Another season of fashion shows has now wrapped, with the spring/summer 2023 collections debuting in New York, London, Milan and Paris.
After the past two years of pandemic-related disruptions and cancellations, we were treated to a relatively normal month of shows – aside from in London, which coincided with the official period of national mourning, following the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. While shows from the likes of Harris Reed, Erdem and Christopher Kane went ahead, a number had to be rearranged due to closures in the capital, particularly on the day of the funeral itself.
But it was business as usual in the other three cities. In New York, we had Fendi celebrating the 25th anniversary of the iconic Baguette, alongside the latest collections from Michael Kors, Tommy Hilfiger and Tom Ford, while in Milan we had Kim Kardashian collaborating with Dolce & Gabbana, Paris Hilton making a surprise appearance at Versace and Kate Moss walking exclusively for Bottega Veneta. The shows culminated in Paris, with the newest collections from Chanel, Dior and Louis Vuitton.
Below, see catwalk highlights from the spring/summer 2023 collections:
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For its spring/summer 2023 show, Ralph Lauren ventured – for the first time – to California, presenting the collection at The Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical Gardens in San Marino.
“I have always been inspired by the natural beauty, the heritage, and glamour of the West Coast of America,” Lauren said. “California has always been a land of dreams and contradictions—rugged coasts and red carpets. For the first time ever, I bring my dream of living here, sharing my worlds in an experience that celebrates a way of life I have always believed in — a mix of grit and glamour, energy and inspiration.”
Raf Simons celebrated the energy of dance and the impact of the body for spring/summer 2023, inviting guests to a catwalk party at renowned club venue Printworks. The clothing was “bare, spare, cut away and stripped back”, with a focus on “radical” simplicity and the essential form, the designer explained.
The show also debuted a collaboration with the estate of Belgian painter Philippe Vandenberg, whose artworks were contextualised as all-over prints on garments and accessories – with a particular focus on his text works. “Handwriting, dancing across paper, is translated to fabric,” detailed the show notes. “Their messages give cause for consideration – a moment of pause. They speak of ideas rejected and renewed, destruction as a prerequisite for creation.”
Alexander McQueen continued to show off the official fashion week schedule, choosing to present its spring/summer 2023 collection this week in Greenwhich, where it erected a giant show bubble, right on the Thames. The collection, entitled ‘First Sight’ was inspired by the work of Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch, while the team stripped back the clothes, focussing on “cut, drape and silhouette”.
“This collection is about searching for humanity and human connection,” creative director Sarah Burton said. “The eye is a symbol of that humanity, a register of emotion, an expression
of uniqueness. Our clothes are designed to empower. They are stripped back, dissected and focused on cut, drape and silhouette. We also looked at the work of Hieronymus Bosch, at once dark and beautiful.”
Having delayed its original London Fashion Week show due to the death of the Queen, Roksanda presented its spring collection at the Serpentine on sunny autumnal morning. The collection, as colourful and impactful as ever, was centred around the rose. “Taking the symbol of roses with all its meanings, symbolism and above all dualities,” the house explained. “Roses are appointed at births, taken to weddings, and put on a grave. Dresses have been framed with falling black ribbons, fluid and feminine yet disturbing, interrupting the shape of something serious.”
Nicolas Ghesquière played with proportions for the Louis Vuitton spring/summer 2023 collection, in an examination of the complexity of femininity. The designer zoomed in on details like zips, pockets, buckles and clasps – all key motifs of the brand’s DNA – experimenting with scale and magnifying unexpected accents, bringing “the infinitely large and the infinitely small together”.
The models – led by Squid Game star and Vuitton ambassador HoYeon Jung – marched around a pulsating ‘monster flower’ in the centre of the set, created by guest artist Philippe Parreno, in a dramatic display that marked the end of a month of catwalk shows.
FKA Twigs closed the SS23 Miu Miu show on the final day in Paris, set against a digital artwork installation created by Chinese artist Shuang Li, which was inspired by the concept of digital messaging.
