On Paris and Milan’s Fall/Winter 2023 men’s runways, there was something new for everyone.
In Paris, Wales Bonner brought her idiosyncratic opulence, with a collection titled “Twilight Reverie” that included an adidas collaboration and a first look at her collaboration with the Jamaican Football Federation. Matthew M. Williams reconstructed a new sense of formality for Givenchy, and Feng Chen Wang presented a collection that looked back to ancient Chinese traditions.
While Kim Jones unveiled a Dior collection that pays homage to the late Yves Saint Laurent, a new era was brought in by Colm Dillane, who made his debut as the first designer to co-create a collection for Louis Vuitton post-Virgil Abloh.
Meanwhile, in Milan, Gucci showed a collection that threw it back to Tom Ford‘s Y2K era, the ’80s and OG House codes, and Emporio Armani leaned into an aviation theme with a bevvy of flight-ready garments. Silvia Venturini Fendi showcased the power of textures for Fendi, while Prada served “futurism, ’60s space age, aggression and cleansing.” JW Anderson advised that “we shouldn’t be scared of subversion” for this season; Our Legacy embraced indie sleaze, and Dsquared2 sent goths, geeks and it-boys to the rodeo.
Whether it was homages to icons gone by or the start of brand new eras, there was much to mull over throughout January’s main events. Here are all the style lessons that Hypebeast saw emerge during the FW23 men’s shows.
A Season of Reduction
As Jonathan Anderson told Hypebeast backstage after his eponymous brand’s FW23 Milan Fashion Week show, “we’re heading into a season of reduction.”
In recent years, there has been a shift from logomania and bold arrays of gaudiness as we step into a more reductive era – and it’s finally arrived. JW Anderson stripped us down to the bare essentials, finessing basics like underwear in fine merino wool or white T-shirts that made up the entire outfit.
Raf Simons and Miuccia Prada took it one step further at Prada, cocooning and shielding us from the world in comfortable, puffy numbers. Pillowy white vests and bombers clashed with “futurism, ’60s space age, aggression, cleansing,” as put by the Belgian designer himself, resulting in a series of reduced, redacted, and reinvented staples. Shirts were taken back to just pointy collars, tailoring was sharp and minimal, and branding made little to no appearance.
Back with Anderson, his LOEWE FW23 show at Paris Fashion Week was yet another study in taking away the unnecessary elements of clothes. So much so, pieces were frozen in time, structured to the nth degree that movement was eschewed and silhouettes were seamless.
Even Gucci, a House known for its extravagance thanks to Alessandro Michele, presented its first sans-Michele collection with nods to taking things back to basics. It opened with a white T-shirt and roomy slacks, seldom devling into its rich archive of prints or adding too much fuss – instead opting to tidy its image up.
White Collar Codes
Subverted tailoring is hardly a new thing, but the FW23 Men’s season asked us to question what more we can do to twist traditions. Whereas in the past suits were deconstructed, the collections of late were suited and booted in formality. It was expected from Dior, FENDI, and the Armani brands that thrive off formalwear, but less so from the likes of JORDANLUCA, Martine Rose, and Maison Mihara Yasuhiro.
White collar mentality was best explored at JORDANLUCA, who took business garments and subverted them under a Queer lens with fetishization at the core. Ties were undone and loose, hanging from untidy white shirts no longer tucked into the oversized dad suits, implying a naughty night out and subsequently rushing home.
At NAHMIAS, the suit was cut to exquisite proportions, perfectly tailored for a day in the office. Only it was purple and co-designed by Kodak Black, enscripted with the rapper’s song title in crystal embellishment.
WINNIE New York took white collar attitudes and applied such formalities to blue collar numbers, such as boiler suits, while WOOYOUNGMI dressed white double-breasted suits in surreal orbs – but more on that in a minute.
On the topic of WOOYOUNGMI, its show was dominated by surreal orbs of chrome metal hanging from lapels, ears, collars, and laying on top of shoes. This is only a small reflection of the trend, as at JW Anderson bags became boots, frogs were turned into clutch purses, and mules were made in collaboration with Wellipets, putting crocodiles on our feet.
doublet took it literally with monsterously furry track suits and jumpers you could wear over your head to make you look like a bear, and back at LOEWE, those hammered copper and pewter jackets were something from a dystopian future.
Walter van Beirendonck delivered his expected lunacy, but elevated traditions by cutting out rib cages from puffy vinyl blazers or adding hockey pucks to track suits, and Maison Margiela’s fascinators made from bin liners only enhanced the joy of playing with oddities when it comes to textures, shapes, and classic clothing codes.
Y2K domination is still rife, but not how you know it. Sparkles, Julia Fox-approved low-rise pants and the resurgence of brands like Ed Hardy, Juicy Couture and Diesel were all the rave last season (and ammitedly this season with Dsquared2’s recent show), but for FW23 we’re entering a new era of Y2K influences: future terrain.
The term floated around in conversation during Fashion Month following Marco di Vincenzo’s debut Etro menswear collection, after NAHMIAS’ Paris Fashion Week presentation, during BLUEMARBLE, and at Dries Van Noten, all of which drew from the real world, intergalactic realms, and further afar.
In its essence, “Future Terrain” takes earthy colors and textures and transforms then into something futuristic. Etro, for example, applied algae green and wobbly natural shapes to pajamas and suits, underpinning this with the grounding hues of brown. BLUEMARBLE’s use of diamond-shaped sparkles and crystals on knees, tapping into Y2K’s galaxy prints while conflicting it with geometric forms rooted in space travel. Expect it to be a big part of your wardrobe come fall.
It’s been touched upon with JW Anderson, LOEWE, and Prada, but while they reduced luxury, others pioneered the sleek and forgiving qualities of keeping things simply understated.
See The Row, FENDI, ZEGNA (particularly its Elder Statesman collaboration), Wales Bonner, AMI, Dior, and Lemaire for your notes on how to dress to impress – without having to put a label on it.
“Understated Luxury” is exactly what it says on the tin. Cuts are clean, silhouettes are perfectly proportionized, palettes are muted, accessories aren’t flashy – in fact, none of it is, and that’s the point. Instead, put the focus on execution, dressing in lush fabrics and shapes that accentuate voluminous height.
For something fool-proof, the brands above – and high-street stores to come – will have you sorted for FW23.
British style codes are a pillar of many brands’ identities, but this season, U.K. style tropes emerged in Paris and Milan with fuller force. With Charles Jeffrey LOVERBOY, that might be expected, but for labels like Bode, KENZO, Paul Smith and Dior, the Brit influence is less anticipated.
At KENZO, Nigo fused traditional Janapese constructions with American workwear and British attitudes. The show notes detailed that the designs echo the unequivocal legacy of England’s Dame Vivienne Westwood, whose work holds a critical influence over Nigo’s process.
On Bode’s runway, shirts, blazers and jackets sported various patterned patchwork, reminiscent of those in London’s archetypal wardrobes. And in similar fashion, Charles Jeffrey LOVERBOY and Paul Smith emblazoned coats with checkered patterns, layered over illustrative sweaters and shirts.
In all, it’s a testament to just how large an impact British heritage has on global fashion.