#fashion: Spring/Summer 2023

Dan Shi and Yehua Qu provide a rundown of the runway trends for Spring/Summer 2023

Alexander McQueen

Sarah Burton’s SS23 collection was presented in London, not Paris, for the second time since the pandemic. The dramatic show, held inside a huge bubble in front of the Old Royal Naval College, posed questions about finding humanity in difficult times with enlarged images of irises, pupils and eyelashes embedded in dresses and shoulder-padded suits compelling the audience to “open their eyes” and find beauty amidst the darkness.

Bottega Veneta

“The collection is about a contrast of characters on the go, invited to travel through Gaetano Pesce’s landscape. Here, two distinct worlds are juxtaposed, while our journey of craft in motion and quiet power continues,” Matthieu Blazy said of his second collection for the Italian luxury house. Every single piece, while appearing simple, was unexpectedly technical and luxurious, down to the “denim” and “flannel” that was actually made entirely of leather.


After postponing the show out of respect for the late Queen Elizabeth II, Riccardo Tisci presented his SS23 collection on a Monday between Milan and Paris Fashion Weeks. Inspired by the intricacies and eccentricities of British seaside society, Tisci created a goth-tastic collection of glittering swimwear paired with streetwear-style trench coats, big buttoned gilets and barely-there lace dresses.


Creative director Hedi Slimane replicated the glorious glamour that is a vacation in the South of France for Celine’s SS23 collection. “Indie Summer”, as the collection was titled, recalled the designer’s early design work with reimagined skinny jeans, classic black leather jackets and loose-fit biker boots. Continuing the Y2K theme were the low-slung microskirts and oversized tote bags once seen on the the most fashionable rock stars and off- duty models of the millennium.

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With the black-and-white film L’Année dernière à Marienbad playing in the background, Virginie Viard paid tribute to American actress Kristen Stewart an exquisite collection of signature tweed jackets, logo-printed dresses, and teeny tap shorts. “Among the people around me, she is the closest to Gabrielle Chanel, at least to my idea of her. She understands Chanel, its clothes. And with her, it becomes even more modern. This collection, it’s also her,” Viard said of her guest of honour.


This season, Gabriela Hearst evoked an industrial rave while paying tribute to fusion energy. Replete with woven and crochet elements, loose beaded wire and frayed ends, the collection also took inspiration from factory workers’ uniforms and power plant machinery. Hearst used recycled cashmere, organic cotton, low-impact wool and more to reduce the brand’s carbon footprint.


Coperni’s SS23 show will be comitted to the annals of history, after a trio of scientists used a spray- on liquid to apply a dress directly onto Bella Hadid’s body in a captivating piece of performance art. Elsewhere in the collection, metal stitching elements, deconstructed bra cups transformed into shoulder pads and suits with varying layers all served to interpret the sense of conflict and harmony when toughness and femininity collide.


Glenn Martens has a particular recipe when it comes to Diesel: Pop, Utility, Denim and Artisanal. Corsets stitched with layered tulle, lace and organza; two-tone olive bomber jackets; racer- back or spaghetti-strap minidresses; and frayed logo tank tops all made the cut this season. Martens explained his understanding of new Y2K and retro fashion step by step. He also delivered a sustainable concept featuring recycled cotton and elastic fibres.


Maria Grazia Chiuri began her exploration of “magical territories” with a map of Paris from the luxury house’s archives, paying homage to fashion as an art of invention able to redefine the city over and over again. Key pieces included an updated corset with a quasi-geometric shape that framed the bust, raffia coats adorned with floral and bird motifs, and deepest black dresses contrasting with the purity of white shirts and skirts.

Dolce & Gabbana

Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana had a little help putting together their SS23 collection, from none other than Kim Kardashian. The reality star and influencer extraordinaire acted as curator, selecting archival pieces from 1987-2007 that were then reworked for the runway. Corsets, minidresses, tight white skirts, double-layer low-waisted jeans (all labelled by the year they were from) showcased the brand’s sexiness to the very end.