“The seemingly wireless cloud is supported by tens of thousands of kilometres of undersea cabling which populates the ocean floor,” explained the show notes. “Shuang Li’s work explores this tension between the material and the immaterial, and the obfuscation thereof. The physical bodies of what we commonly think of as immaterial material sent via digital platforms. The messages lost in transmission do not just disappear, but rather, imagined here, can take on another form, punctuating the sky.”
Chanel’s spring/summer 2023 show, titled Allure, opened with a black and white fashion film starring Kristen Stewart, who was also sat on the front row.
“What is the allure that we spontaneously associate with Chanel, that traverses all eras and is embodied in ours by Kristen Stewart…?” the show notes read. “Anyone who has come across Kristen Stewart, knows how she stands with innate elegance and intelligence on the razor’s edge of her era; on both sides is the abyss, where she stands is allure.”
The resulting collection was inspired by this concept of allure; the link between fashion, film and the arts; and a woman’s freedom to be both herself and yet constantly new. Just like Chanel.
Zimmermann made its Paris Fashion Week debut for spring/summer 2023, presenting a collection that was inspired by Wonderland City, an amusement park that existed in Sydney in the early 1900s.
“It had a rollercoaster that ran from one end of the beach to the other,” Nicky Zimmermann said. “It’s always intrigued me – it’s so wild to think of it like that today. It provided us with a fun and rich source of inspiration for our collection this season. We thought about the change to the beachscape and the lifestyle from then to now and bringing that to life. We’ve taken Edwardian details from the era of the park and melded those with ideas of the modern Tama beach scene…A collection that embodies a magical summer wonderland in Sydney, with a bit of the old and a lot of the new.”
Blending fashion with art, Stella McCartney’s latest collection featured the work of legendary Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara, inspired by his slogan “Change The History”. Minimal and sensual in design, the collection was made with 87 per cent conscious materials, the brand’s most responsible to date, while it also featured the luxury industry’s first-ever garment made from regenerative cotton, a T-shirt.
“I like fashion to surprise,” said creative director Albert Kriemler of the brand’s 100-year anniversary collection. “It’s progress, it’s energy, it’s strength. When preparing the shooting of our archive pieces for the 100-year book, I knew right away we had to work with them. They were new, unexpected, and in perfect proportions of today. They made me think of something different to celebrate 100 years, something you would normally not presume. Let’s call it a re-beginning, an incentive to pause, a point in which everything can reappear or renew itself. A collection where past, present, and future coexist. A look back to move forward into a new century!”
This season saw Victoria Beckham’s Paris Fashion Week debut, a huge moment in the designer’s career, and one marked by an emotional moment as she tearfully took her bow. Moving the show to Paris meant a shift in perspective, she explained in her show notes. “A re-contextualisation, it proposes a different perspective, on the new and the established. It is a re-affirmation of the brand’s hallmarks and codes, alongside a fresh view on the modern.”
Entitled ‘Unboxing’, Valentino moved past the pink for spring/summer 2023 with Pierpaolo Piccioli presenting an idea that focused on individuality, referencing how couture collections are made. Almost every design featured a “base” (a T-shirt or tank top) made to match the models’ skin colour, created in stretchy fabrics so that they could fit a range of body shapes. This idea came about when thinking about the bustiers which are used to underpin couture gowns.
Jonathan Anderson’s latest collection for Loewe was based on the “erotic tension and precision of an anthurium flower”, which he described as “a product of nature that looks like an object of design, and is treated as such”. This was an example of “natural fake”, he said – things that can be found in nature that look fake, but are in fact real. Some references to this were very literal with dresses, tops and footwear adorned with three-dimensional floral details.
Presented in a show that focussed completely on womenswear, Matthew M. Williams explored “a transatlantic clash of city wardrobes” for Givenchy’s SS23 collection. More specifically, he looked at the cosmopolitan dress codes of France and America. “This collection is an investigation into the dress codes that tie us together across mentalities and continents: two culturally specific wardrobes from very different places – Paris and Los Angeles… It’s a study of the elements we associate with ‘Parisian chic’ and ‘California cool’, and how those contrasts have integrated in the digital, borderless world.”
In what will probably remain one of the most talked-about moments of Paris Fashion Week this season, Coperni had a dress sprayed onto Bella Hadid’s body live on the catwalk, a stunt which the brand hoped would start a conversation about innovation and the environmental challenges of the fashion industry.
