Olivia Bullock reports on the fall/winter collections from the major fashion maisons
On trend with her SS23 collection, creative director Sarah Burton has once again deconstructed and reconstructed typical tailored looks. By removing suit sleeves and pairing blazers with cut-outs on the back with high-waisted charcoal pants, Burton has reimagined tailoring and we like what we see. Three-piece suits appeared as one-pieces, models flaunted kilts and even a denim one-piece made an appearance.
This season, creative director Olivier Rousteing referenced 77 years’ worth of the luxury French fashion house’s design archives, awakening the “sleeping giant”. He focused on its rich heritage, producing sumptuous velvet trousers, mega bowties, ample polka dots, pointed collars and high- waisted red trousers that flared to the floor, leaving a puddle of red material at the model’s foot. Rousteing stated, “If a seam is not quite right, that is a matter of life and death.” His hyperfocus on detail is most definitely reflected in this exquisite collection.
For AW23, Berluti presented The Great Escape, adapting true classics for the modern man. As the brand continues to operate without a creative director, it’s clear the group of designers make an effort to steer clear of transient fashion in order to achieve timeless looks. Staple pieces were produced with the finest materials, and included leather patched jerseys, burnt -orange jerseys and shawls, and simple but classic day bags.
With a new focus on the Equestrian Knight Design – a motif first created in 1901 during a competition to design
a new logo for the brand – chief creative officer Daniel Lee browsed the house’s archives and made some marvellous discoveries. The latest collection unveiled heritage-inspired equestrian boots and wellies, hefty sweaters and trench coats, as well as cashmere, leather and wool to create the perfect baggy trousers. Lee also showcased a new focus on the English rose, a wonderful display of British heritage with a modern twist.
French designer Hedi Slimane’s collection, titled Paris Syndrome, took place in the city’s first gay nightclub, now renowned as a beacon for freedom and self- expression. The indie-electro extravaganza magnificently displayed indie sleaze with an abundance of rhinestones, fringed leather jackets, zebra-striped velvet pants and tiger-print corduroys.
“There is always something from the past in the present and in the future and Dior is not different.” Taking inspiration from T.S. Eliot’s 1922 poem “The Waste Land”, the French house’s AW23 collection looked to reflect on where the Old World meets the New World, featuring softened silhouettes kept simple, slouchy trousers, subtle leopard prints and conceptual life jackets, all presented through a very neutral colour palette.
Dries van Noten
Inspired by “the freedom and self-expression of rave culture from the ’90s, combined with the quite surreal beauty of nature,” Dries van Noten’s show featured psychedelic patterns, exotic flowery prints and bold colours. The latest collection of baggy cargo pants, faded linen trousers, oversized sweatshirts, textured knitwear and furry clogs all contributed to the display of masculine glamour.
Fashioned by Dunhill’s in-house team following Mark Weston’s departure, the brand’s latest collection offered a subtle nod to classicism. CEO Laurent Malecaze declared, “To wear a Dunhill suit today is to embody the values of the house. The appreciation of expert care and craft that is invested in each piece.” With a monochrome dogtooth puffa, fine grey cashmere jackets and bridle- inspired bags, the brand once again showcased the brilliance of simplicity and expert tailoring.
Silvia Fendi’s take on revolutionary classicism was inspired by the idea of “having a good time – feeling great with fashion during the day but also during the night.” The collection featured an array of one-shoulder tops and highlight bags created to appear as baguettes. Aviation helmets acted as inspiration for headpieces, floor-length scarves trailed the runway, coats appeared as blankets, and Swarovski-jewelled three- piece suits also appeared in the latest collection.
Armani AW23 took us from the streets of Milan with sophisticated tailored looks all the way to the ski slopes with Après Ski uniforms and puffer jackets. Three-piece suits, plaid trousers and mixed-material sweatshirts came in grey, navy and black with subtle splashes of red. The latest collection also featured asymmetrical wool coats and a leopard- print fur coat.
The French luxury fashion house’s latest collection – demonstrating forward-looking, modern designs – featured trousers without side seams, faux snakeskin and cheetah prints, couture tailoring, and blacked- out suits. Creative director Matthew Williams emphasised the message that layering is personal and a form of “self-expression through the imbuement of personal gestures into clothes.
Gucci’s show provided flashbacks to the Tom Ford Y2K era and the ’80s. The show was intended to be a “reflection of the individuals represented by the multifaceted creatives and craftsmen who inhabit the House of Gucci”. The collection based upon improvisation and creative freedom was led by free impulses, presenting fuss-free clothes with pastel sportswear, skin-tight scoopnecks, floor- length skirts and an abundance of beanies, adding an indie- sleaze element to the show.
The house – renowned for its savoir faire – took a sexier, unexpected approach for its AW23 collection. With wide- legged black calfskin pants, calfskin jackets, naval pea coats, punk-style blousons and a black cardigan top in lamb shearling, the collection was full of variation. From fitted to oversized pieces, smooth to textured and soft to rigid, it’s no wonder Véronique Nichanian is the longest-standing creative director in the industry.
With the theme of A New Age Resurgence Collection, Isabel Marant and artistic director Kim Bekker highlighted their intent behind the collection, explaining that “there are different personalities, but it’s really about dressing certain kinds of cool guys every day, in a really spontaneous way”. This message was delivered through low-slung cargos, denim ensembles, faux-fur duffle bags and an electric-blue vinyl bomber, a nod to ’80s and ’90s grunge classics.