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Kim Jones’s SS23 colour palette has been compared to that of a gelateria with its rich neutrals of cream, caramel, cappuccino and warm grey joined by pops of watermelon, pistachio and mint. His pieces, meanwhile, took inspiration from Fendi’s own archives and legacy of strong women in an exploration of “the notion of functional utility alongside femininity”. Laser-cut leather vests, sleek racerback dresses, obi-style belts and a delicate floral motif from 2000 made the collection one to remember.

Giorgio Armani

Titled Fil d’Or (Golden Thread), the legendary Italian’s SS23 collection was conceived as “a vision designed to soothe with dreamy tangibility”. Drawing from garments as diverse as the kurta and the cheongsam, Armani created a luxurious and feminine line-up of flowing gowns, zip-up shirting and loose-fitting duster jackets in extremely light and contemporary fabrics. Colours, meanwhile, shifted from golden neutrals such as sand to rich hues of purple and ink blue.


Matthew Williams may have revisited Givenchy’s archives for SS23, but the former Kanye West collaborator didn’t forget his American street culture roots. His show at Paris’s Jardin des Plantes combined the city’s everyday elegance with the designer’s signature New York cool. Tweed jackets and iconic little black dresses were seen alongside overalls and military- inspired looks, resulting in what one showgoer described as pieces that “feel like they could fit into a woman’s wardrobe very easily”.


The always original Alessandro Michele transported us to “Gucci Twinsburg” this season, exploring the concept of duality/ individuality by casting identical twins. The inventive looks, which ranged from souped- up bomber jackets and silk cheongsam dresses to garter-style pant suits, featured subtle differences that Michele hoped to highlight on completely identical bodies.


“A dance in the desert, where the daylight gives way to the acid-bright shades of dusk” – Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski recreated an ethereal desert painting for Hermès’s SS23 collection. Wearing raincoats rolled up to reveal an underlayer of breathable mesh, slim-line dresses with user-friendly zips, and hooded ponchos in the supplest leather, models walked among the dunes as if preparing for an all-day desert rave.

Isabel Marant

Long known for her joyous embrace of life, Isabel Marant returned to her roots for SS23 by remastering looks from her brand’s earliest days. Racer-cut tanks, swingy little dresses, metallic-threaded floral silk chiffon and laser- cut suede jackets gave a little boho and a whole lot of cool. Everything was abbreviated, exuberant and a testament to the timelessness of the style of the house and its ability to constantly reinvent itself.


Jonathan Anderson chose to present “a blunt design statement, amplified through the act of reduction” in the form of tightened silhouettes, shrunken lengths, and enamelled metals and florals. The giant anthurium on stage amplified the inspiration of this collection – a product of nature that looks like an object of design. Standout looks included playful pumps with floral details and anthurium- shaped dresses and tops.

Loro Piana

Loro Piana’s SS23 collection was designed around the theme of an Italian grand tour from Piedmont to Aeolian Island, with pieces to suit each landscape and change in weather. As always, craft and tradition shone through with flowing shapes, incredible textures and soft nuances meeting the brand’s signature elegance and exceptional touch.

Louis Vuitton

From the supersized zipper on Squid Game actress HoYeon Jung’s opening look to the disproportionate bags and accessories that followed, Nicolas Ghesquière’s SS23 collection was a rollicking play of proportions in which “zippers and snaps are outsized, clasps become belt buckles, and a scrap of leather is turned into an outfit”. Femininity was also at the forefront as seen in swingy dresses and lace ensembles.

Max Mara

Inspired by timeless muses like Renée Perle and Eileen Gray and the Riviera style of the 1920s, Ian Griffiths created a collection of instant classics to not only be worn but also experienced. Tank tops that left the back bare, baggy linen trousers, long skirts and extravagant organza bows with floral prints were the stars of the show, which was completed with shades of Mediterranean blue to tell the story of an imaginary encounter in front of a blue horizon.

Miu Miu

The concept of “fashion as a means of translating a reaction to reality into material form” was the driving force behind Miu Miu’s SS23 collection. Notions of “usefulness” were expressed with the placement of pockets across a variety of garments while a sense of “complexity” came through in the layering of cottons, silks and cashmeres in deliberately subtle colours as well as nylon tricot in sharper hues

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Exploring polarities between minimalism and decoration and occasion and everyday, Miuccia Prada and Raf
Simons presented a series of “reflections, refractions and observations” for SS23. Several pieces in the collection were made of a paper-based fabric to mirror the décor of the show space (a black paper panopticon) while others signified shifting realities in the fusion of day and evening styles and loungewear and outerwear elements.