“Innovation is key at Coperni and is part of the brand’s DNA. Coperni and Fabrican Ltd have embarked on a collaboration for a futuristic fusion of science and fashion to create a live unique dress. The performance, led by Doctor Manel Torres, leader of Fabrican Ltd and inventor of the spray-on fabric, stars model Bella Hadid creating an experience that sublimates the female body in the purest and most innovative way, tempting to immortalise it. Raising also the environmental and socio-economic challenges of the fashion industry. The spray-on fabric is the most innovative and avant garde system of the XXI century, proving yet again the world is always evolving and remaining to be drawn.”
“Off–White defined the grey area between black and white. It was the space where Virgil explored nuances and challenged notions of luxury through style and dress…It belonged to the culture as much as it was Virgil’s own, and over the decade since its founding, it has defined an era. Now, in our hands, we are entrusted with a legacy that we must handle with care. And in the year since his passing, one question prevailed: where do we go from here?”
Under Ibrahim Kamara, the house’s new image and art director, Off-White presented a collection that was a celebration of Abloh’s life and work, while also touching on an important pressing issue facing America today, abortion rights. Off-White collaborated with artist Jenny Holzer, launching T-shirts that will raise money for Planned Parenthood.
“Even when dreaming up new worlds, we must speak about the harsh realities of our present everyday lives,” the show notes read.
“Back to the roots,” was the idea behind Isabel Marant’s SS23 collection, which harked back to the 1990s, when the brand first launched. Chiffon silk tops, shimmering metallic embroideries, slip dresses, baggy cargo pants, low-rise bottoms, open necklines and a faded camouflage print were all reminiscent of the Y2K era.
“The Isabel Marant silhouette and codes, imbued with the spirit of the house’s inception in the Nineties, resurface through remastered styles; reissued wardrobe staples manifesting the brand’s timelessness and its ability to constantly reinvent itself… She walks down the runway with the confidence to be feminine.”
The Chloé SS23 collection marks the second chapter of the house’s research into climate solutions, which was a line of inquiry into fusion energy. With fossil fuels accounting for 84 per cent of the world’s primary energy consumption, one ray of hope is fusion: the recreation of the reaction that occurs in all stars. According to Chloé, scientists estimate that one glass of fusion fuel will create enough electricity to power a home for more than 800 years. Now, thanks to advances in technology and an influx of funding, it looks like fusion will soon become an infinite source of clean energy that lights up our universe.
“In this chapter of climate success, the focus of our research was fusion energy as a large-scale, peaceful, clean energy source,” Hearst explained. “The energy that moves our universe will, in the not so distant future, help power our world and solve many of our concerns today. I have deep gratitude for the star builders that not only deal with one of the hardest challenges in physics — plasma — but also, through their eyes, see a future that is as bright as the stars we are made of.”
“I have been thinking a lot lately about a piece by Yoko Ono that I saw ages ago in Denmark at the Louisiana Museum,” Cecilie Bahnsen said in her show notes. “It expresses so beautifully something that I feel to be true – that we are all the same, just placed in different containers. It’s an installation, a row of glass bottles on a shelf, all filled with water. On each bottle is a label with the handwritten name of a well-known person… Sylvia Plath, Cindy Sherman, David Bowie. I find this message of oneness so appealing. As humans, we make distinctions between our different shapes and sizes and everything else. But at our core, we are essentially the same.”
Bahnsen took this idea into her collection by thinking about the women who wear her clothes, and the different places they wear them, creating precious pieces that can be worn on “a rainy Tuesday morning” but also for “a party on a Saturday night”.
With Cher on the catwalk and Kylie Jenner on the front row, Olivier Rousteing made a splash with his latest show, which he named ‘The Balmain Festival’.
“It is this house’s annual celebration of the beautiful possibilities that might be achieved by combining the best in music and fashion. So, to close this year’s festival, we couldn’t possibly think of a better artist than Cher. After all, she’s been making it clear to everyone — ever since the Sixties — just how powerful the perfect combo of those two arts can be.”
