Olivia Bullock reports on the fall/winter collections from the major fashion maisons
How can the brilliance of anatomy be displayed through clothing you may ask? Sarah Burton has the answer for you. “Cut on the body and inspired from the body within,” her AW23 collection displayed the brilliance of bespoke tailoring for both women and men with timeless features of quintessential black suits, white shirts, and leather ensembles with hints of eroticism through fiery red features and provocative floral embellishments.
Creative director Olivier Rousteing revisited the roots of the luxury French fashion house with the addition of a New French flair for Balmain’s FW23 show. The timeless collection largely featured classic black and white co-ords, with the additions of fiery red dresses, a radiant, wool, turquoise co-ord, sculpturally architectural corsets, and grand silver, jeweled details on dresses.
Matthieu Blazy’s collection was inspired by his idea of a strange encounter – “people that you meet in the street and they really amaze you. It’s a place where everyone belongs… where there is absolutely no hierarchy.” To reflect this, Blazy and the team chose not to edit the collection, abandoning a developing trend. The collection featured homely dressing gowns, house shoes, and skirts shaped and embroidered to mimic a mermaid tail.
For Daniel Lee’s debut collection with Burberry, he set the quintessential British climate with fog on the runway and guests cozying into blankets. Opening the show with the classic Burberry trench coat, Lee honored the codes of the house whilst introducing a new focus on roses, but not your typical red roses. The show featured new combinations of purple and yellow clashes, and outlandish fake fur accessories, even showcasing a duck hat!
With the likes of model Kaia Gerber bringing us back to the Gossip Girl era, Hedi Slimane’s collection – titled “Age Of Indieness” – encapsulated the intimacy of the 2000s indies scene. Nostalgia emulated throughout the show, which featured bohemian slouchy leather bags, fringed accessories, gold buttons from collar to hem, and skinny jeans as skinny as skinny jeans can be!
Virginie Viard 66-piece collection largely featured a core symbol of Chanel: the camellia. Viard stated “The camellia is more than a theme, it’s an eternal code of the house.” As always, the collection was classical, sophisticated and elegant, characteristic of Viard’s style. The display of timeless modernity showed shorts appearing in every variation possible, and a predominantly black and white color palette with dark colors throughout.
Gabriela Hearst, the climate warrior and creative director at Chloé, has designed a collection to display the transformative good that occurs when women are in charge, drawing inspiration from her muse Artemisia Gentileschi, the Renaissance painter. The collection combines sustainability and luxury with effortless slip dresses, lots of shearling, refined leather tailoring and even ponchos, with Hearst emphasizing her desire to avoid gimmicky looks.
Inspired by global tech firms Apple and Tesla, Coperni have produced the show of the season, once again, with Boston Dynamics cyber-canines as a core feature on the runway. The Parisian and technology infused designs featured leather, denim and supermini dresses decorated in silver and white feathers. Elsewhere in the collection, dress shirts appeared as blankets with sheer red tights and heels, in addition to shirts and dresses cinched by silver, appreciative hand accessories.
Diesel did not fail to put on a show with 200,000 boxes of Diesel-branded condoms and a soundtrack of moaning playing throughout. Successfully conveying Diesel’s inspiration of sexual protection for their FW23 collection, the red-carpeted runway was a denim parade, featuring damaged tops, sheer featured clothing – symbolic of the protection theme – and multi-colored paint splashed onto mini dresses.
Dior put forward an iconic tribute to the fashion of a modern-day French woman. The elevated display of Parisian chic did not disappoint. With the return of classic pieces with a modern twist, the collection showcased sheer tops, fiery red features, and leopard print pieces. Chiuri modernized Dior templates while retaining the chicness of the French house, creating exquisite vintage looks with modern fabrics.
Dolce and Gabbana
The collection titled Sensuale heavily featured black looks with lace-detailed lingerie on show. The gothic takes on Italian glamor displayed tailored jackets and coats, in addition to sheer looks emphasizing the sensual and feminine intent behind the collection. The color palette limited to black, white, silver, gold, and red, displayed classicism and timeless perfection.
