Runway Roundup: SS23 Trend Report

Anna-Louise McDougall
October 13, 2022
6 min

Discover the top 10 trends from Fashion Week Spring Summer 2023 as we round up the runways across New York, London, Paris and Milan.

Dramatic is an understatement. Though, for all the celebrity appearances, viral moments, and eye-watering controversy across New York, London, Milan and Paris, it’s easily forgotten that Spring Summer 23 really was the most ‘normal’ fashion month we’ve had in years.

247 shows, gigantic sets, presentations, and parties indicated the sheer volume of production, planning, and talent required to make fashion week ‘normal’ again - and this season brought originality, imagination, and technical mastery back to the fore. So, was it business as usual?

Not quite. Between Vogue World, Queen Elizabeth’s passing, the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, NFTs, Coperni’s spray-on dress, and YZY S9, the Spring Summer 23 runway season was one for the books.

The ongoing presence of cargo pants, low-rise wide-leg jeans, and nostalgic Y2K-inspired cut-outs and maxi skirts were driven by the Diesel and Blue Marine renaissance, with the help of Courreges, Coperni, and KNWLS. According to Tagwalk, 51% of designers featured denim in their collections, while 25% of these were total denim looks.  

There was a refreshed workwear mode with all kinds of pleating, shirting, and deconstructed tailoring that came in minimal and meaningful designs from The Row, Peter Do, Bottega Veneta and Jil Sander. Clashing prints and grand florals arrived from the imaginations of Dries Van Noten, Acne, Carolina Herrera and Loewe, scintillating animal prints from Khaite, Balmain, and 16Arlington, and sheer everything was presented by pretty much everyone, but no one more so than Nensi Dojaka. Dojaka’s show was the most viewed runway show on Vogue Runway, according to Vogue Business.

There was conceptualism, surrealism and creatively-charged couture-level design from Thom Browne, Louis Vuitton, Comme De Garçons, Johnathon Anderson’s Loewe and Matty Bovan. 18th Century drama came through in Dior’s lace and pannier hips, Erdem’s veils, and Simone Rocha’s flouncy skirts. Bubble hems even got a good look in.

And, with everything we saw, engaged with, and scrolled passed, now we wonder; how do we separate the memorable from the ephemeral? How do you determine the trends from the fads? The cult pieces from the forever items?

Here, we bottle the 10 key themes, cuts, colors and silhouettes - aka, the trends - Spring Summer 23 presented on repeat.

All-Out Utility

Luxury goes practical. From Hermès to Sacai, Louis Vuitton to Stella McCartney, the pocket-happy, parachuted and boilersuit utility styles are perhaps preparing us for the future? Sturdy, durable - whatever it is; it’s cool, comfortable and it’s easy to wear. Hermès paraded parachute pulls through cutaway dresses and trench coats, alongside leather apron dresses. Miu Miu’s slightly less viral collection referenced military uniforms, with its parachute-style dresses and jackets with bulging pockets, while low-slung utility belts were worn as miniskirts.

Sacai offered smart cuts with exterior pockets and dramatic split sleeves, and Rok Hwang of Rokh used the trench as his base on which to deconstruct it into high-waisted and paneled skirts, tops and jackets.

When it comes to utility's favorite pant, the cargo, Fendi evoked late ’90s sporty minimalism with hardware-strapped pants in silky technical fabric, while Jil Sander’s pair looked to clashing glamor with simple workwear, cut in silk satin. The Blumarine mermaid was provided with endless variations of trousers where the low-rise cargo hems opened into exaggerated flares.

On The Fringe

Name a more enjoyable clothing feature. Where there’s tactile, textured fringing, there’s movement. And if a little or a lot, fringed, frayed and fragmented came in droves across the week as the final touch (or whole look) to runway swagger.

Adam Lippes did an ivory silk leno weave for the show’s opening look that beckoned beachside dwellers, while a sweater dress at Ulla Johnson showcased a hand-knitted loose fringed hem made from silk ribbon.

Meanwhile, Khaite paired silk fringing with signature leather and denim. At Jil Sander, dresses and maxi skirts had silky knit fringed hems, there were subtle swishes at Bottega Veneta and crochet overlays at Giorgio Armani, while at Diesel denim was tufted out of maxi skirts and trucker jackets.