This season, Anthony Vaccarello was inspired by American choreographer Martha Graham, who was known for reshaping and revolutionising modern dance. He was particularly drawn to the tube dresses that her dancers wore in a 1930 production, and used these as the basis of much of the collection, sending clingy, draped, hooded dresses down the catwalk in a variety of earthy tones. There was also, of course, lots of leather in the form of floor-length coats, and he dialled up the glamour with sharp shoulders and killer accessories.
“Each Maria Grazia Chiuri collection is about opening up room for the creative imagination.” the house wrote in the show notes. “For this ready-to-wear show, she has adopted the image of a map of Paris from the house’s archives.”
Through this, Grazia Chiuri traced her own path, between autobiography and reflection, and then nodded to the Tuileries Gardens, created according to Catherine de Medici’s wishes.
“An Italian noblewoman who arrived at the French court in 1533, she is an emblematic figure of the relationship between women and power, and Maria Grazia Chiuri is fascinated by her political intelligence and the innovations she pioneered, such as heeled shoes, the corset, and Burano lace, which were all brought into the royal manufactures.”
In what transpired to be Riccardo Tisci’s final collection for the British fashion house (before announcing the appointment of Daniel Lee as chief creative officer), Burberry showed its September show in London a few weeks later than planned, having delayed out of respect for the royal family after the Queen’s death.
The A-list catwalk saw Naomi Campbell, Karen Elson and Bella Hadid walk, while Kanye West sat on the front row.
“In summer, in Britain, the beach is a place of democracy, of community,” Tisci said of his inspiration for SS23. “It is where people from all cultures can join together in simple pleasures. I wanted to translate that ideology – that emotion – to an entire collection. I wanted to express that spirit of togetherness and joy, that reality.”
“We explored a new sensuality – a consciousness of the body. I was inspired by the liberation and openness of youth, of people embracing their bodies and revealing them – a pride in themselves, who they are, their identities. Their freedom.”
“While the first fashion show cited the aesthetic codes of the automotive world, setting them in the context of the assembly lines in Maranello, and whereas the second chapter saw the brand landing in Milan with a high-tech and futuristic approach, Ferrari’s third fashion show is staged at the Teatro Lirico in Milan as a symbolic place for representing the stories of man, and as a metaphor for the brand’s human component,” the brand explained. “Through a constantly evolving ethical and aesthetic language, creative director Rocco Iannone chooses to narrate the dream.”
For spring/summer 2023, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana teamed up with Kim Kardashian – who they describe as “the ultimate muse”. With Kardashian playing the role of ‘collection curator’, the trio went through the brand’s ’90s and ’00s archives, selecting some of her favourite pieces, and looks that they felt were inspired by the reality TV star – many of which were then slightly tweaked and repurposed to make a new collection exploring the most “authentic DNA” of Dolce & Gabbana.
“If it is true that fashion moves forward in search of ever-new expressions, when creativity is firmly rooted in its identity it knows how to transcend time and space,” explained the show notes. “Thus, even when it is rethought, repurposed, reinterpreted through the eyes of the present and the consciousness of the past, it retains its most genuine nature while managing to speak to many different generations.”
Giorgio Armani created a collection that was “designed to soothe” for the new season, inspired by an overall sense of lightness – both in terms of weightlessness and luminosity.
Models showcased pieces in delicate and diaphanous fabrics, in colours that shifted from golden neutrals to purple and inky blue. Silhouettes were long and liquid, and “evanescent like a desert mirage”, explained the show notes. Ethereal, airy and fluid, any weight was both literally and metaphorically lifted, “to embrace the female figure with sweet spirituality”.
Elegance met utility in Matthieu Blazy’s second collection for Bottega Veneta, which was focused on the quiet power of the everyday, set against a colourful catwalk designed by Italian architect Gaetano Pesce – and featured a surprise star turn from Kate Moss in jeans and a checked shirt.
“The premise is simple – the collection is about a contrast of characters on the go, invited to travel through Gaetano Pesce’s landscape,” Blazy said. “I wanted to design not just for one woman or one man, but for women and men. From the perverse banality of the everyday nubuck looks, to the eroticism of ultra-sophistication through tailoring, via the look of the bourgeois left of the past, to the souvenirs worn by a high-brow traveller… The whole world in a small room.”
