deceptively flat-looking pieces, which seemed so pixelated as if they were failed designs created for digital screens, into real, three-dimensional life. In the meantime, the Pixel collection can be bought as a matter of course - for example in the brand's online shop by delivery to the front door.