And… breathe. Another jam-packed fashion month has come and gone, bringing with it an abundance of SS23 trends to look forward to once winter is out of the way. With much to look forward to this season – from city switch-ups to designer debuts – Spring/Summer ’23 was always going to be a big one, but boy did it deliver, proving without a doubt that dressing up is here to stay (at least for one more season).
Among the excitement of the new collections, SS23 brought us a lot to talk about. There was Riccardo Tisci’s final outing for Burberry (swiftly followed by the announcement that former Bottega Veneta creative director Daniel Lee would be taking the reins), Victoria Beckham’s Paris debut, a sandy sinkhole at Courrèges and a muddy, post-apocalyptic landscape at Balenciaga. Supermodels were everywhere: Linda Evangelista made her long-awaited return to the runway at Fendi’s 25th anniversary tribute to the Baguette bag at New York Fashion Week, while Naomi Campbell walked for Burberry, and Kate Moss for Bottega Veneta.
Elsewhere, the theatrics were in full swing. Alessandro Michele sent 68 sets of twins down his runway in matching looks for Gucci, Paris Hilton closed the Versace show in a pink crystal-encrusted mini dress, veil and fingerless gloves, Jil Sander’s models strutted, umbrellas in hand, beneath a rain storm, and at Balmain, creative director Olivier Rousteing enlisted Shy Girl and Cher to close his presentation with a stadium show to a 12,000-strong audience. Avavav’s models took a trip – quite literally, as each model threw themselves dramatically to the ground – as did Valentino’s (though this was unplanned and unfortunate) and, in perhaps the most-seen moment of SS23, Coperni debuted a stunning spray-on dress that took social media by storm (more on this later).
Even with all that going on, this season has given us a peek at some of the most exciting collections we have seen for a while, and we can’t wait to get our hands on them once SS23 rolls around. Here’s our run-down of the looks to know now…
The silhouette: Barely there
Call it the Nensi Dojaka effect. This season, in place of oversized silhouettes that cocoon the frame in layers of fabric, we saw a lot more than we were bargaining for. By that we mean skin: designer after designer sent a slew of sheer fabrics and skimpy, lingerie-inspired looks down the runway. There were the usual suspects: Versace, Tom Ford, Christopher Kane (who took it one step further with transparent latex harnesses), Balmain and Gen-Z favourite Blumarine – all of whom put their signature, sexy spin on the trend. Elsewhere, Halpern went glam with sparkling sheer maxi dresses, while Molly Goddard kept things cheery with her hallmark neon hues and layers of frothy tulle.
Not sure you can handle bearing it all? Not to worry. Also getting in on the action, admittedly with a slightly more reserved take, were Tory Burch, Lanvin and Burberry. The latter showed its final collection by Riccardo Tisci, comprising classic Burberry check transformed into slinky, sheer layers worn under everything from bulky blazers to silky slip dresses. Even Chanel and Christian Dior had a go, presenting their own decidedly sophisticated, yet romantic take on sheer luxury.
The key piece: Tricked-out tailoring
Pre-pandemic you couldn’t move for streetwear on the runways. Since then, we’ve made our return to the office and sports-inspired loungewear, once appropriate dress for almost every occasion, has been relegated (rightly) to the sofa. All of which is to say that tailoring is back in a big way. But this isn’t your basic two-piece suit, rather, for SS23 designers have each imparted their own unique perspectives on suiting.
In Milan, where tailoring has always been big business, designers were keen to show that they still know their stuff: Bally did its take in opulent velvets, snakeskin and sunshine yellow; Max Mara’s was simple, but effective in head-to-toe pastel hues, rich camels and deep midnight blue, and Tod’s took a Nineties-inspired approach with waistcoats, muted leather and a patchworked denim trench coat. In Paris, Stella McCartney got her groove back with a sensual yet contemporary take on the double-breasted suit, while Balenciaga’s blazers were baggy and oversized, reaching down to the knees. Moschino put a typically irreverent spin on its inflation-inspired collection, adding blow-up beach toys to its sharp suiting for a classic tongue-in-cheek take. Rejina Pyo, meanwhile, rendered hers in cheerful summer-ready shades.
The motif: Fantastic florals
Florals for spring? Groundbreaking, we know, but this season designers took the springtime floral obsession to another level. Not satisfied with merely sending out swathes of floral-printed fabric (of which there was plenty – at Zimmermann, Elie Saab and Carolina Herrera especially), for SS23 flowers were seen blooming from shoulders, skirts, sandals – the lot. At Loewe, the anthurium was star of the show, appearing on shoes, on the straps of slinky slip dresses and as sculptural tops. By sheer coincidence, the anthurium was also seen all over the runway at Ludovic de Saint Sernin so put some on hold at your florist now, it will be the only flower to tablescape with come April.
Elsewhere, Dries Van Noten’s petals bloomed forth from necklines, sleeves and skirts, bringing the designer’s beloved garden to life. Rising British designer Richard Quinn, meanwhile, accessorised his mid-century-inspired swing dresses with floral corsages that dwarfed models’ faces, taking it a step further with a voluminous violet mini dress, constructed from hundreds of vibrant blooms. For his first show at the helm of Off-White, Ibrahim Kamara took a similar tact with a floor-length floral lace gown and a coat crafted from a frothy cacophony of petals, both rendered in a colourful cobalt. Elsewhere, Simone Rocha – as well as taking her signature tulle approach – placed charming, child-like interpretations of florals on simple white shirting, making for a whimsical yet wearable outing.
The vibe: Less is more
Stealth wealth, quiet luxury – whatever you call it, SS23 declared with aplomb that logomania is so last season. Taking its place is a pared-back, sophisticated vision of luxury that harks back to Nineties minimalism. Following up on last season’s debut from Matthieu Blazy, Bottega Veneta went classic with a wardrobe fit for every day. Think baggy denim, flannel shirts, relaxed knitwear and shirting with leather outerwear, simple suiting and a few frilly frocks thrown in for good measure. Isabel Marant went back to basics with a collection of lacy, bohemian blouses, leather pedal pushers and sundresses that spoke to the early days of the eponymous brand.
As expected, Jil Sander, Tibi and The Row also kept things chill with their contemporary casual collections, while Marni, Fendi and Courrèges also followed suit. Prada, too, took a minimalist approach with a collection that showcased the collective finesse of its two creative directors, while steering clear of over-the-top styling and off-the-wall accessories. The pièce de résistance of this turn towards understated luxury, however, has to be Coperni’s final look. In a moment that blew nearly every other show out of the water, model of the moment Bella Hadid took to the runway nude, only to have a dress sprayed directly onto her before a mesmerised front row. The dress, though simple in design, was breathtaking in its construction and floated effortlessly around the model as she closed perhaps the most memorable show of SS23.