If there was ever a sign that fashion’s obsession with Nineties and Noughties nostalgia isn’t going anywhere, it’s Paris Hilton closing the Versace show in a sparkling pink chainmail mini dress and fingerless gloves – a look that could have come straight from her wardrobe in The Simple Life era.
She was the grand finale in a typically starry catwalk line-up – featuring everyone from Bella and Gigi Hadid to Irina Shayk and Emily Ratajkowski. The show saw a more gothic turn from Donatella Versace, who this season was inspired by rebellious women, blending darkly romantic bridal looks with slashed dresses and lots of leather.
“I have always loved a rebel, a woman who is confident, smart, and a little bit of a diva,” the designer said.
“I wanted to pay tribute to Salvatore’s start by bringing in the culture of Hollywood – but new Hollywood,” Maximilian Davis said of his Ferragamo debut, unveiling a renaissance of the brand’s Hollywood history. “Its ease and sensuality; its sunset and sunrise.”
The designer embraced flashes of fetishism, elevated everyday essentials and sleek, draped eveningwear. The collection was also inspired by the sparkling red shoes Ferragamo made for Marilyn Monroe in 1959, with crystals scattered throughout, while the Wanda bag (first introduced in 1988 and named after Salvatore’s wife) was reinterpreted in sleek new proportions.
“It was about looking into the archive and establishing what could be redefined to become relevant for today,” he explained. “I want each piece to feel playful, but also desirable as an object. To stand on its own.”
In some truly masterful casting, Gucci’s Alessandro Michele enlisted 68 sets of identical twins for his spring/summer 2023 show. Titled Gucci Twinsburg, the show was inspired by the designer’s mother and her twin sister, “two extraordinary women who made their twinship the ultimate seal of their existence”.
As he explained, “the grace of their duplicated and expanded love gave rise to my eternal fascination for the double, for the things that seem to reflect equal to themselves.” The resulting collection was a tribute to the magic of twins – and, in duplicating the clothes, an exploration of the way in which “they seem to lose their status of singularity”, are a reflection of each other, and yet still allow for the expression of individuality.
For spring/summer 2023, Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons presented a collection designed to be “a sequence of realities”, with a focus on contrasting elements.
“There is an interrelationship between the raw and the sensual, between delicacy and roughness,” explained the show notes. “The collection plays constantly with dissimilitude and paradox, shifting between different visions, separate realities.”
The pair also invited film director Nicolas Winding Refn to conceive an experience around the collection, which took the form of an immersive installation and a series of short films exploring the lives of women and modern femininity.
For spring/summer 2023, Max Mara took its audience on a trip to the Riviera in the 1930s – inspired by the timeless style of Renée Perle, the “silent muse” of French photographer Jacques-Henri Lartigue, and architect Eileen Gray – and their shared vision of modernity.
“At Max Mara, each piece is designed not just to be worn, but to be lived in,” read the show notes, reminding us that these were clothes designed for real women, inspired by real women.
This was translated through “archetypal looks which are the backbone of Max Mara’s collection; backless tanks, voluminous canvas sailor pants, floppy wide-brimmed sun hats and long, languid skirts which hug the hip then slide into pools.”
Richard Quinn dedicated his spring/summer 2023 collection to Her Majesty the Queen, saying that “she touched him among so many others with her grace and kindness”. The show opened with an entirely black series of regal gowns, paired with veils and crowns, as vintage footage of the Queen played on screens in the centre of the catwalk.
If the first half of the show was paying tribute to our monarch of the past 70 years, the rest of the collection was designed to “embody an exquisite futurism”; the designer’s typically dramatic and exaggerated silhouettes walked the runway “with a bold sense of purpose”, to encapsulate “the fresh and new”.
Science and nature are a constant source of inspiration for Christopher Kane, and the designer’s spring/summer 2023 show was a “celebration of the beauty and complexity of the human body”.
References included minimalist nurse and physician uniforms, skeletal structures, anatomical drawings, and flowers – which are “intrinsic to everyday life” and “deliver messages of love, celebration and condolences”.
