Playful vs Played-Down: Top Trends from Paris Fashion Week FW23
If you’ve been keeping score of fashion month at home, then chances are you’ve consumed enough content from Paris Fashion Week to warrant a digital detox. With artist-driven sets, robot dogs and wild horses tempered by a subdued “clothes only” mentality, the week itself felt as though it lasted the entire month— and with the continuation of trends seen in Milan, London and New York, it ended up serving as a pretty concise summary.
Plenty of designers saw the week as a chance to reset and revisit their roots. Demna Gvasalia for controversy-plagued Balenciaga stripped his set of any distractions to focus on the “fundamentals of design”, Givenchy convincingly revisited house codes, Louis Vuitton was dedicated to redefining French style, and Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen returned to Paris with triumphant tailoring and traditionally wicked silhouettes.
Plenty of designers saw the week as a chance to reset and revisit their roots.
There was plenty of newness; new ways to wrap cocooning coats and cardigans, new ways to mix masculine and feminine tailoring and new ways to keep the “no pants” trend trending.
The minimalist masters of the Olsen twins at The Row as well as Hermès and Miu Miu proved the longevity of a muted colour palette, floor-length coats and monochrome layering.
Glistening metallics and scintillating party pieces were at full strength at Rick Owens, Isabel Marant, Dries Van Noten and honored its pioneer at Paco Rabanne.
Meanwhile, the internet continues to wonder whether Johnathon Anderson gets any sleep; from his eponymous label in Milan to presenting Loewe in Paris with more new shapes, prints and fabrics to surprise and delight even the most jaded of show-goers.
Despite the return to restraint and simple elegance, some brands showing in Paris still opt for the Tik Tokkers and K-Poppers to do the hard work for them; proudly posting set locations, finales and fabulous front rows. So, what resonates with the consumer? Viral moments or just really good clothing?
Let’s find out what the French houses have in store for our wardrobes next Fall Winter.
Probably the most significant trend across the week, prominent, strong and padded shoulders gave the 80s office silhouette a more refined new direction. Saint Laurent presented oversized pinstripe blazers and chocolate leather bomber jackets over silk blouses, Balenciaga’s first 10 looks were all-black slouchy suit jackets, while artfully sculpted shoulder details came to the fore at Alexander McQueen and Balmain.
Tie one On
Unsure if the very real presence of Avril Lavigne at several shows this month had anything to do with it, but with all the pinstripes, tailored blazers, pencil skirts and slowly slimming suit pants - it seems the tie is set to have a renaissance.
Perhaps to Gen-Zers, the tie offers itself as a crazy never-before-seen accessory that has nothing to do with formal dress codes. Every look at Valentino, suited or gowned or otherwise was styled with a tie, while Undercover chose the 80s-synth-band skinny tie to dress metallic suits. At Dior, ties were more sober, styled with office-ready shirts, loose trousers and skirts.
Making a Fuzz
Textural twists and tactile triumphs were abundant throughout the week, from Balenciaga, whose longline covered-up dresses were delicately, minutely embellished, to Loewe who presented would-be t-shirts and jeans made entirely out of goose feathers.
At Ann Demeulemeester, shearling shrugs and capulets were paired with liquid-like bias-cut skirts (and hands for tops), Isabel Marant’s partygoers wore slinky crystal embellished slips and fuzzy minis dresses, and Mathew Williams took iconic Givenchy pieces and reinterpreted them with metal mesh and pearlescent corsetry.
Corsetry and bustiers have been cinching the waistlines and enhancing the bustline for a number of seasons now, but in Paris it felt a little more strict and grown-up, if not more bewitching. Naomi Campbell preceded the tailored strapless dresses at McQueen in a bustier jumpsuit, while Rohk’s tongue-in-cheek “Office Essentials” collection paired bras, black leather bustiers and lingerie with traditional tailoring and coats.
Leather continues to be manipulated, exaggerated and even more refined to create wardrobe essentials for every season. For the “classic Saint Laurent uniform”, soft, supple leather came in grainy bomber jackets, long coats, elegant tank tops, and tailored pencil skirts. Isabel Marant took the classic biker stance for jumpsuits, jackets, and long, leggy boots. Elsewhere, Hermès continues to create modern leather interpretations out of conservative design in bomber jackets, knee-length shorts and boots.
For Stella McCartney, it was all about non-leather leather essentials - using three new fabric alternatives to leather; plant-based circular material MIRIUM, another from apple waste; and the first-ever bag made from a white version of the mushroom material Mylo.
About the Author
Anna is a writer and journalist, with seven years experience in copywriting, digital marketing and eCommerce. Anna has worked with leading Australian fashion, beauty and lifestyle brands over the past seven years, including sass & bide, Sportscraft, and Peppermayo. She now runs her own freelance business, Papercut Copy, and will never not feel weird about writing her bio in the third person.