The collection that displayed more skin than material was a nod to Jonathan Anderson’s previous comments on subverting stereotypical gendered clothing as he expressed, “I think we shouldn’t be scared of subversion. I think it’s more about not shaming, it’s ownership.” The collection featured leather, strapless dresses, bare bodies printed onto T-shirts, tank tops made entirely of white leather, pillow T-shirts and models showcasing only underwear as their look.
Guests entered The White anderson Album show to witness Nigo’s latest collection influenced by British, American and Japanese street culture. The designer paid homage to the late Vivienne Westwood’s English country couture, while also fusing Japanese tailoring. With kimono-inspired cover-ups, traditional Japanese uniforms serving as inspiration for Y-shaped coat closures and oversized skirts aiming to resemble kilts, the diverse collection commemorated international influences on design.
Renowned for its mature approach in both silhouette and structure, Lanvin did not disappoint for AW23. “As a ready-to-wear house, you need wearability that feels attractive and that you can relate to, so I think that is why I call this collection a style exercise – I am giving context to wearable pieces that encapsulate the idea and the emotion of the house,” explained creative director Bruno Sialelli. The muted palette with colours infused through accessories and jewellery featured slightly oversized tailored pieces, fluffy wools and evening wear.
“It’s not like ’90s modernity; there’s something more peculiar happening,” said creative director Jonathan Anderson, and he was not wrong. Models wearing eye contacts – in devilish shades of red and a ghost-like ice blue – displayed angel wings; long, slim-line leather coats; plunging cowl necklines with one arm on display; heavy, velvet coats and rigid tailoring. It was as if the garments wore the models rather than the other way round.
Louis Vuitton’s latest collection was a collaborative effort from Colm Dillane, Ibrahim Kamara and the Gondry brothers. Taking inspiration from the formative moments of childhood, the looks demonstrated the inevitable transition from boyhood to manhood. Highlights included long, slim tailored coats – a regular feature in most of the AW23 collections – double- layered coats with peel-off shoulders, mashups of classical suits, backpacks and yellow graffiti sprayed onto a grey top coat that read “Blurry vision of a bright future”.
Similar to their SS23 collection, Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons reimagined components of archetypal pieces with a fitted but fluid cut. Detached collars became a key theme in their latest collection, with a range of different coloured collars featured on blazers, dresses and even open-chested cardigans. Presenting their take on archetypal male garments with various patterned fabrics, the show displayed slim-fit trousers, oversized bombers, rigid shopping bags and a suede apron that transformed into a dress.
Anthony Vaccarello created little distinction between the idea of menswear and womenswear, saying, “I really want them to be almost one person… So women could be the men, and the men could be the women. No difference.” This statement came to fruition with his essentially genderless collection. Almost entirely black, it was the epitome of slick chic with over-the-top enlarged bows, chest-baring silk chiffon tops, knitwear tunics and overcoats in wool, cashmere, mohair and leather.
Maximilian Davis’ intent to hold on to the brand’s relationship with Hollywood was on full display in his AW23 collection. A sense of glamorous simplicity came through in structured trench coats, white button coats, and black leather short shorts. Putting a luxury spin on sportswear, the collection also presented hefty wool material on tracksuits and light nylon designs, while fur features appeared on looks elsewhere, in addition to zip-up jackets with high collars.
Thom Browne’s latest collection inspired by French aristocrat Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince, was an – intentionally – catastrophic yet peaceful show. By displaying oversized silhouettes and grosgrain ribbon tweed dominating roped-shoulder overcoats – ties placed everywhere but the collar, and classic shapes turned upside-down – suiting was unconventionally reshaped, representing somewhere between Earth and space. As Browne explained, “For me, the shows are pure creativity.”
Tod’s latest collection inspired by “the memory of elegance” reflected creative director Walter Chiapponi’s usual tendency towards a certain bourgeois style. “A form of relaxed yet soigné tailoring is taking the lead, even for young generations,” he observed. By displaying leather, cashmere and wool blousons, fitted leather trousers, and a bomber with fur lining, Chiapponi created an elevated, chic take on streetwear.
Tom Ford’s collection is inspired by his admiration for Savile Row tailoring paired with his desire to remove the rigidness of the pieces. Featuring a double- breasted wool-cashmere officer’s coat, 23-inch-wide cuffed pants, velvet jackets and punk-like mohair sweaters, Ford said, “I did menswear out of personal need. I realised if I want these things and I can’t find them then other people do too.”
Valentino’s Black Tie show provided little distinction between womenswear and menswear. Models paraded out in three-piece suits – alternating between skirts and shorts – clutch bags and Matrix-style leather coats in the brand’s classic all-black approach with a few pops of colour. With models showing face tattoos and jewellery, the collection reimagined archetypal Fashion Week classics.
Donatella Versace brought us to a 90’s moment this season. Layering took centre stage, with models showing phases of undressing and dressing with double-breasted blazers, black tank tops and formal black trousers paired with buckled leather gloves and double leather ensembles. The legendary designer expressed the need to revert back to that “perfect black suit” and that’s exactly what she did.
Grace Wales Bonner, the British-Jamaican designer, displayed the brilliance of her talents, combining Savile Row tailoring, a Jamaican football team kit, Adidas sneaker collaborations and Swarovski embellishments. Following Bonner’s mantra of “bringing an Afro-Atlantic spirit to an idea of European luxury,” her latest collection displayed precision-cut tailored jackets, cropped jogging pants, skirts pleated along the front, and looks accessorised with handmade Ghanaian beads.
Also see: Women’s fashion #autumn/winter 2023