Erdem Moralıoğlu explored the restoration of art this season, spending time with the restoration teams at the British Museum, the Tate, the V&A and the National Gallery as part of his research.
“The knowledge, skill and dedication required in restoration is both a visceral and a technical form of creativity,” explained the designer. “It requires forensic passion; individual pieces might be worked upon by a sole restorer for up to 20 years. The collection examines the space between care and obsession in the pursuit of preservation.”
He also dedicated his spring/summer 2023 show to Her Majesty the Queen.
The Halpern show was a celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Barbie Dreamhouse – an institution of the fantasy world which “represents the birthplace of any child’s imagination: the home”. For this collection, designer Michael Halpern produced eight ‘Barbie dolls’ dressed for fabulous (dream)house parties – the kind he would have vividly imagined as a child – for which he was given access to the Mattel archives, and discovered archive Barbie designs featuring sequins, chevrons and ruffles which were brought to life on the catwalk.
Fabulous house parties in general informed the rest of the collection – inspired particularly by those thrown by his own mother in Upstate New York in the 1970s and early ’80s.
Nensi Dojaka’s spring/summer 2023 collection was an ode to the designer’s “eternal inspiration”, the flower. Sequins gently embellished evening gowns and her signature slip dresses, “catching the light like dew drops resting on waxy petals,” explained the show notes, while halterneck details were intersected with organza blooms, and the soft colour palette of lilac, pinks and purples recalled a garden in bloom.
Set in the opulent surrounds of The Old Bailey, Simone Rocha described her SS23 show as “a reaction to distress” as well as “fragility, remorse and anger”.
The resulting collection represented the healing of the earth, featuring floral motifs – chamomile, daisies, tulip coats –blended with Rocha’s signature deconstructed designs and disrupted proportions.
For spring/summer 2023, David Koma was inspired by “everyday enchantment” from the streets of London that surround his Shoreditch studio – like the oily, iridescent colour formations of petrol on the pavement – and the more otherwordly landscape that lies deep under the sea, with its shimmering shells and starfish.
“This season, a conversation between accidental and environmental beauty informs a collection founded in the clash and harmony between the natural and the cultural,” explained the show notes.
The day before the world prepared to say goodbye to Her Majesty the Queen, 16Arlington showcased a collection that was fittingly titled ‘Forget Me Not’, inspired by “the wildflower with petals of dusty pink and faded lilac-blue; a symbol of true and eternal love, devotion and remembrance”.
Of course, this was originally designed in tribute to the brand’s co-founder Federica ‘Kikka’ Cavenati, who passed away suddenly in November 2021, at the age of 28. Today, the label is lead by Marco Capaldo on his own, in honour of his former partner, “whose irrepressible energy can be felt in every atom of the 16Arlington universe”.
Rejina Pyo was inspired by a Tolstoy quote for spring/summer 2023 – “One can live magnificently in this world if one knows how to work and how to love” – but, more specifically, how these words would not have been applied to women when they were written more than 100 years ago.
The resulting collection, set against sweeping views of the city skyline, was a celebration of women and what it means to love and work (what Freud described as the two cornerstones of our humanness) in modern-day London – seen through feminine tailoring, softly sculptural shapes and fluid, sheer silhouettes.
Molly Goddard turned back the clock for her latest collection, transporting her audience to a time before social media, live streams and instant updates.
“I was thinking about red carpets pre-internet,” she said. “These are images I love and often go to for inspiration; dressing felt more for the party and for yourself. Much more casual, laid back. No step and repeat and no posing. People looked like they were out to have fun.”
The designer was also inspired by the work of couturier Charles James, and the way he played with shape and proportion. She explained: “That element inspired this season, pushing fabrics to their extremes, utilising the qualities of each fabric and letting it do the work.”
Rixo’s new-season collection was inspired by a trip to Goa, where founder Orlagh McCloskey fell in love with the Fontainhas area – otherwise known as Goa’s Latin quarter.
“While there, the similarities to Rixo’s brand DNA within the intricate ceramics and tile patterns and bright, bold buildings in the town were noticed,” explained the collection notes. Pieces also took influence from the surrounding Arabian sea, through painted seahorses and shells.