Bold Biker Jackets

What better to pair with low-waist jeans? A statement biker jacket. Very 2000s music video, this time-honored silhouette has taken a turn for the glamorous. High-sheen in lilac at Masha Popova, acid-wash and perfectly grungy at KNWLS and David Koma showed his fair share of buttery-black, oversized and embellished jackets. Ottolinger’s moto-inspired collection was complete with carefully constructed anarchy in cropped and skin-tight bikers, Courrèges elongated the classic jacket shape into a coat and Gucci’s twinning pair was perfectly rugged.

New Minimalism

Simplicity seems to be at the fore this spring summer, with monochrome sets, column and maxi dresses crafted with intent and softened in supple fabrics. From Prada to Bottega Veneta there was a renewed sense of effortless dressing, allowing the design, drape and fabric to do the talking. Max Mara favored unwashed linen in variously undyed shades of oat, while Fendi took to silk, organza, and mink. Tory Burch offered low-key feminine looks for the office in tunic tops and sheer layers over slip dresses, while Dries Van Noten presented highly considered streamlined structure and silhouettes.

Cool as Capuche

While the humble hood may have been associated with Balenciaga’s mud-slingers this season, the capuche is the softer, more feminine and even cooler version. The pretty head scarf-cowl combination came atop the models’ heads largely at Saint Laurent on clingy jersey dresses, with sexy, sporty and moodier examples at Mônot, Alaïa and Off-White. Versace’s glamorous, gothic divas similarly sported slinky hoods cut from monochrome jersey.  

Full-On Color

Whether it was pretty sorbets in lilac, pale pink, or mint green, or brazen color bombs in cobalt, ice blue, or Aperol-spritz-orange it was come one, come all for wearing color this season. Total blue arrived in Fendi’s utility jumpsuits, Tom Ford’s barely-there dresses, the tonal musings of Proenza Schouler’s lace and crochet, and Prabal Gurung’s tulle extravaganza. Orange was an overwhelming standout at Eckhaus Latta, Marni, and Laquan Smith, while lilac and various shades of pale purple took over at 16 Arlington, Molly Goddard, Brandon Maxwell, and Ester Manas.

The Hero Skirt

Perhaps an offshoot from the Miu Miu mini skirt boom, skirts of all shapes and lengths appeared to be center-stage this season. While probably the least practical of skirt shapes, the pannier was having quite a moment at Lanvin, Monse and Loewe, while Dior’s hoop cages were overlaid with black raffia and white lace and paired with pretty crop tops. Rick Owens and Ann Demeulemeester went for floor-sweeping extravagance, while Blu Marine’s were right on mermaid-tail theme. Elsewhere, there were bubble and asymmetric hems, raw denim to the floor, and gorgeously gathered waists.

Pretty Sheer

Ironically the most visible trend of late is transparency, sheer and delicate overlays, but now it’s begun to evolve into mini trends. Namely, pretty, feminine, and oh-so-precious additions have been made to sheaths, bodysuits, negligées, and the lingerie-inspired. Prada continued its gossamer thin gauze in soft colors, pink satin was layered over sheer netting at Burberry, lace bralettes with trims followed at Dior, while bows, baby-lock hems and rosettes were seen at Acne.

Grunge Glamor

Grunge got another glow-up this season, with high-gloss finishes attached to dark, gothic themes and everyday irreverence. Accessories were chained, spiked and studded, facial piercings and bleached eyebrows were everywhere. Balenciaga’s muddy runway mixed stony, acidy denim wash in baggy jeans, jackets and long skirts with full-length shimmering gowns, while Givenchy fused LA and Parisian codes which resulted in slouchy, gothic-y and oversized jeans, bermuda shorts and jackets. Versace’s grunge goddesses paired body-clinging designs with sky-high mary janes, boxy biker jackets and long layers over loose trousers. Meanwhile, Prada’s tulle and silk nighties featured raw-edge splits and hems.

Androgynous Tailoring

The suiting update for everyone. Tailoring continues to blur the lines between masculine and feminine suiting codes, with the ‘borrowed from the boys’ look evolving to not be borrowed, and not just for girls. Peter Do’s runway collection was technically his menswear debut, showing double-breasted jackets and shirts with back-cut outs, while Miu Miu added male models back onto the runway in stone-washed leather and denim suits and parachute-style windbreakers. The effect across the season was endless ways to wear languid tailoring, soft monochrome suiting, and oversized vests, coats, and boxy blazers.

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