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In 2023, a time of fleeting virality, anything-goes style and increasing climate concern, you might be asking yourself, do fashion trends really matter anymore? Our answer: no … but also yes.
These days, prescriptive style rules feel like a forever thing of the past, but what we are drawn to are the flashes of real design ingenuity on the world’s top runways that point us to an evolved, sustainable way of dressing. Case in point: the season’s most pervasive (and somewhat nebulous) trend, wearability.
The most exciting fashion messages from the Fall 2023 runways actually represent the building blocks of a well-thought-out wardrobe, for this fall and well into the future. Ahead, the pieces, pigments and principles that are the essential Fall 2023 fashion trends.
The colour: Butter yellow
If the very suggestion of wearing yellow elicits an automatic “not for me!” response, may we suggest its mellowed out, up-and-coming kin, butter? The new neutral made its way into collections across the esthetic spectrum, often in a singular show-stopping moment.
Jil Sander’s floor-length shift dress had all the makings of an unforgettable final look; a double-layered coat was rich with touchable softness at Christopher Kane; and a baggy, crewneck knit sweater perfectly punctuated a pillowy white mini skirt at Prada.
The standout moment: Givenchy
Could butter yellow become the official colour of quiet luxury? One monochromatic moment at Givenchy — a tailored-to-the-nines leather trench coat, ankle-length skirt and billowy, slash-front blouse — certainly suggests so.
The coat: Maximum impact
Who decided that the default winter coat was black, basic and blah? To shake us out of our lacklustre leanings, designers delivered a compelling array of out-there outerwear. At JW Anderson, a gargantuan (for real, we mean it) lapel adorned a heavy trench. And during Daniel Lee’s debut showing for Burberry, all eyes were on a leather-trimmed, rose-patterned robe coat that teetered on the line between languid and polished.
Adding to the impact, decidedly un-December-like colourways — a nubby, lemon coat at Valentino; Emilia Wickstead’s chartreuse wool piece — were beacons of mid-winter hope.
The standout moment: Schiaparelli
This was a museum-worthy coat at Schiaparelli. Unsurprisingly, it didn’t skimp on outrageous details: an unusually short silhouette, hyper-exaggerated round sleeves and oblong buttons, all decorated with contrast stencil designs by creative director Daniel Roseberry.
The knit: Gauzy & ’90s-inspired
Most recent seasons have seen a take on sheer dressing, and winter weather be damned, Fall 2023 was no exception. But instead of skin-tight mesh or modish plastic, transparency came in the form of filmy, clingy knitwear.
Gucci’s off-white long sleeve, which left absolutely nothing to the imagination, felt like the next four-season layering staple we’ll all be coveting. A baby blue polo dress at Fendi exposed plain underpinnings while posing workwear promise (call in the slip!) And for those who aren’t ready to bare all, Versace’s take on sheer — a diaphanous black turtleneck over a jet-black bra — is easy to emulate.
The standout moment: Blumarine
A slinky, thin-knit Blumarine dress did a bang-up job of feeling fully covered while also not in the slightest. With the addition of tonal rosettes adorning each wrist, it’s a piece that’s guaranteed to be on the influencer hit list come fall.
The dress: Leather
With every cold season comes a welcome return to leather. But rather than the transitional moto jacket that realistically only gets a few weeks of wear, designers took to dresses to make a more lasting leather impression. The runways were rife with workwear, but none more than Coach, where a leather patchwork coat dress was expertly layered with a black turtleneck.
On the flirty side of things, Miu Miu’s doll-like minis in a range of fall hues had “It dress” written all over them. And two oxblood takes — one evening-ready option at Alexander McQueen, the other, a cool-girl, daytime look from Isabel Marant — showed the possibilities with a slouchier shape.
The standout moment: Proenza Schouler
Proenza Schouler’s empire-waist maxi dress came in one of the season’s can’t-miss colours, red. We’re accustomed to seeing this sweet silhouette in ethereal chiffon, but the heavier, more substantial leather made us completely rethink its potential for the well-past-prom crowd.
The jewelry: Oversized studs
This season, designers went big on earrings — like, distract-from-the-actual-garment big. At Balmain, large gilded lion heads guarded models’ lobes; lustrous silver globes made a massive impact at Versace; and to underscore his mostly primary palette, Ferragamo’s creative director Maximilian Davis dotted ears with XXL lucite studs in similar hues. Looks like the dainty jewelry trend (delicate rings, darling little bracelets and the like) might finally have met its match.
The standout moment: Zimmermann
Enormous earrings aren’t for everyday, you say? The pebble-shaped studs at Zimmermann might change your mind. Think of them as the next iteration (and next size up) of Bottega Veneta’s viral teardrop studs from last fall, which have proven to be an architectural accessory primed for blazers and white tees alike.
Jillian Viera is a Toronto-based freelance contributor for the Kit. Reach her via email: [email protected]