If Molly Goddard took us back in time, it was a drastic shift forward for Huishan Zhang, who looked to the future to showcase “couture through a utopian lens”. The collection, a more graphic approach than is typically seen from the designer, took wardrobe classics and turned them into new hybrids; gowns were seen in geometric shapes or with caped silhouettes, while sequins and crystal embellishments appeared like twinkling binary code or microchips.
“The imagined setting for this 22nd-century wardrobe? An advanced metropolis at nightfall with its neon cityscape, which you can see in the palette this season,” explained the show notes; indeed, bold reds, greens, oranges and yellows were practically glowing as they appeared on the catwalk.
Harris Reed kicked off London Fashion Week with a gender fluid demi-couture collection exploring the performative nature of fashion and inspired by the dress codes of a debutante ball. Titled Mise en Scène – in reference to the collective team effort that goes into the staging of each collection – Reed’s designs took traditionally female tropes and reimagined them for “a new fluid society taking centre stage”.
Silhouettes were exaggerated, gowns were upturned and deconstructed, shapes were distorted – and created, as always, from deadstock fabric – while looks were paired with theatrical headpieces (designed with long-term collaborator Vivienne Lake), all set to a haunting soundtrack performed by Adam Lambert.
Trend takeaway: dramatic silhouettes
After opening his show with a solemn tribute to Her Majesty the Queen, Daniel W. Fletcher paid homage to figures past and present who have made London their home – from King’s Road punks to Savile Row tailors.
“This influence comes not from a singular time frame or generation, but an amalgamation of a city that continues to weave a narrative that is felt and observed world over,” read the show notes.
Bora Aksu presented an “anachronistic dreamscape” for spring/summer 2023, inspired by the works of the writer Henry Darger and the artist Marcel Dzama. The collection explored “the relationship between innocence and perversion, delivering pieces that toe the line between the delicate and the resolute,” explained the show notes, as always, putting femininity at the heart of the creative process.
As to be expected, there was glamour galore on the Tom Ford catwalk, which amped up the sparkle and shine to close New York Fashion Week with a bang.
There was metallic tailoring and an emphasis on lace underpinnings, with disco-ready dresses shimmering down the catwalk, while the grand finale saw the Hadid sisters close the show in head-to-toe sequins, with big hair, bigger heels and even bigger earrings.
Trend takeaway: high shine
Michael Kors transported his front-row guests to the ultimate luxury getaway for his ‘urban resort’ spring/summer 2023 show – a collection of sleek, city styling set against a backdrop of lush greenery.
“Urban resort to me is the best of both worlds, it’s the luxury and sleek elegance of city life with the laid-back glamour you find in the best resorts,” says Michael Kors. “This collection uses a lot of elements that you normally find on holiday—lots of white, lots of bareness, soft caftans, bare strappy sandals—mixed with the crisp tailoring and polish you need in an urban environment.”
There was an emphasis on movement and light, accentuated by shimmering liquid fabrics and high-shine sequins, providing the sort of pared-back glamour for which the brand has become known – designed to be worn in whichever luxurious destination you happen to be jetting off to next.
Trend takeaway: holiday romance
Gabriela Hearst was inspired by the work of the Ancient Greek poet Sappho for spring/summer 2023. A legendary tastemaker whose work was revered by the Greeks and Romans, much of her work has been lost over time and now only exists in fragments.
Hearst paid tribute to Sappho’s artistic spirit – which “transcends time” – through a collection that was primarily monochrome with flashes of metallic gold.
When she began researching Sappho, Hearst describes how “images of garments started to appear, and I would draw or paint them on notebooks”.”The swirls that I doodle tirelessly and that have become a consistent pattern in our collections, are this time represented in the embroidery and multicolour crochet. I recently realised they represent the wind and air movement.”
Trend takeaway: flashes of gold
Fendi opened New York Fashion Week this season with a show celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Baguette – and creative director Kim Jones, along with Silvia Venturini Fendi, enlisted an impressive line-up of collaborators for the occasion: Marc Jacobs, Sarah Jessica Parker and Tiffany & Co.