Raf Simons

“I dont want to show clothes; I want to show my attitude, my past, present and future.” Presented in the cavernous Printworks club, Raf Simons’ SS23 collection was one of his most diverse and at the same time barest and most minimal to date. The fluorescent leggings, tailored jackets and sleek bodysuits that ran through the show shifted the focus to the body in what one showgoer described as “a sweaty celebration of corporeality”.

Ralph Lauren

For his first-ever show in California, Ralph Lauren took inspiration from the western US state’s natural beauty as well
as its contradictory blend of “rugged coasts and red carpets”. Ranch-style denim, chunky cardigans, long belted dresses and the brand’s signature polo jacket were presented in an overall earthy golden tone that reflected the vibrant spirit of the West Coast and the legendary designer’s dream of California living.


Famous for her hybrid design language, Chitose Abe kicked off Sacai’s SS23 show with a satin-trimmed blazer transformed into a pleated cape and paired with pleated and spliced bottoms. The rest of the collection followed suit, with modern tailoring meeting street-style influence in an exuberant expression of joy, hope and optimism. Of particular note were the pleated leather garments, slitted tracksuits and coats, and nylon trench coats reimagined as dresses, corsets and miniskirts.

Saint Laurent

Anthony Vaccarello turned to the French house’s rich archives for SS23, most notably the iconic hooded “capuche” pieces first introduced in the mid-1980s. The elegant silhouette set the tone for the collection, which also featured light gauzy dresses and heavy trenches with exaggerated shoulders in a muted colour palette of olive greens, deep purples, and rust browns.

Salvatore Ferragamo

Inspired by the culture of both old and modern- day Hollywood, Salvatore Ferragamo’s new creative director Maximilian Davis has managed to give the heritage house an impressive rebrand while also paying tribute to its storied beginnings. His debut collection featured masterful draping, relaxed elegance and a new house colour – a specific tone of red that recalls both the Ferragamo legacy and Davis’s own roots in Trinidad and Tobago.


For ready-to-wear SS23, Daniel Roseberry chose to offer Schiaparelli admirers a collection that was both “everyday and extraordinary”. From a hammered silk evening gown and black cashmere double-breasted coat to a crisp white cotton shirt, each carefully constructed piece was designed with all the wit and signatures found in the brand’s legendary haute couture. As Roseberry explained, “These are clothes that make you feel like you’re seeing ready-to-wear for the first time. They’re clothes that build the mystery of the woman – one garment at a time.”

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Seeming to exist outside the world of trends, Walter Chiapponi continued the Tod’s legacy of elegant minimalism this season by presenting an array of “essential pieces and iconic garments with a genuine attention to artisanal detail”. Soft and buttery leather matched perfectly with knitted sensual shirt dresses, while shoes and bags distinguished themselves in upcycled leather, delicate colour tones and giant pebble soles.


Set against a background of stark black, “Unboxing Valentino” drew on the concept of “pureness as a conscious synthesis, the intentional removal of what exceeds”. In reducing unnecessary construction, Pierpaolo Piccioli presented a striking series of suits, capes, dazzling dresses and a fully embellished monogram number that
was one of the most unforgettable looks from Paris Fashion Week.


Created around the idea of a dark gothic goddess, Donatella Versace’s SS23 collection was a celebration of high glamour and hard-edged design. Starting with a palette of all black, the show continued with jolts of purple and electric fuchsia in low-slung belts, satin miniskirts, flared leather pants and seemingly endless fringe. The Y2K aesthetic came full circle when Paris Hilton closed the show in hot pink fingerless gloves.


Glenn Martens continued his playful approach to design with Y/Project’s SS23 collection, featuring unexpected silhouettes and trompe-l’oeil prints inspired by his second collaboration with Jean Paul Gaultier. Standout pieces included supersized thigh-high boots, deconstructed dresses with detachable panels, and printed tops that resembled jeans.

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