Dries Van Noten
Dries Van Noten’s FW23 collection emphasized a simple core structure with additions of hand-stitched embroidery and displays of fanciful brocades and fine, gold detailing. The essence of war time austerity was subtly present throughout the show, with emphasis on women giving new life to clothes they’ve already owned, and a focus on simplicity rather than a clothing extravaganza.
Saab, renowned for his extravagant designs, did not disappoint with his Renaissance inspired runway and darkly romantic floral motifs, featuring diamante and feather accents, and lingerie corsets. The collection was described as “speaking to the 15-year-old and the 100-year-old,” with the intention to enable women to seamlessly transition from day wear to evening wear with one look.
Jones’ collection took inspiration from Delfina Delettrez Fendi’s personal style as he observed “there’s a chicness but a perversity to the way she twists Fendi, which is what I love,” as the models displayed underwear in plenty of looks, lingerie pressed onto shirts and schoolgirl-like pleated skirts. The masculine turned feminine collection featured bias-cut pants, backless waistcoats, and mac-shaped jackets. Silvia Fendi observed “It’s pure, simple, but complex.”
Armani’s show titled Cipria conveyed his firm belief that “fashion is made for women, not for newspaper stories,” for his FW23 show. Based upon Armani’s interpretation of personally intimate rituals of self-care and beautification, the color palette was largely nude with make-up inspired pinks and blacks from blush and eyeliner. The collection featured perspex heeled sandals, velvet and silk dresses, a cappuccino-colored silk pantsuit, and co-ords designed for comfort.
Williams has revisited the past to inform his new collection, retaining the key codes of Givenchy in order to entice a modern-day wardrobe. Drawing from the elegance Hubert de Givenchy was renowned for, the collection boasted distressed leather, frayed Japanese denim, skirts styled over trousers, double faced cashmere, and layering for everyday wear.
Gucci’s creative team presented a new take on the brand with a dystopian foot forward and a nod to past creations. The team announced, “the collection reflects Gucci as a cultural constant and reinvigorates the influence of the visionaries that fronted it, paving the way for a new dimension to its heritage,” featuring sheer dresses, sheer bralettes and sheer, neon-colored tights. The lingerie inspired looks were also complemented by kitten heels with shaggy soles.
Designer Vanhee-Cybulski described the clothing featured in his AW23 collection as “archetypes, maybe the most boring clothes on earth, but I want to kind of bring this surprising creativity to them.” Bringing this statement to life, Vanhee-Cyblunski presented a brown duvet-parker that can be transformed into a sleeping bag, braided sweaters, and jackets scrunched at the back mimicking a ponytail. The collection was a perfectly autumnal color palette of dark greens, reds, oranges, yellows and black.
The forever haute brands collection combined minimalist neutrals, in addition to yellow and magenta. Items in the collection served to emphasize the timelessness of the house with a modern twist. Models displayed conical heeled boots, boyish sweaters, slinky dresses, thigh high boots with silver zips and square shouldered blazers. Marant has once again completely elevated everyday looks.
Even though simplicity seemed to transverse through the fall/winter collections, as always, Anderson was a creative step ahead claiming the collection was “couture classicism meeting something which is new.” He used everyday clothing as a canvas for new looks. He crafted entirely goose-feather looks, while also displaying cardigans that appeared as standard cardigans, but were actually printed onto adhesive paper and stuck onto the models.
The discreet brand is renowned for its technological development rather than its expression, defining itself as the house of sensations. The show was a never-ending extravaganza of cashmere, with functional treatments such as its Storm System weatherproofing. As the brand has opted to create more distinctive looks, it drew varied inspiration from its suppliers in Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, New Zealand, Australia and Mongolia.
This year’s Louis Vuitton show aimed to solve the enigma of what French style really is. The collection presented an haute style with international influences based upon the concept of ‘Cinq à sept,’ a French colloquialism for an affair. The concept shone through the show’s display of opulent dressing gowns, pajama tops, and faux fur shorts. Ghesquiere concluded “French style belongs to everyone.”
Max Mara has produced yet another historically inspired collection with the muse of Émilie, Marquise du Châtelet, the core of the show focusing on the concept of championing intellectual freedom with verve and imagination. Camel parker’s, a velvet bomber, teddy coats, and adapted 18th century men’s pieces were part of the collection we are sure Émilie would have loved, just as we did!