“I didn’t want to do a traditional ‘collection’ for the anniversary – rather it’s a celebration of a time, of the moment the Baguette became famous,” said Jones. “I relate that time to a sense of freedom in excess and fun – both qualities the Baguette possesses.”
The result was a joyful tribute to the iconic piece – as interpreted by each of the creative collaborators – spanning both clothing and accessories: from classic handbags to minuscule clutches, wristlets, pins and even jewellery.
Trend takeaway: nostalgic it-bags
“The spring/summer 2023 collection is defined by opposing instincts: to experiment freely and to pare everything back,” explained Tory Burch, of her Nineties-inspired show which put material and silhouette at the forefront.
Models including Emily Ratajkowski walked the runway wearing luxurious fabrics designed to move with the body in an “exploration of form” – think superfine knits, sporty separates, sculptural tailoring and transluscent layers – all accentuated by clean lines and block colours. “This collection is personal and intuitive, drawing on my memories of the ’90s when I moved to New York,” the designer continued. “I wanted to look at my signatures with a fresh perspective, reflecting what feels modern now.”
Trend takeaway: transluscent fabrics
The Bevza spring/summer 2023 collection was dedicated to designer Svitlana Bevza’s homeland of Ukraine.
“In the face of Russia’s continued war, Bevza presents a hopeful collection celebrating the country they call home,” read the show notes. “The collection is a visual voice from Ukraine today, steeped in war, but continuing the fight for their ancient homeland, and optimistic for the future.”
The designer incorporated cultural Ukrainian symbols within the collection: inspiration was drawn from the image of a woman in a field harvesting wheat (the harvest of her homeland) – seen through the brand’s signature ‘spikelet’ jewellery as well as details on dresses – while traditional crochet elements featuring the sacred star motif could be seen throughout, in a poignant display of fragility and strength.
Frances Hodgson’s much-loved classic, The Secret Garden, was the starting point for Wes Gordon’s latest collection – a beloved book from his childhood – and its romantic depiction of nature and beauty.
“A garden of visual delights, this collection is unabashedly romantic, with oversize balloon sleeves in hand-painted tea roses and peonies and a maximalist verve thanks to matching head-to-toe accessories,” read the show notes. Indeed, florals played a central role throughout, from 3D rosettes and brightly coloured prints to sculptural hemlines “that take on lives of their own in movement, like undulating rows of flowers in bloom in abundance”.
Trend takeaway: romantic florals
Tommy Hilfiger returned to NYFW this season with the Tommy Factory multiverse experience, featuring both a star-studded catwalk (Ashley Graham, Lila Moss, Winnie Harlow, Julia Fox) and front row (Kate Moss, Kris Jenner, John Legend).
The show, which “blended IRL and URL worlds”, was inspired by the legacy and cultural impact of Andy Warhol, and saw a the physical (very rain-soaked) runway, accompanied by a virtual avatar-strewn livestream. The collection itself, which “remixed traditional Americana codes with a contemporary, streetwear-inspired twist”, featured everything from the new TH monogram (created in partnership with illustrator and graphic designer Fergus Purcell), to pieces from the new collaboration with London Fashion Week favourite Richard Quinn.
Trend takeaway: sporty streetwear
Jason Wu’s latest collection celebrated the joy of dressing up and the post-pandemic rebirth of America’s fashion capital, New York City – the place that the designer has called home for 22 years.
In an homage to the great American designers, the clothes were designed to highlight the beauty of each garment’s interior through inside-out construction, creating a key detail seen throughout the collection. “People are dressing up again and now every moment is a moment and why shouldn’t it be?” said Wu. “If the last two years have taught us anything, it’s that these moments are fleeting, and every second should be celebrated.”
Trend takeaway: inside-out construction
Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez were inspired by water “as a symbol of life” for their spring/summer 2023 show, with a collection also heavily influenced by their personal histories.
“The sensuous and fiery qualities of Lazaro’s Latin roots coupled with the pragmatism and grit of Jack’s American experience blend to create a narrative at once effervescent and urban,” she show notes explained. The clothes accentuated the contours of the body, with figure-hugging knitwear, ruffles to add volume and fringing to exaggerate movement.
Trend takeaway: high-fashion fringing
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