Displaying the brilliance of complex layering, Miu Miu presented an array of skin-baring looks. Redesigning the intended purpose of clothing with multiple panties layered over sheer tights and sheer clothing – a prominent feature throughout the FW23 season – with dresses that looked like undergarments and models wearing underwear as their main look.
Miuccia Prada and Raf Simmons aimed to conceptualize and rediscover the ideas of beauty. Their fusion of occasion wear, everyday wear and uniform provides equal importance to all three. They expressed their desire “to give importance to what is modest, to value modest jobs, simple jobs, and not only extreme beauty or glamor.,’ with nurses’ whites created into long-line shirt dresses and parkas with Watteau backs reflecting military uniform; a wonderful display of a capsule wardrobe.
It appears it is the season for suit-ing at Ralph Lauren as they displayed exquisite detailing in their three-piece suits with modern elements of denim on some of their pieces. The collection even displayed gray sweatpants tucked into gray, wool socks, paired with loafers, a crew neck jumper and a blazer. Who knew sweatpants could look so sophisticated?
Abe digressed from her usual edgy, hybrid design language, and instead opted for more elegant, polished looks. The palette, which solely featured white, black, and beige, saw Abe ‘dissecting’ traditionally worn garments like a skirt, and sewing shoulder straps and watch pockets onto it. Backstage, she explained “it was about challenging preconceived notions and continuing to evolve that idea; somewhere between values and priorities, the Japanese concept of ‘kaichan’ but also addressing the elegance.”
Inspired by the concept of elegance, Vaccarello stated he really wanted to “bring that idea of being dressed.” Focusing on his icons Melanie Griffith and Signourney Weaver in Working Girl, Vaccarello presented looks centered around the over-the-top shoulder blazer accessorized with leather gloves and blacked out aviator glasses and gold hoop earrings, cashmere leggings, and plaid and pinstripe features throughout.
Designer Maximillian Davis demonstrated how the Florentine House’s historic relationship with Hollywood prevailed once again. Flaring long line skirts, trench coats over shorts, and jeans and a tank top rendered the collection essentially genderless. The display also featured a pair of sparkling red shoes that Ferragamo had created for Marilyn Monroe in 1959.
Roseberry, designer at Schiaparelli, stated “the higher you go in the atmosphere of luxury, the more basic it feels,” yet the collection couldn’t have felt further away from basic with all bags and accessories boasting Schiaparelli’s quintessential gold touch. The collection slightly drifted from its renowned couture pieces, and instead displayed Japanese denim, knitwear, jersey dresses, and coats donned with Roseberry’s illustrations.
With a focus on modernized silhouettes, Walter Chiapponi created a collection of tailored masterpieces. Presenting oversized looks in an elegant manner, rather than in a “try-hard” way as Chiapponi put it, he put his own touch on business attire with pinstripe suits, broad shouldered silhouettes, oversized blazers, and sweeping trench coats. The warm-tone color palette also featured fitted knit dresses and oversized pieces cinched at the waist.
Valentino’s ‘black tie’ collection – inspired by Piccoli’s 15-year-old daughter after she styled her outfit for a night out with friends with his own suit and tie – boasted an array of deconstructed suits. Models had face tattoos and jewelry, demonstrating Piccoli’s departure from typical ‘formal attire.’ Although Piccioli strayed from the house’s traditional feminine touch, his techniques and skill were still displayed through frilly blouses, feathered coats and sheer shirts.
Versace’s AW23 collection ventured back to 90’s as Donatella Versace explained, “I wanted to go back to the cut and shape of the clothes, to concentrate on the perfect little black dress, the perfect black suit.” The show featured plenty of red-carpet worthy dresses with a crystal-encrusted sheer look, and a floor-length pink piece with 3D floral accents and cone bras. Accessorized with the house’s quintessential gold embellishments, the show was nothing short of perfection.
With coats and dresses embroidered with strands of distressed denim, jeans reconstructed in every way possible, Glenn Martens masterfully reinvented typical denim looks. Boots were presented in such a way that they were indistinguishable from the jean they were paired with. As Martens explained, “The whole idea of this brand is to reinvent techniques, construction, and to experiment as much as possible,” – and that is precisely what he did.
Also see: #spring couture 2023